Menin Gate / Tyne Cot
Gate Memorial Ypres
Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial
From Langemarck to Messines and from Poperinghe to Dadizeele, there are
137 cemeteries in Belgian Flanders containing the dead of the Commonwealth
Forces; and in those cemeteries there are the graves of 40,000
unidentified soldiers. They, and 50,000 others whose graves are not even
to that extent known or marked, are the officers and men commemorated by
name on the four Commission Memorials in Belgium.
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
Ypres (now Ieper) is a town in the Province of West Flanders.
The Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road to
Menin (Menen) and Courtrai (Kortrijk), and bears the names of 55,000 men
who were lost without trace during the defence of the Ypres Salient in the
First World War.
The names from all the overseas forces except those of New Zealand
and Newfoundland, and the names from the Corps and Regiments of the United
Kingdom of those who fell before 16 August 1917 appear on the Menin Gate.
Ypres (now known as Ieper). The
names from the forces of the United Kingdom from that date, with those of
certain New Zealand dead, appear on a Memorial at Tyne Cot Cemetery,
Passchendaele. The remaining
New Zealand names appear on Memorials in Buttes New British Cemetery,
Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, and Messines Ridge British Cemetery.
The Menin Gate was a natural site for selection; hundreds of thousands
of men passed through it to the battlefields of the Ypres Salient, and it
represents the deliberate obstinacy with which the British Empire, from
1914-1918, refused to surrender a few square miles of Belgium soil.
At the Menin Gate there stands today a “ Hall of Memory”, 36.5
metres long and 20 metres wide, covered in by a coffered halt-elliptical
arch in a single span. At
either end is an archway 9 metres high, with flat arches on either side of
it 3.5 metres wide and nearly 7 metres high. In the center of the sides
are broad staircases, leading up to the ramparts and to loggias running
the whole length of the building. The
names of 54,000 officers and men are engraved in Portland Stone panels
fixed to the inner walls of the Hall, up the sides of the staircases, and
inside the loggias. Each of the four straight arches is flanked on either
side by an engaged Doric column and surmounted by an entablature. Over the
central arches are large panels for the dedicatory inscriptions; above
these panels is a recumbent lion on the east side, and a sarcophagus, with
a flag and a wreath, on the side facing the town.
The inscriptions repeated over the two main arches is:
TO THE ARMIES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE WHO
STOOD HERE FROM 1914 TO 1918 AND TO THOSE
THEIR DEAD WHO HAVE NO KNOWN GRAVE
The following words are inscribed over the entrance to the southern staircase leading out of the main hall:
IN MAIOREM DEI GLORIAM
ARE RECORDED NAMES OF OFFICERS AND
WHO FELL IN YPRES SALIENT BUT TO WHOM
FORTUNE OF WAR DENIED THE KNOWN AND
BURIAL GIVEN TO THEIR COMRADES
the entrance to the northern staircase are the words:
THEY SHALL RECEIVE A CROWN OF GLORY THAT
FADETH NOT AWAY
following inscription is carved on a frieze above the panels, which
contain the names:
1914 – HERE ARE RECORDED THE NAMES OF OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE ARMIES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE
FELL IN YPRES SALIENT, BUT TO WHOM THE
OF WAR DENIED THE KNOWN AND
BURIAL GIVEN TO THEIR COMRADES
DEATH – 1918
Memorial built of reinforced concrete faced with Euville stone and red
brick, was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and unveiled by Field
Marshall Plumer in 1927.
Each night at 8 pm the traffic is stopped at the Menin Gate while
members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under
the Memorial’s arches.
If you are visiting Ypres, check for any special events that may be on
at the Menin Gate – www.lastpost.be
A diary of events can be found at this website.
THE TYNE COT MEMORIAL
The Tyne Cot Memorial forms the north-eastern boundary of Tyne Cot
Cemetery, which is situated between Passchendaele (now Passendale) and
Zonnebeke. The name “Tyne
Cottages” or “Tyne Cots” was given by the Northumberland Fusiliers
to a group of German blockhouses, or pill-boxes, situated near the level
crossing on the Passchendaele-Broodseinde Road. Three of these blockhouses
still stand in the cemetery, the largest was captured on 4 October 1917 by
the 3rd Australian Division, was chosen as the site for the
Cross of Sacrifice by King George V during his pilgrimage to the
cemeteries of the Western Front in Belgium and France in 1922.
The Tyne Cot cemetery is now the resting-place of nearly 12,000
soldiers of the Commonwealth Forces, the largest number of burials of any
Commonwealth cemetery of either world war. It first came into being in
October 1917 when one of the captured pill-boxes was used as an Advanced
Dressing Station (ADS), resulting in some 350 burials between then and the
end of March 1918. The
cemetery was much enlarged after the Armistice by the concentration of
over 11,500 graves from the battlefields of Passchendaele and Langemarck
and from a few small burial grounds.
The dates of death cover the four years from October 1914 to
September 1918 inclusive. Unnamed graves in the cemetery number nearly
8,400, or seventy percent of the total, and the names of the unidentified
soldiers who lie in them are inscribed on the Menin Gate and on the panels
of the Memorial, which stands to the rear of the cemetery.
The Memorial was designed by Herbert Baker and with sculpture by F.V.
Blundstone, is a semicircular flint wall 4.25 metres high and over 150
metres long, faced with panels of Portland stone on which are carved
nearly 35,000 names of those who have no known grave.
There are three apses and two rotundas; the central apse forms the
New Zealand Memorial and bears the names of nearly 1,200 officers and men
who gave their lives in the Battle of Broodseinde and in the Third Battle
of Ypres (Passchendaele) in October 1917; the other two, as well as the
rotundas and the wall itself, carry the names of United Kingdom dead who
fell in the Salient between the 15 August 1917, when the Battle of
Langemarck began, and the Armistice, in the third and fourth Battles of
Ypres. Two domed arched pavilions mark the ends of the main wall,
each dome being surmounted by a winged female figure with head bowed over
Information kindly supplied by The Commonwealth War Graves.