Ypres, or ‘Wipers’ as the British troops sometimes called it, was the scene of 3 major battles of World War 1.
In the First Battle of Ypres (31 October to 22 November 1914) the Allies captured the town from the Germans. In the Second Battle of Ypres (22 April to 25 May 1915) the Germans used poison gas for the first time on the Western Front (they had used it earlier at the Battle of Bolimov on 3 January 1915) and captured high ground east of the town. The first gas attack occurred against Canadian, British, and French soldiers; including both metropolitan French soldiers as well as Senegalese and Algerian tirailleurs (light infantry) from French Africa. The gas used was chlorine gas. Mustard gas, also called Yperite from the name of this city, was also used for the first time near Ieper in the autumn of 1917.
The most costly in human suffering was the Third Battle of Ypres (21 July to 6 November 1917, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele) in which the British, Canadians, ANZAC and French forces recaptured the Passchendaele ridge east of the city at a terrible cost of lives. After months of fighting, this battle resulted in nearly half a million casualties to all sides, and only several miles of ground won by Allied forces. The town was all but obliterated by the artillery fire.
After the war the town was left in complete ruins. There were arguments with what to do with the town, the British thought it should be left in ruins as a memorial to what had happened there, but the people who lived there wanted to rebuild their town, and that’s what they did.
Ypres was built exactly as it had been before the war, using the original medieval plans for the town. They did such a good job that when you look at a photograph of Ypres before the war and then today, it looks no different!
Join Leger Holidays on this tour of the major battlefields, cemeteries and monuments to the missing on the Western Front. Choose from either a 4 or 5 day tour by coach and discover the harrowing stories of the destruction, bravery and sacrifice of the famous battles of the Somme and Ypres Salient. All battlefield tours are accompanied by an expert guide, so you can be assured of not just learning about the how and why, but also some of the personal stories too.
Discover the stories, tragedy and bravery of the First World War Battlefields of the Somme and Flanders. Book direct with Leger to receive the Travel 55 discounted price of 5%.
Keith Dolby is an Ex Royal Marine with a keen interest in forces history, he is also an insprational speaker giving talks to people wishing to join the UK forces.
Ypres Salient - Belgian Battlefield Tour Reviewed by The Backpack Man on 11:32:00 PM Rating: