Our audio guide will help you understand why ownership of Ypres was so bitterly contested. A soldier will describe what it felt like to be marched through its ruins towards the sound of the guns. He was one of thousands to leave the town through the Menin Gate, now the site of a huge memorial bearing the names of some of the missing.
Pulverised by shelling, Passchendaele was little more than a stain on the landscape by late 1917. The name of the village is synonymous with failure and suffering. You will hear men describe comrades drowning in deep mud as they struggled to capture what they considered to be a worthless prize.
3. Sanctuary Wood
Provides an excellent opportunity for the key features of a trench system to be explained to the listener. You will also hear three accounts of soldiers who fought here in which they describe the ghastliness of trench warfare.
Contains the remains of over 44,000 German soldiers. Around 3,000 of them are students who took part in an attack here in August 1914 widely known as ‘the massacre of the innocents’. Our audio guide includes contrasting accounts from German and British soldiers who served here.
5. Essex Farm Cemetery
This was the site of an Advanced Dressing Station where John McCrae composed his famous poem ‘In Flanders Field’. Our audio guide features the surgeon-poet describing what life was like here. The cemetery contains some interesting graves including that of a 15 year old British soldier and a V.C. winner whose citation is read to you.
6. Tyne Cot
This is the largest British war cemetery. The remains of almost 12,000 British soldiers lie here including those of Clarence Jeffries. The gripping tale of how this gallant Australian officer earned a V.C. in an adjacent field is told by one of his countrymen. We also explain to the listener the features that make this cemetery both typical and unique.
7. Hill 60
It is said to have swallowed around 8000 men (both British and German) and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This hill was once the scene of “the fiercest fight in which British troops have ever been engaged." Our audio guide features amazing scraps in which two British soldiers earned Victoria Crosses. One was struck on the head by a grenade which blew his hat off but did no other damage!
What Does Each Audio-Guide Feature?
You can be assured that each account you hear is from a soldier who was there - not simply in the same battle or even sector - but there – perhaps even where you stand.
Audio-guides included within Ypres Witness:
Essex Farm Cemetery