Memories of the World Wars
Museums, cemeteries, battlefields, forts and gun emplacements recapture the events of two world wars fought on the fields and in the towns of France and Belgium.
Many families can trace relatives who bravely lost their lives fighting for their country and it can be a rewarding, if emotional experience, to visit the burial sites or the Menin Gate at Ypres where the names of those whose bodies were never recovered are remembered in perpetuity.
These battlefields are easily visited from Britain and these pages cover most of the main places of interest in Northern France and Belgium.
Those wanting to go further back in time will discover the relics of the day in 1815 when the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo:
- The Battle of Waterloo
- 90th Anniversary of the ending of WW1
- Nord-Pas de Calais WW sites
- The Somme WW sites
- Champagne-Ardenne WW sites
- Flanders WW sites
- Belgium WW sites
- La Coupole WW2 Museum.
Conflict in Europe
Over the centuries Europe has seen more than its fair share of wars.
In more recent times the wars that engulfed countries beyond the continent, WW1 and WW2, have been recorded and remembered in ways that were not possible before at the time of earlier conflicts.
Developments in technology meant that photographs taken in action and voice
recordings now give us a much more real understanding of war.
The legacy of those two wars and much detail from the Battle of Waterloo, a hundred years earlier, remain in France and Belgium where a substantial amount of the fighting took place and where the loss of life was so horrendous.
Although Britain suffered severe bombing it was never occupied by German troops and it is often not until one visits the scenes of battles, the museums and cemeteries does the sheer magnitude of the war and the deprivation of living in an occupied land begin to become in any way real.
Gradually WW1 is becoming less and less possible to describe as ‘in living memory’. Fortunately the work of thousands of volunteers who are determined that future generations should never forget the sacrifices made ensure that many of these sites across the war zone remain intact and open to the public.
They are supported hugely by The Commonwealth War Graves Commission , The Royal British Legion , national governments and local tourist boards so that visitors can learn more about the people, the armaments, the uniforms and vehicles that were involved.