01 August 2017

Prince Charles opens Poppy Garden created by the CWGC

HRH the Prince of Wales and TM the King and Queen of the Belgians officially opened the United Kingdom Poppy Garden in Passchendaele Memorial Park yesterday.

 

The garden, designed and planted by the CWGC, is heavily influenced by the appearance of the Commission’s cemeteries. Like them, the garden is a contemplative space, where people can pause and remember those who died.

The soft, flowing planting style – using roses, shrubs, flowering bulbs, clipped yews and herbaceous plants – is similar to that proposed by the great British garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll, for use in the early war cemeteries. Many of the plants used in the garden are still in use in the CWGC’s cemeteries.

Gertrude Jekyll designed more than 400 gardens and had a particular association with the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was one of the principal architects for the design of the war cemeteries after the First World War.

Two benches in the garden are of a design attributed to Lutyens. They have been handmade from oak by the CWGC’s craftsmen.

A quote from ‘War’ by the Welsh poet Ellis Evans (Hedd Wyn), who was killed on 31 July 1917 and is buried in CWGC Artillery Wood Cemetery, is set into the entrance path:

The harps of old which once were played,

On yonder willow trees are fixed,

Boys’ screams are on the wind relayed,

Their blood is with the deluge mixed.

The garden is one of seven in the shape of a poppy in Passchendaele Memorial Park. At the request of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 different nations who fought in the First World War are providing the design and construction of their garden. The gardens are part of ‘The Legacy of Passchendaele’ project.

HRH the Prince of Wales and TM the King and Queen visited the garden after attending a commemorative service marking the Centenary of Passchendaele – The Third Battle of Ypres at the CWGC’s Tyne Cot Cemetery.

After the service, Prince Charles also visit CWGC Artillery Wood Cemetery where he marked the Welsh and Irish contribution during the Third Battle of Ypres with a short ceremony. During his visit, he paused to remember First World War poets Ellis Humphrey Evans (better known as Hedd Wyn) and Francis Ledwidge, who were both killed on the first day of the battle and are buried in the cemetery.

Read more about Passchendaele

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In this video Edward Toms, now 96-years-old, who was badly wounded in the battle but returned in 1954 to take part in the opening ceremony for the El Alamein Cemetery and Memorial, speaks about the horrors he witnessed and the work of the Commission.

20 October 2017

Casualties of El Alamein

Troops from many nations fought side by side in the deserts of North Africa at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Ahead of tomorrow’s commemoration at El Alamein War Cemetery marking the 75th anniversary of the battle, here are the stories of some of those who lost their lives.

Colour footage of the building of El Alamein Memorial has recently been discovered in the CWGC archive. The footage is now part of a display about the Commission’s work in Egypt at the El Alamein Museum, which has undergone a complete renovation to mark the battle’s 75th anniversary, thanks to a collaborative effort between many nations, with the encouragement of President Sisi. Here is a sneak peek of the footage.