Encyclopedia of Things We Lost Forever – Day 25: Ypres

Banksy for the Wimp: Encyclopedia of Things We Lost Forever

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Ypres (official Dutch name Ieper) is a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. It is better known by its French name Ypres however, since that was the name used in the official maps at the time of WWI. The municipality comprises of the town of Ypres and a couple of villages.

During WWI Ypres saw three intense battles. While the third and last one in 1917 in order to recapture the Passchendaele Ridge was the most costly, the second battle of Ypres in 1915 – exactly 100 years ago – saw the first use of poison gas on April 22, 1915. It was chlorine and it was used by German soldiers against Canadian, British, and French soldiers. In the battle in 1917 which also saw heavy losses to the ANZAC troups mustard gas, also Yperite after the town of Ypres, was used for the first time.

Ypres was one of the sites of the unofficial Christmas Truce of 1914.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead, short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
in Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from falling hands we throw
the torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
in Flanders fields.