Ferry to Flanders

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This year is the centenary of World War I, so many of you will be considering a visit to Flanders, to honour the fallen and gain more of an insight into the experiences of the soldiers who fought for our freedom.

Located just an hour and a half from Hook of Holland, Flanders offers a range of poignant sites to appreciate this sacrifice:

Maison Forestière, Ors

This little forest house in the farming village of Ors was where British poet Wilfred Owen wrote his last letter home  on 31 October 1918. He was killed close by at the age of 25 on 4 November 1918, a week before the end of the war. The local Ors community commissioned Turner Prize nominee Simon Patterson to create a white sculptured memorial to Owen’s message about the horrors of war. A corner of the Ors Communal Cemetery is given over to the graves of 59 British soldiers, one of which is Lieutenant Wilfred Owen. www.tourisme-cambresis.fr/maison-forestiere-ors.html

Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

With the sole objective of a gaining a few kilometres of shell-torn mud and capturing the village of Passchendaele, more than 400,000 soldiers lost their lives in the course of just 100 days in 1917. This tragic waste of life has been preserved for posterity in this excellent museum, which tells the story of the battle from the perspective of the troops. The museum includes a fascinating six metre deep British dug-out, complete with communications and first aid posts, plus headquarters and sleeping area. www.passchendaele.be

Last Post at the Menin Gate, Ypres

Tens of thousands of soldiers passed through Ypres’ old medieval gateway on their way to the front, many of them never to return. After the end of the war, a new memorial gateway was commissioned, known as the Menin Gate, which bears the names of 54,896 soldiers who were reported missing in the Ypres Salient. Every evening at 8pm, an extremely moving ceremony takes place under the vast arch of the gate – the traffic stops and buglers play ‘The Last Post’. www.lastpost.be

For more information head to www.visitflanders.co.uk 

Stena Line runs a twice-daily service from Harwich to Hook of Holland, 1.5 hours’ drive from Flanders.