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Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial

Location

Ieper (Ypres) is a town in the Province of West Flanders. The Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road to Menin (Menen) and Courtrai (Kortrijk).

Each night at 2000 hours the traffic is stopped at the Menin Gate while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the Memorial’s arches.

The Menin Gate

 

Visiting Information

Unlike most cemeteries with just one register, The Menin Gate has dozens, further highlighting the scale of numbers commemorated on its walls.

It is generally easier to use the register to find who you are looking for and then search for the panel.

The Panel Numbers quoted at the end of each entry relate to the panels dedicated to the Regiment served with. In some instances where a casualty is recorded as attached to another Regiment, his name may alternatively appear within their Regimental Panels. Please refer to the Memorial Register Introduction to determine the alternative panel numbers if you do not find the name within the quoted Panels.

Units are in Regimental and not Alphabetical order.
The names are then listed by rank first and then alphabetically.

 

Historical Information

The Menin Gate

The Menin Gate is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient.

Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war.

The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge.

The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence.

There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south.

The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.

The German offensive of March 1918 met with some initial success, but was eventually checked and repulsed in a combined effort by the Allies in September.

 

Commemorating the Missing

The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites.

The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates casualties from the forces of Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and United Kingdom who died in the Salient.

In the case of United Kingdom casualties, only those prior 16th August 1917 (with some exceptions). United Kingdom and New Zealand servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the war.

New Zealand casualties that died prior to 16 August 1917 are commemorated on memorials at Buttes New British Cemetery and Messines Ridge British Cemetery.

The Menin Gate

The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known.

The memorial, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick, was unveiled by Lord Plumer on 24th July 1927.

 

Amongst the thousands of names here are a few that catch the eye.

Victoria Cross holders

There are eight recipients of the Victoria Cross commemorated.

  • Lance Corporal Frederick Fisher VC, 13th Bn Canadian Infantry
    Awarded the VC for his actions on the 23rd April 1915
    Died 24th April 1915, aged 22, Panel 24
  • Brigadier General Charles Fitzclarence VC, Irish Guards
    Awarded the VC for his actions on the 14th October 1899
    Died 12th November 1914, aged 49, Panel 3
  • CSM Frederick Hall VC, 8th Bn Canadian Infantry
    Awarded the VC for his actions on the 24th April 1915
    Died 25th April 1915, aged 28, Panel 24
  • 2nd Lieutenant Dennis Hewitt VC, 14th Bn Hampshire Regiment
    Awarded the VC for his actions on the 31st July 1917
    Died 31st July 1917, aged 19, Panel 35
  • Lieutenant Hugh McKenzie VC, 7th Bn Canadian Machine Gun Corps
    Awarded the VC for his actions on the 30th October 1917
    Died 30th October 1917, aged 30, Panel 32
  • Captain John Vallentin VC, 1st Bn South Staffordshire Regiment
    Awarded the VC for his actions on the 7th November 1914
    Died 7th November 1914, aged 32, Panel 35
  • Private Edward Warner VC, 1st Bn Bedfordshire Regiment
    Awarded the VC for his actions on the 1st May 1915
    Died 2nd May 1915, aged 32, Panel 31
  • 2nd Lieutenant Sidney Woodroffe VC, 8th Bn Rifle Brigade
    Awarded the VC for his actions on the 30th July 1915
    Died 30th July 1915, aged 19, Panel 46

 

Shot at Dawn

There are four executed soldiers commemorated.

  • Private Herbert Burden 3832, 1st Bn Northumberland Fusiliers
    21st July 1915, aged 17, Desertion, Addenda Panel 60
  • Driver Thomas Moore TH/040862, 24th Div Train Army Service Corps
    26th February 1916, Murder, Panel 56
  • Corporal George Povey 10459, 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment
    11th February 1915, Leaving his post, Panel 19
  • Private William Scotton S/6922, 4th Bn Middlesex Regiment
    23rd February 1915, Desertion, Panel 49

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Wood Cemetery

Bailleul Road West Cemetery

Huy (La Sarte) Communal Cemetery

CWGC Poppy Button