In The Footsteps Of Pegahmagabow (Canada)
Francis Pegahmagabow, believed to have been born on 9 March 1889 at Parry Sound, was a soldier during the First World War and an advocate of the native population’s rights in his homeland after the Armistice. His parents died at a young age and he was brought up by his tribe. He enlisted on 13 August 1914, which was quite exceptional, since native Canadians were not allowed to join the army. Pegahmagabow, however, was able to find his way around the rules. He was posted to the 1st Battalion C.E.F.
He became the most decorated Canadian soldier of native origin and is one of just 38 Canadian holders of the Military Medal with two bars. He was also a skilled sharpshooter, with 378 confirmed ‘kills’ as a sniper. Pegahmagabow survived the war and returned to Canada, where the country’s political landscape had not changed. The native population still not enjoyed the same rights as other members of Canadian society. He became the head of his tribe and fought tirelessly for the rest of his life to obtain equal rights for his people.
10.00 – 12.00: Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917
This museum perpetuates the everlasting memory of the bloody Battle of Passendale. As part of the project '1917, Total War in Flanders', the 'Villa Zonnedaele' Mansion is the setting for a thematic exhibition entitled 'Passchendaele, a landscape in war', which explains the crucial role played by the devastated landscape during the Battle of Passendale.
Berten Pilstraat 5 - 8980 Zonnebeke
12.00 – 13.30: Lunch
13.30 – 15.00: Tyne Cot Cemetery
This Commonwealth cemetery is the most important witness to the bloody Battle of Passendale. The nearby visitors centre offers a unique view across the old battlefields and tells in words and images the poignant story of Tyne Cot Cemetery and the dead of the Passendale offensive. As part of the project '1917, Total War in Flanders', an interactive panorama panel tells the equally tragic story of the landscape in 1917.
Tynecotstraat 22 - 8980 Zonnebeke (Passendale)
15.00 – 15.30: Crest Farm Canadian Memorial
This monument commemorates the actions of the Canadian Corps, which suffered heavy losses during the Battle of Passendale, but was finally able to seize the ruins of the Passendale church. Crest Farm stands on a small rise and offers a fine view of the battlefield. The avenue between the memorial and the church symbolizes the last 600 metres that the Canadians had to cover before completing their capture of the devastated village.
Canadalaan – 8980 Zonnebeke (Passendale)
15.45 – 16.15: St. Julien Canadian Memorial
The Canadian Forces Memorial at St. Julien, better known as the 'Canadien' or the 'Brooding Soldier', honours the role played by Canadian troops during the Second Battle of Ieper. The Canadians lost 2,000 men near here in the first-ever gas attack. The monument is in the form of a Canadian soldier with 'reversed arms', a traditional military salute to the fallen. The park contains numerous Canadian plants and shrubs, planted in Canadian earth. In other words, you are standing on Canadian ground.
Brugseweg – 8920 Langemark-Poelkapelle (Langemark)
16.45 – 17.45: Hill 62
Hill 62 was the wartime name of a hill not far from Ieper. The number '62' refers to the fact that the hill is 62 metres above sea level. It was one of the few pieces of high ground in the Ieper Salient in the hands of the Allies. In June 1916, during the Battle of Mount Sorrel, Hill 62 or Höhe 62 was captured by the Germans from the Canadians in a surprise attack. It was quickly retaken by fresh Canadian troops just days later, but only after heavy losses. The summit offers a magnificent view of the towers of Ieper, underlining the strategic importance of high ground during the First World War.
Canadalaan - 8902 Ieper (Zillebeke)
Do you need more inspiration? Here you can find some additional itineraries for your trip to Flanders Fields!