Wednesday, November 28, 2018

HYDE PARK CORNER CEMETERY & MEMORIAL BELGIUM





The Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the Hainaut Region of Belgium. It is close to Ploegsteert Wood. 
The cemetery was first used in 1915. 

Nearby is an extension and the Ploegsteert Memorial honoring 11,000 World War I commonwealth servicemen who died in this area.




























My photos are from 21 October, 2018

See More of My World War I Travels





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HOOGE CRATER CEMETERY AND MUSEUM BELGIUM



Hooge is a village about two miles east of Ypres, Belgium. The Hooge Crater was the result of a blown mine 19 July 1915. British Tunnerlers dug beneath the German concrete structures in about 5.5 weeks. The crater and pillboxes are still visible, though the crater has been filled with water. In the same area, on 30 June 1915, the Germans first used a flame thrower as a weapon.

























Close to the crater is a private museum containing a variety of war-related artefacts. The displays include uniforms, weapons, and personal items.

 






















Behind the museum are reconstructed British and German trenches.



A storage room contains weapons, including an Enfield rifle.



Across the street from the museum is the Hooge Crater Cemetery where 5,916 are buried. Some markers honor several unidentified soldiers.




















The museum makes for a good lunch stop with both inside and outside seating.
















Short Video Clip of the Hooge Crater dated 21 October 2018.



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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Yser Museum Belgium and World War I




A 275-foot tower rises above Flanders Fields. I was there on a clear day, which affords broad views of the old battlescape ––Nieuwpoort, Passhendaele, Ypres, Poperinge, Ploegsteert.





There are 22 floors in the museum, which help visitors thinks about the people and the land, which experienced so much destruction. In between the carnage and memories of lost loved ones, are photos of those who offered sustenance and messages of peace.




The size of some displays provokes the sort of thinking that’s hard to experience when reading a book or glancing at an old photo.







Shells as Urns













In addition to lessons of war and peace, we can learn about Flemish culture (Read More).



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NIEUWPOORT BELGIUM and The Western Front




After crossing the English Channel from Dover to Calais as my grandfather did in 1914, I headed north to De Panne, Belgium, a town in the Flemish Province of West Flanders—part of Flanders, one of three Belgian regions.  The next morning we went a short distance to the North Sea port, Nieuwpoort. Here we stood on the beaches, close to the northern point on the western front of World War I.




Following the German attack on Belgium, 4 August 1914, Nieuwpoort was part of the area still under Belgian control after the October Battle of the Yser. The German “Race to the Sea” had been thwarted by the allies. The Battle of the Yser is part of the defense of Flanders and the Battles at Ypres (called “Wipers” by the British).  Nearby is the first available Demarcation Stone. These small stones mark the battle line of the Western Front from Belgium to Pfetterhouse on the French-Swiss border. Each of these 119 monuments are one metre high and topped with a laurel wreath and a soldier’s helmet. The helmets represent the troops—Belgian, French, or British.




A memorial to King Albert, near the Yser river, recalls national pride in the Belgian resistance. The King had opened the sluices allowing the land to be flooded and ending the German advance. 
















Nearby is a memorial remembering the British Expeditionary Force, which landed later in August.





















Before leaving the Nieuwpoort area, we stopped at the Ramscappelle Road Military Cemetery. Here, 841 Commonwealth soldiers are buried or remembered: UK 830, Canada 2, Australia 8, South Africa 1.

















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Sunday, November 18, 2018

National Portrait Gallery London



The National Portrait Gallery in London was founded in 1856. Walking through the main collection is a walk through time as revealed in the faces and scenes of people whose words and deeds continue to influence British Culture. In addition, we see centuries of changes in portraiture.

In addition to the royals and political leaders, the collection includes artists, scientists, activists, warriors, religious leaders, and authors.















This 2018 portrait of Malala Yousafzai by Shirin Neshat was commissioned by the Gallery. The artist inscribed a poem in calligraphy on the photograph. Read more about the work at this outset link.






In addition to paintings, sculputres, and photographs are eledtrotypes. Here's one of The Black Prince (Edward, Prince of Wales 1330-76).



The National Portrait Gallery is close to the National Gallery of Art, which is by Trafalgar Square and St. Martin-in-the-Fields church.

Admission is free and donations are welcome. There are fees for special exhibitions. The Gallery is open most days. Check the website for times.

The website also includes a floor plan and information about special events. You can also find information on accessibility.

There is a restaurant, cafe, and shop.

There is free WiFi, which worked well when I visited.

The physical address is St Martin's Place, London WC2H OHE. Tel 020 7306 0055

For more informaiton see the website: https://www.npg.org.uk



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The Shard London



I walked up the steps from the London Bridge Tube station and was immediately struck by the height of The Shard. On a clear day, you will see London like you've never seen it before. The cool breeze on the open upper deck adds to the sense of adventure. In short, The Shard is an experience.


According to the website, you get 360-degree views up to 40 miles. Such a visit might even be a good starting point for a tour of the city. The viewing areas are on floors 68, 69, and 72.

Here's my view of Tower Bridge




The Tower of London looks like a minature castle. You can see The Shard reflected in the Thames.






If you have a railway enthusiast in your group, check out this view.




You might recognize the HMS Belfast, an historic WW II battleship.





The Shard contains a hotel, offices, and restaurants. Tickets can be purchased online. Access is by high speed lifts that travel at the rate of 6 metres per second.

I visited in November so I had very little wait time. There is a security check. Refreshments are available on the viewing decks.

Consider the direction of the sun and time of day if that is a factor in what you want to see. For example, I went in the afternoon so the western sun made it diffuclt to get great photos in that direction but nicely lit up the other parts of London.  You can add a day and a night experience for an additional fee.

For details on hours, prices, and more, check out the website: https://www.the-shard.com/


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 Geoff W. Sutton

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LinkedIN Geoffrey Sutton  PhD

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