Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial

The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, often referred to simply as the Menin Gate, bears the names of more than 54,000 soldiers who died before 16 August 1917 and have no known grave.  Between October 1914 and September 1918 hundreds of thousands of servicemen of the British Empire marched through the town of Ypres’s Menin Gate on their way to the battlefields. The memorial now stands as a reminder of those who died who have no known grave and is perhaps one of the most well-known war memorials in the world.

Numerous British families would find a distant relative commemorated on the Menin Gate.  I visit to pay respects to my great grandfather’s cousin.  With the same name as my Grandad, Arthur Bell, it is incredibly poignant to stand in front of Arthur’s inscription on the Royal Lancaster Panel when the Last Post is played each evening at 8pm.  This page is published on the 104th anniversary of Arthur’s death.

There are 30 members of 17th Manchesters commemorated on the Menin Gate, all were killed on 31st July 1917 – the opening day of Passchendaele. There are a total of 325 inscriptions on the Manchester Regiment panels.

Ypres is a special place and the people are wonderful.  Thank you Belgium.

The feature photo was taken with the sun setting in the north on 1st July 2016.  As an average photographer, I’m proud of the quality of the image.  On that day, I’d walked in the footsteps of the Manchester Pals on the Somme, visited the site of a Battlefield in Arras and finished with my first visit to commemorate Arthur Bell in 2nd Ypres.  As a note of warning, one may become overwhelmed by the enormity of the Great War.

The Australians hold the original lions that stood at the entrance to the city prior to the Great War.  They lent them back to Ypres in 2017, for the centenary of Passchendaele.  Without two many anologies about “three lions on our gate”, I missed the lions in 2018 and found the empty plinths rather disheartening.  The Australians are planning to provide replica lions and I look forward to seeing these on my next visit.


CWGC image of the original gate with the lions guarding the entrance to Ypres

Sources CWGC