Battles of Ypres

THE FIRST BATTLE OF YPRES (HALF DAY)

Departing from De Panne we drive towards the Ypres region. Via the motorway we reach Geluwe, a small village just west of Menin. From Geluwe we drive back to Ypres along the infamous Menin Road. Next to the church of Geluwe we find the memorial to William Thomas Leggett, the first Australian to be killed at the western front. Continuing along the Menin Road we follow in the footsteps of the German advance in October 1914. Via Kruiseke – where the church was sponsored by the relatives of the young lieutenant John Eden, who was killed nearby on 17th October 1914 – we reach Zandvoorde. Here the Household Cavalry tried to stop the German advance, but the casualties were enormous. Also Lord Worsley was killed. At the place where he was buried, we now find the Household Cavalry Memorial.

At Geluveld we relive the notorious British counter-attack by the Worcestershire Regiment. The British troops were the last of the Reserve that could be thrown into battle and fortunately they were able to hold the German troops off at Gheluvelt Chateau. From Geluveld onwards to Herenthage Chateau and Nonnenbossen, where the German advance during the First Battle of Ypres was finally brought to a stop.

Lunch at the Menin Road Museum or it is also possible at the In Flanders Fields Museum if a visit to the museum is added to the itinerary. Return to De Panne or start a new itinerary in the Ypres region.

THE SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES (HALF DAY)

Departing from De Panne we drive towards the Ypres region. Driving past the former headquarters of the Canadian 1st Division at Brielen, we continue to Essex Farm Cemetery. Here the Canadians constructed an Advanced Dressing Station when the Germans launched their first gas attack on 22nd April 1915. It was also here that the Canadian medical doctor John McCrae wrote his infamous poem In Flanders Fields. We continue up to Steenstraete en Bikschote, where the gas attack was launched in the German trenches. At the French memorial Carrefour des Roses we get an idea of how far the German advance reached on that fateful day in April.

The road to Ypres lie wide open, but the Canadians managed to close the gap in the defense line. Via Sint-Juliaan we reach the former site of Kitcheners Wood and visit the magnificent Canadian memorial The Brooding Soldier. Via ‘s Graventafel and Wieltje we drive to Ypres.

Lunch at the Menin Road Museum or it is also possible at the In Flanders Fields Museum if a visit to the museum is added to the itinerary. Return to De Panne of start a new itinerary in the Ypres region.

THE SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES (FULL DAY)

Departing from De Panne we drive towards the Ypres region. Driving past the former headquarters of the Canadian 1st Division at Brielen, we continue to Essex Farm Cemetery. Here the Canadians constructed an Advanced Dressing Station when the Germans launched their first gas attack on 22nd April 1915. It was also here that the Canadian medical doctor John McCrae wrote his infamous poem In Flanders Fields. We continue up to Steenstraete en Bikschote, where the gas attack was launched in the German trenches. At the French memorial Carrefour des Roses we get an idea of how far the German advance reached on that fateful day in April. The road to Ypres lie wide open, but the Canadians managed to close the gap in the defense line. Via Sint-Juliaan we reach the former site of Kitcheners Wood and visit the magnificent Canadian memorial The Brooding Soldier.

Via ‘s Graventafel we drive to Pond Farm, used a brigade headquarters during the 2nd Battle of Ypres. Lunch (picnic) at the Menin Road Museum (hot soup or soft drink available).
After lunch we continue to Bellewaerde Ridge to get the story of the Battle of Frezenberg. Just a few hundred yards further also Hooge has a fantastic story to tell from actions in 1915. The nearby Hooge Crater Cemetery shows the horror that this place must have brought in the summer of 1915. The tour ends with a visit to Hill 60, a domain that has been left unchanged since the end of the Great War and where craters and concrete shelters still lie scattered all around.

Lunch at the Menin Road Museum ot it is also possible at the In Flanders Fields Museum if a visit to the museum is added to the itinerary. Return to De Panne of start a new itinerary in the Ypres region.

THE THIRD BATTLE OF YPRES (FULL DAY)

Departing from De Panne we drive towards the Ypres region . Our first stop is Kemmel, where we see the introduction on the Mine Battle of Messines Ridge. Next onwards to Messines Ridge Cemetery, where we find one of the New Zealand Memorials to the Missing. A bit further away is also the New Zealand memorial dedicated to the men who took the ridge at Messines on 7th June 1917. Also the Island of Ireland Peace Park is worth a visit, even if only for the splendid views on the area. We continue to Wijtschate and pass the Spanbroekmolen Crater, the so-called Pool of Peace. At the Island of Ireland Peace Park we can truly grasp the meaning of Messines Ridge.

Via Wijtschate and St Eloi we reach the site of Hill 60, where we can see a landscape that has remained untouched since the First World War. Also the Caterpillar Crater is worth the visit. Via Zillebeke we reach the Menin Road Museum, where we can have our lunch (hot soup or soft drink available).

After lunch we continue to Polygone Wood to get an idea of the efforts of the ANZACs to clear the woods and to push on towards Tyne Cot and Graventafel. The tour ends at Passchendaele, the infamous village on the crest that has become a mythical concept.
Return to De Panne for dinner.

THE FOURTH BATTLE OF YPRES (HALF DAY)

Departing from De Panne we drive along the motorways towards the Hazebrouck region. The German Spring Offensive first focused on the Messines Ridge area. Messines was recaptured and the German troops launched an attack on Hazebrouck and Bailleul. The Australians – ordered to go south to the Somme – were called back to defend Hazebrouck. Hazebrouck remained in Allied hands, but Bailleul was captured.

A visit to Outtersteene Cemetery shows us the many casualties from that period. We drive on to Mont Kemmel. The first German attack on the high ground of Kemmel was repulsed by the British troops. A second German attack resulted in a massacre of the French troops that had relieved the British. The Germans pushed on towards Scherpenberg and Locre. On Mont Kemmel a French memorial and mass grave commemorate the massacre of April 1918.

Lunch at the Menin Road Museum or it is also possible at the In Flanders Fields Museum if a visit to the museum is added to the itinerary. Return to De Panne of start a new itinerary in the Ypres region.