The entrance to St. Vedast Church, Vlamertinge, with the village war memorial to the far left of shot.
And we shall have a proper look at it in a minute, but first, the church door being open,…
…let’s take the opportunity to look inside. Those grey pillars look a little odd, to my mind.
And sure enough, there’s a Roll of Honour in one corner, and I wouldn’t mind betting that the bell in the picture is the original one salvaged from the church ruins after the Great War, but as I have only just noticed it (!), I really couldn’t tell you for certain.
The Roll bears the names of forty men of the village who died in service during the Great War, along with nineteen civilians, and ten Second World War casualties.
The insets show, left, an Australian officer looking down on Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery from inside the ruined church, and, right, the gutted remains of the church at the end of the war. With great irony and even better timing, the church tower had been completely refurbished in the early years of the 20th Century.
So, on to the war memorial,…
…its dying Poilu…
…safe in the arms of an angel.
Translation required, please.
And this is a military memorial only, unlike many village war memorials in both Belgium & France. None of the civilians whose names appear on the Roll of Honour, from either war, are to be found inscribed upon it.
The names on the memorial are all Great War casualties apart from the two at the bottom here, which, if you look very carefully, have 1940-1945 inscribed just above them; look equally carefully, and you will see that all the names on the memorial have a faint date of death next to them. As is often the case, both here in Belgium and back at home in Blighty, the names on the memorial do not correspond exactly with the names on the Roll of Honour in the church. A couple of names on this side,…
…all these additions on the reverse,…
…and three names on this side do not appear on the Roll.
So, moving on, the third of the Vlamertinge cemeteries is a little way south of the village,…
…and is the final stop on our current tour.
Well done Magicfingers,
I wonder what happened on the 27th of April 1918 for 6 members of the Deplaecie family to die and be listed on the Roll of Honour?
Cheers Daisy. For what it’s worth, 27th April 1918 was the day after the Germans captured Mont Kemmel, not so far south of here, and two days before the Battle of the Lys ended. Which may have something to do with it. Or indeed may not.
Another mystery… endless questions Magicfingers!
Battle of the Lys had been raging for some time by 27 April and you would presume a family of at least 6 would have been out of the way by then…
Do you know if the local ‘marie’ office would have this information?
Have you ever been involved with a ‘marie’ office chasing details behind a name on a memorial? Do they generally know anything?
You can imagine, assuming I manage to answer some of them, how many questions most of these posts begin with. Probably even more than you have! I have never actually contacted a mairie, but I am not so sure the equivalent in an English parish would have the answers. Museums are probably a better bet. I don’t know if Vlamertinge was officially cleared of civilians – we know Poperinge was at one point, so presumably it was – but we also know that Belgian civilains were trading in the area, so maybe it had something to do with that.
I have to say I agree with you about those grey pillars, though they might look better without the tv screens and speakers adorning them. A curious choice of material none the less.
The translation reads:
“Their corpses lie like seeds in sand
Hoping for the harvest oh Flanders”
Or words to that effect
Oh, they let you out, did they? Welcome back. Those TVs you mention came in very handy – I now have one in every room in the house……..oops. Thanks for the translation, btw,
Perhaps I should have started with ‘hi honey, I’m home!’ Lol. Only just it seems, with Turkey being removed from the travel corridor from this Saturday. A little too close for comfort, but a great time to stock up on lira ready for Gallipoli next year, fingers crossed.
Lol! Yes, you timed that just about right. Fingers indeed crossed.