The Belgian Sector Part Three – Nieuwpoort: The Yser Memorial

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The Yser Memorial remembers the men of the Belgian Army who lost their lives during the Great War.

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Atop the memorial, the figure of La Belgique turns away, shielding the Belgian crown from the view of the invader.

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At each corner of the memorial stands the figure of a Belgian soldier.

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The soldiers show the effects of their experience of war.  This man is depicted suffering from sickness, perhaps of war itself.

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It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the missing ‘l’ in ‘Belgique’ is a casualty of a later war.  By the way, you might have noticed that the inscriptions on the memorial are in both French and Dutch – the Belgian Army was made up of Walloons (French speaking) and Flemings (Dutch speaking) – and, as you will see later, in English.

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This soldier is wounded.

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The memorial was inaugurated in October 1930.

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This soldier is fit, stoic, ready to return to the fight.

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As I said earlier, English too.

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The fourth soldier will never fight again.  He is blind.

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The Belgian Army lost just over 41,000 men during the Great War, nearly 24,000 of whom were killed in action.  Almost 7000 died of their wounds, and a further 10,000 of sickness.  All are remembered here.

Next, we pay a visit to Nieuwpoort Communal Cemetery. However, should you wish, although not strictly part of our tour, there are a couple of other places of interest a short distance along the coast to the west, one a war memorial, the other a cemetery, that you might like to see before we continue our journey south.

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