Ivor and Kathie from Clones (Ireland)
Ivor and Kathie from Clones, Ireland walk pensively down the ramparts in Ypres. The weather is dreary this morning and adds to the contemplative atmosphere. They have travelled to Flanders Fields to trace the soldiers from their small hometown in Ireland, who fought and fell here in Flanders 100 years ago.
Menin Gate Memorial

“20 of our men died out here. My aim is to find out what happened,” Ivor explains his curiosity, “how did they come here and why?” Through research at home and on the spot he discovered that seven of them have their graves in Flanders Fields, while others have no known graves but are mentioned on various memorials such as the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing.

Ivor and Kathie have spent the entire last day visiting all of the known graves:

“Today, 100 years later, it is hard to imagine what the place must have been like. It must have been horrendous. It’s only when you see the memorials and cemeteries, as we did yesterday, that you realise what happened,” Ivor reflects.

“You can read about it, you can go on the Internet but you have to come here to understand,” he continues.

Yesterday they discovered the grave of John Nicholl of Clones who served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers: “It was quite emotional. He was only 17 years old when he fell in 1918,” Ivor explains. 

“Many of the men would have come from poor backgrounds and joined for the adventure or money but little did they know what they would be facing. I’m probably the first man from our town who came to visit and put down poppy crosses on their graves”.

Plan your trip to Flanders Fields

Poppy Grave
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