Date
April 18th, 2019
Author
Kay

18.04 - Had a peaceful night at our free parking space last night. A leisurely start to the day, then I drove to Tyne Cot Cemetery. Encountered queues of traffic on the way, why, don’t know!

Traffic jam, luckily not the way we were going
Traffic jam, luckily not the way we were going

The following is taken from the leaflet: Tyne Cot Cemetery is an impressive yet understated haven of tranquility that extends through the former battle landscape. With 11,956 graves, it is one of the largest Commonwealth cemeteries in the world and it is a silent witness to the bloody Battle of Passchendaele. During the British offensive of 1917, almost 600,000 victims fell in 100 days for a movement of only eight kilometres. “Tyne Cot” was originally a German defense position on the first line in Flanders. In October 1917, the Australian troops established an aid station there that soon grew into a small cemetery with 340 graves for soldiers who had succumbed to their injuries in the spot. After the war - between 1919 and 1921 - the British ‘Exhumation Companies’ collected 12,000 dead from the surrounding battlefields. Of these, only 3,800 bodies could be identified. 

The entrance to Tyne Cot
The entrance to Tyne Cot
Beautifully manicured by the resident gardeners
Beautifully manicured by the resident gardeners

Tyne Cot was inaugurated in 1927. King George V had already visited in 1922, and Queen Elizabeth visited a couple of times, the last time in 2007. 

The Visitor centre had lots more information and artifacts. I found it so sad to read letters, some signed by King George V offering his condolences. The standard letters home to families were like a multiple choice, ticking whether a person had been killed, injured, taken to hospital etc. I can understand why the decision was made to bury the dead where they were, with their comrades - but as a mother, I find it hard that people accepted not having relatives repatriated. 

Another sad aspect is that even today, over a hundred years later they still find buried bones...

Anyway, despite all the sadness - the whole area is kept immaculately - not a weed in sight. It’s right that everyone should be so respectful for everything those men went through. On the headstones, the youngest was only 14 years old, while the oldest was 67. 

Old tractor just by the cemetery
Old tractor just by the cemetery

After lunch, I had about a two hour drive. Decided to go a longer route, because it was on motorways and the Belgian roads are generally really bad. Really struggled with a speed limit of 30kph through towns!

Tintin had wanted to visit the memorial of The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry just near Cambrai. Losses totaled 40%, many men did not have a grave, and some were never recovered. Hopefully, you can read the information board from the photos.

We are now back in France - in a place called Marcoing. Big open carpark Aire with a couple of other mohos. The temperature just kept going up and up as we were driving (both in black jeans - not clever!). Anyway, in shorts for the first time this year!

Our spot for the night
Our spot for the night

You may be wondering why I was calling my husband Martin at the beginning of this trip. Don’t really know, other than it’s generally just me who calls him Tintin - but he doesn’t mind what he’s called!

Am really looking forward to my first French baguette of the year - hopefully tomorrow!

What to read more?

We've got stories from all over Europe. We could tell you about the highlights, the lows and sometimes just the mundane reality of being on the move all the time. We love writing about our experiences, we hope you'll love reading about them too!

All posts or All places
Where are we

50.121119, 3.182375

About Us

Martin and Kay Dumont from Guernsey, first time motorhomers and ready to travel. ‘Dave’ is our Mobilvetta K Yacht 85, purchased in 2017 and travelled all the way from Italy. After following Jason and Julie Buckley’s blog 'Ourtour' for years I just couldn’t get the name ‘Dave’ out of my head. So the Mobilvetta had to be another 'Dave’. More...

hello@therumrunners.co.uk

Copyright © 2018 Millican Ltd.