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Tyne Cot Cemetery

HRH The Duke of Kent unveils interactive panel at most visited war grave site in Flanders

05 November 2014

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), will unveil a new interactive panel at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium on 6 November. The panel, which uses smartphone technology to reveal personal stories of those who died, will give the hundreds of thousands of visitors to this iconic site an insight into the historic events that unfolded here a century ago.

Recent figures show that Tyne Cot receives almost 460,000 visitors a year - an increase of 64% over the last twelve months, and a figure which makes it the most visited commemorative site on the former Western Front.

His Royal Highness said: "The Centenary of the First World War has seen a huge growth in visitor numbers to the war cemeteries and memorials built and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This is heartening to see, as these places have enormous power to connect us to those historic events and to the millions of young men and women who took part in them - many of whom we commemorate.

"Perhaps this is nowhere more true than here at Tyne Cot - the largest CWGC cemetery in the world - where hundreds of thousands of visitors come to pay their respects, to learn and to remember.

"The panels we unveil today help mark the sacrifice of the almost 47,000 servicemen commemorated here but they are also part of a wider initiative to help those visitors understand the historical significance of these places and the human stories behind the stone inscriptions."

With almost 12,000 burials, Tyne Cot is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. The names  of almost 35,000 missing are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, which forms the eastern boundary of the cemetery, and is close to the farthest point in Belgium reached by Commonwealth forces in the First World War until the final advance to victory.

'Tyne Cot' or 'Tyne Cottage' was the name given by men of the Northumberland Fusiliers to a barn which stood near the level crossing on the Passchendaele-Broodseinde road. The barn, which had become the centre of five or six German blockhouses, or pill-boxes, was captured by the 3rd Australian Division on 4 October 1917, in the advance on Passchendaele.

One of these pill-boxes was unusually large and was used as an Advanced Dressing Station after its capture. Nearly 350 men were laid to rest around it between October 1917 and March 1918. After the Armistice, the cemetery was enlarged when battlefield burials and graves from smaller cemeteries were brought here.

At the suggestion of King George V, who visited the cemetery in 1922, the Cross of Sacrifice was placed on the original large pill-box - one of three that remain in the cemetery till this day.

The cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Herbert Baker with sculpture by F V Blundstone.

Click here for the full press release.