As requested: Ieper (Ypres) re-visited

Old Apr 22nd, 2005, 07:27 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 62
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As requested: Ieper (Ypres) re-visited

As Kiramoli requested, here is my re-post of my 2004 mini report on visiting Ieper (Ypres) in Belgium: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34491308

As an update, on this year's trip, I stayed at a wonderful B&B style hotel in Ieper called the "Shell Hole". Run by British ex-serviceman John Woolsgrove and Christine DeDeyne, it is a great place to stay. Friendly hosts, a nice breakfast and a cozy bar sure made for a good stay. Also Mr. Woolsgrove runs a military book shop which is part of the hotel/bar buiding and can answer any questions you might have about visiting the area. More info on their web page: www.shellhole.com.

There are several 3 and 4 star hotels in Ieper and if that’s your preference, no problem. But if you’re looking for great hospitliaty and comfortable surroundings the Shell Hole is perfect for the likes of me!

Also, this year I took a train to Poperinge, just a few miles from Ieper to visit Talbot House which was a “home from home” for many battle-weary British and Commonwealth soldiers during World War I (www.talbothouse.be).

Also in Poperinge, I visited the place where deserters were held and then executed. Of all the World War I sites that I have visited in Belgium and France, this was the one place that really sent me reeling. Considering that many of the deserters were just teenagers and were suffering from shellshock it was a pretty grim reminder of just how utterly terrible war can be.

On the “lighter” side, don’t forget about the wonderful Belgium chocolates and great food in Ieper. I know because I think I’ll be wearing the proof of all my indulgences for a long time. Sigh.....

Take care, and happy travels,
Dale




GrammieDale is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2005, 02:57 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 4,412
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
With regard to executions during the First World War, most of us today recoil from the idea of a death sentence, and most civilized countries have abolished capital punishment. Indeed there are campaigns today to pardon all those so punished.

However, we must look at these in terms of the situation at the time, in which the death penalty was part of both the civil and military system of justice. The current campaigns for pardons tends to picture all those shot as underage and suffering from "shell shock" However, one study shows that the number who were rogues outnumbered those with mitigating circumstances by about 6 to 1.

It should also be remembered that the 306 British soldiers executed represented only 9% of those actually sentenced to death. In other words, 9 out of 10 had their punishment commuted to a lesser sentence.

. I am personally opposed to capital punishment, and am pleased that such actions would not happen today. But this was a harsh war fought in unbelievable circumstances and these executions have to been seen in that context, and in terms of the justice system at the time.

The BBC has a good and balanced web page on this subject for those who want to find out more.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/wwo..._dawn_01.shtml
laverendrye is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2005, 04:07 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,260
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I always thought the most significant event at Ypres was the use of poison gas during combat operations. Am I incorrect about this?

GrammieDale: thank you for the report and glad you enjoyed your stay. I do think, however, that naming an establishment the "Shell Hole" might be a bit off-putting to some potential clients.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2005, 07:23 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 62
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry, didn't mean to talk about political subjects. I know there were many, many horrors from WWI, including the complete destruction of Ieper and the first gas attacks at St. Julien (outside Ieper), I'm just saying viewing the execution post had affected me deeply as did many sights around Ieper as I wrote about in 2004 (see my previous posts.)

Somethings just affect some people differently. I'll take a look at the BBC link and thanks for stressing the need for a balanced view. Points well taken for sure.

Finally, I did chuckle at the name "Shell Hole", but hey, despite its name, it's an okay place to stay!

Dale
GrammieDale is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2005, 11:01 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 6,078
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There has been a lot in the Belgian papers about the first ever gas attack, near Ieper in April 1915, when the Germans used gas against French troops, and some 5000 of them died a horrible death on that day.
The horror of any war, but particularly that one, is unimaginable. Just this morning, there was an article in the paper about the Memorial Museum Paschendaele in Zonnebeke (that I must admit I had not heard of). In 1917 half a million British, French and German soldiers were killed or wounded in order to gain 8 kilometers of land on the Germans.
The German who invented the gas that was used in 1915 was awarded a Nobel prize just three years later.
Tulips is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2005, 01:49 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 4,412
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Chlorine gas was first used as a weapon by the Germans on April 22, 1915, and Fritz Haber, the German scientist who organized its use, was indeed awarded a Nobel Prize in 1918, although not for that reason. It's not entirely inappropriate as Alfred Nobel of course made his fortune with the invention of dynamite. Ironically, because he was Jewish, Haber was forced to flee Germany for England in 1933 when the Nazis came to power.

The very impressive "Brooding Soldier" memorial at St. Julien/Sint-Juliaan commemorates that battle, where despite heavy losses the Canadians held the line against the German gas attacks and prevente a decisive German breakthrough, after the French divisions on their left had broken and fled.

Like Verdun, the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) in 1917 was a terribly costly and futile campaign. The French played little part in it, as their army was exhausted by the losses at Verdun and the subsequent mutinies in 1917. However, in addition to the British, we should not forget the part played by the Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians, all of whom suffered heavy casualties in this battle.
laverendrye is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2005, 03:47 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,247
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A few pictures from various stes

http://www.kodakgallery.com/BrowsePh...Uy=ync8dy&Ux=0
jody is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2005, 04:53 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,579
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Christmas Day 1957 saw the release of Stanley Kubrik's black and white film "Paths of Glory" about the execution of 3 French soldiers in WWI for desertion and cowardice. It is still one of the best anti-war movies.

The film stars Kirk Douglas and Adolf Menjou and was made with only a few minor special effects, explosions, and without the coarse language so prevalent today (and verboten then).

I just watched it on video recently, almost 50 years from my first viewing.
jsmith is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2005, 08:28 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 4,412
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great pictures, jody.
laverendrye is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
farrermog
Europe
23
Apr 24th, 2014 04:42 PM
111op
Europe
469
Feb 19th, 2008 08:30 AM
ilovetotravel29
Europe
10
Apr 19th, 2006 01:39 AM
canterbury417
Australia & the Pacific
9
May 6th, 2003 11:26 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:33 AM.