Tuesday, 11 November 2008

"Where the Poppies Grow"

Today marks the 90th anniversary of the end of World War One. On the 11th of November 1918 at 11am the Allies and Germany signed the Armistice Treaty and the Great War was over.

I think through history lessons and movies most of us are familiar with the terrible conditions soldiers endured in trench warfare. As a teenager I went on a history trip with my high school and I visited the sites of the battlefields where so many died on Belgian soil.

The town of Ypres held a strategic position during WW1 because it stood in the path of Germany's planned sweep across the rest of Belgium and into France from the North .Moreover, the neutrality of Belgium was guaranteed by Britain and so Germany's invasion of Belgium brought the British Empire into the war.

War graves, both of the Allied side and the Central Powers, cover the landscape around Ypres. The largest are Langemark War Cemetary and Tyne Cot Commonwealth war cemetery.

The countryside around Ypres (Flanders fields) is featured in the famous poem by John McCrae, In Flanders Fields.

It is somewhere here that my Great, great uncle James.D.Robertson lost his life while serving his country. In 1990 I remember scouring the memorials and cemetery books for his name but with no luck. I didn't have enough information at the time but 18 years on perhaps it's time I did some research.

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