The Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium where the Last Post has been played every evening at 8pm since 1928

Marking the Centenary of the Armistice in Flanders Fields

Saturday, 13 October 2018

By Alan Wooding

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the First World War officially came to an end with the signing of the Armistice. The guns fell silent and a war that lasted four years and four months, finally came to an end.

This year, Flanders remembers the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice with a series of special events as well as permanent memorials in Flanders Fields.  

Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate

Since 1928, buglers have sounded the Last Post under the arches of the Menin Gate memorial in remembrance of the fallen, at precisely 8 p.m. every evening. This moving ceremony has become part of the local daily life in Ypres, however to mark the Armistice, there will be a special Last Post on Sunday 11 November at 11a.m. The ceremony will also be screened live from the Market Square.

Poppy Waterfall

The poppy will forever be an iconic symbol of remembrance. on 11 November St. Georges’ Memorial Church in Ypres will be inaugurating an impressive waterfall installation of 8,000 handmade poppies which will flow from the church tower into the garden. Built in 1927 to honour fallen British and Commonwealth soldiers, this Anglican church is itself a unique memorial to visit, providing a place of quiet reflection.

Field of Remembrance

In the build up to the Armistice remembrance events, The Royal British Legion has been planting thousands of artificial poppies in green spaces above the ramparts, next to the Menin Gate. Each bears a personal message of gratitude to the First World War generation. For those looking to leave their own message, there are poppies available to plant at The Royal British Legion shop on the Market Square.

To End all Wars:  27 October to 15 November 2019 – Flanders Fields Museum

Timed with the end of the centenary of the Great War approaching, the In Flanders Fields Museumin Ypres takes a look at the real consqueneces of this great battle. The peace that ensued after the war finished ended up creating the cause of many later conflicts and so this exhibition, using unique objects and images tells that story. Drawing upon personal stories and factual documents, the temporary exhibition is both thought provoking and informative in its presentation. 

Winter in Ypres Promotion: 15 November 2018 to 30 March 2019

During the winter months, Visit Ypres will be offering a special overnight discount package for visitors staying in selected hotels in Ypres at this time. A special discount booklet offering the following concessions will be offered:

* A complementary drink on arrival in their hotel as well as a free aperitive in selected restaurants ordering a meal.  

* A complementary "nightwatch" walking tour.  

* A complementary coffee or local beer at the In Flanders Fields Museum cafe.

Discounts on the following attractions and museums:

* In Flanders Fields entrance fee

* The Hooge Crater Museum entrance fee

* The Yper Museum entrance fee

* Saturday tours of the" De Kazematten’ Brewery for Saturday  

* A selection of participating shops and chocolatiers will also apply.

Hill 80 - Debrief and Findings: 10 December 2019 Ypres

In 2015 a team of archaeologists discovered an extraordinarily well-preserved trench fortress near the village of Wijtschate in Belgium. Wijtschate had been captured by the Germans at the end of 1914, and they built a formidable fortress on a ridge top known as ‘Hill 80’. 

In 1917, it was breached by the Allies during the Battle of Messines. Together with Peter Doyle, a leading British military historian, Simon Verdegem, lead archaeologist and German history expert, Robin Schäfer initiated a crowd-funded project with support from historian Dan Snow and comedian Al Murray.

The aim of the project was to excavate the site and expose the battlefield that had remained virtually untouched since the end of the war.  The secrets of this dig are due to be revealed in a special presentation of findings in London and Ypres.

VISITFLANDERS will also be looking at how this and other remembrance events in the region, will continue to preserve the memory of this important period in our history. Buglers will continue to play the Last Post at Menin Gate for ‘in perpetuity’ whilst cemeteries and memorials will continue to be visited by thousands.

Battlefield walks started in the region in 1919 with Talbot House creator, Tubby Clayton and this interest in the region, will continue to live on. Hill 80's findings help impart the story about the importance of  preserving history ‘for future generations’ as well as preaching a message of peace and reconciliation and Visit Flanders looks forward to sustain this interest beyond the end of the current centenary commemorations.