Now my link to Wilfred Owen and Australian soldiers in WW1 was formed last year when I was fortunate to visit Ypres in Belgium. Many Australian soldiers fought and died defending that town in the five battles of Ypres (some 36000 killed or wounded). Plus many more UK and Commonwealth troops marched out of Ypres on their way to the front crossing an ancient bridge and moat at a place called Menin Gate. After the war, a memorial was erected there to commemorate the names of over 54000 men who died and have no known graves (bodies not identified or found). The names of the soldiers are carved on the stone walls. Menin Gate is now a very popular tourist attraction. Something I found out while researching for this post (which tells me now that it’s good to do your study before going on holiday), prior to WW1 there were two stone lions guarding the Menin Gate (not there now). They were removed to prevent them being damaged during the war, and then after the war they were donated to Australia and now sit at the entrance to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra – how about that; visited there many times but I’ve never noticed them lions. Also, if you are going to visit Menin Gate (being a poetry lover), research beforehand the origin of Latin quotes carved on the external walls of the memorial.
2014. September – we meet up with our UK friends and do a motoring tour of Europe. First stop is Ypres (Leper). I’m done over by what I can only describe as the ‘touristification’ of significant sites, the bus loads of camera snappy visitors.