From 1914 to 1918, Flanders Fields was a major battle theatre on the Western Front during the First World War. A million soldiers from more than 50 different countries were wounded, missing or killed in action here. Entire cities and villages were destroyed, their population scattered across Europe and beyond. The destruction of the city of Ypres and the brutal conditions endured during the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres) became worldwide symbols for the senselessness of war. Today the peaceful region still bears witness to this history through its monuments, museums, cemeteries and the countless individual stories that link it with the world.
The remembrance of the First World War will always live on in Flanders. In places such as the Menin Gate, where the Last Post sounds every evening, Tyne Cot Memorial and Cemetery (the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world) and the many, many memorials dedicated to the fallen and the missing. Also, the poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’, by John McCrae, went on to inspire the use of the poppy, which once grew on the battlefields of Flanders Fields, to become an enduring symbol of remembrance across the world.