While on our recent tour of the battlefields of the Somme and the Ypres campaigns, we saw many, many moving memorials to the fallen, and too many graves and headstones commemorating the soldiers, some of them painfully young, who had given their lives, sometimes in the most unimaginably grim circumstances. These men came from across Europe, and from the countries of the then Empire and colonies of the Allied powers. later in the war they were joined by soldiers and servicemen from the USA.
Many, many German men also were wounded, suffered and died, probably in this war for which cause they were fighting they probably didn’t know. Young men from the farms, villages, towns and from the cities of Germany, young men leaving their parents, they brothers and sisters, young wives and little children. Older men, fathers and maybe even grandfathers fought on in the grimmest of conditions. These men are also commemorated, and we visited the cemetery at Langemark, near Ypres.
These granite blocks are carved with thousands of names, row after row, block after block; I have read that the number of the buried soldiers who were able to be identified is 19,378. However, there is a mass grave, the Kamaraden Grab (Comrades grave) containing the remains of 24,916 unidentified German soldiers, brought into the cemetery following battlefield clearance. The total number of war dead in this cemetery is 44,294.
The crosses in my featured picture are made from basalt lava.
One little note of interest; someone in our party told us that Hitler had visited the cemetery during World war 2; this gave me quite a shiver.