On a weekend where Remembrance is on many peoples minds, this image for once needs little description; two old soldiers, still serving, visiting a comrade’s grave at Bethune Town Cemetery in 1919.
Lest We Forget.
Yesterday we saw the Menin Gate as it was before the Great War; the Menin Gate was by far the best known exit from the centre of Ypres during the war but in fact arguably the most used was in fact the Lille Gate, pictured here in a British stereo image in 1919.
The Lille Gate dates back to the 14th Century and was so named as it was on the main route to Lille. During the Great War the Ramparts close by were used as headquarters – at one stage for Tunnelling units – and there was also medical facilities and a cemetery grew up on the Ramparts itself – one of several on the city walls. After the Second Battle of Ypres in May 1915 the Menin Gate was in direct observation from the high ground around Ypres and so the Lille Gate became the main route to get to the front line for troops passing through Ypres.
A forgotten aspect of the aftermath of the Great War is the British Army of Occupation that entered and occupied Germany from 1919 and remained there for ten years. This first British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) was based in the Rhineland around Cologne and included infantry plus all the supporting arms.
This image shows two Mark V tanks of ‘L’ (12th) Battalion Tanks Corps, parked outside the steps of Cologne Cathedral. This unit had served overseas from 1918 and had been one of those selected to be part of the Army of Occupation. The tanks were obviously of great interest to the locals given the number of people who have come to see them!
Another good collection of photographs relating to the 12th Tank Corps in Cologne can be found on Flickr.