Though derided on its opening in 1927 by war poet Siegfried Sassoon as a ‘sepulchre to crime’ the huge war memorial of the Menin Gate at the entrance to the Flanders town of Ypres holds a firm place in British hearts. Inscribed on the gate’s panels are the names of some 50,000 Allied soldiers who died defending the Ypres salient between 1914-18 and have no known grave. Still today hundreds attend each evening at 8pm as the Ypres Fire Brigade sounds the Last Post and the evocative lines from Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’ are read.
IN MEMORY AND MOURNING: MENIN GATE SOUTH
Detailed biographies of some of the casualties whose names appear on the The Ypres Menin Gate Memorial, this bears the names of more than 54,000 soldiers who died before 16 August 1917 and have no known grave, this is the most well-known war memorial in the world and is an important place of pilgrimage for visitors to the battlefields. From October 1914 to October 1918, five major offensives occurred at Ypres in Belgium, and by the time the last shells fell nearly 200,000 servicemen had been killed. Since 1928, the Last Post has been sounded every evening at 8pm under the memorial. Only during the Second World War has this ceremony been interrupted.