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My Journey to the Western Front Day 4 – Part 1

Our last day and we leave Ypres to visit Langemark the German War Cemetery. Located near the village of Langemark in West Flanders. Our guide thought it was very important that we visited here and in my opinion he was right as it really made me think about the horror and futility of war. A very humbling experience, I was lost for words.

More than 44,000 soldiers are buried here, the village was the scene of the first gas attacks by the German Army marking the second battle of Ypres in April 1915. As you walk in before you is a mass grave which contains 24,917 soldiers 7,977 unknown. The names of those known are written on the surroundings basalt blocks. Between the oak trees, next to this mass grave are another 10,143 soldiers including two British soldiers killed in 1918. At the rear of the cemetery is a sculpture of four mourning figures, said to be known as the guardians of the dead.

Langemark German Cemetery

Langemark German Cemetery

Langemark German Cemetery

Langemark German Cemetery

Langemark German Cemetery

Langemark German Cemetery

Langemark German Cemetery

Langemark German Cemetery

We paid our respects at the grave of a young unknown German soldier and our guide read the poem “Some Mother’s Son” by Jay Oakes. It was a very thought-provoking moment to say the least.

A game of football,
A shared cigarette,
A truce
that didn’t hold
and save……….
Some Mother’s Son
Some Mother’s Son.

Rolling fields of red poppies,
too many to count.
Like the men who fell
and died there.
They all were………
Some Mother’s Son,
Some Mother’s Son.

Kneeling before a headstone,
A soldier’s name, 
the day he fell
and his age
so very young.
A wave of emotion
is felt for……
A Mother’s Son,
A Mother’s Son.

An empty grave, 
marked by a headstone
to say a soldier was removed
to the place from 
which he sailed. 
He is the Unknown Soldier, 
Known only to God,
but he was…….
Some Mother’s Son,
Some Mother’s Son.

Many names upon a wall,
Of young men who will
never be found.
A bugle is sounded,
Flags are lowered,
In Remembrance for……
Some Mother’s Son,
Some Mother’s Son.

We travelled onwards to the Saint Julien Memorial, the Saint Julian Memorial is a Canadian War Memorial and small commemorative park in the village of Saint-Julien. The memorial commemorates the Canadian First Division’s participation in the second battle of Ypres, which included the defence against the first poison gas attacks along the Western Front. The sculpture is known as The Brooding Soldier. 2000 soldiers fell and lie buried nearby.

Saint Julien Memorial

Saint Julien Memorial