Meike and Fleur from Zeist, Netherlands visit Flanders Fields with their school class as they are currently learning about the First World War. Earlier this morning, they already visited Hill 62. As part of their assignment, the girls have to look up names and dates and find answers to questions.
While some of their classmates are still busy exploring the cemetery, the girls have already completed their tasks and take a moment to take in the atmosphere. “It is all very quiet here, you can really feel the silence and suddenly there are so many emotions,” Fleur explains while looking over the countless rows of white headstones.
In 1917, the British set up a medical Dressing Station in a former German pill-box, and this is how Tyne Cot cemetery first came into being. As the first war casualties succumbed to their injuries, the area around the Dressing Station was used as a burial ground.
Today, 11,965 Commonwealth soldiers are buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot Cemetery
. The Tyne Cot Memorial commemorates nearly 35,000 servicemen who died in the Ypres Salient and whose graves are not known.
“It is really difficult to understand that so many people died in this war but being here helps me to comprehend what happened 100 years ago,” Meike explains. “Our grandfathers and grandmothers tell us stories about what happened in the Great War, but now that I am here I can see what it was really like,” Fleur adds.
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