16 September 2021
New tour of Tyne Cot available for visually impaired visitors
Visually impaired visitors to CWGC’s Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium will now be able to join specially designed tours that will help them make the most of their visit.
The Belgium war grave tours, which are included in our Belgian Heritage Day events for Open Monuments Day 2021, were developed with assistance from Blindenzorg Licht en Liefde (Blindcare: Light and Love), a Flemish organisation that helps visually impaired and blind people improve their quality of life.
The New War Grave and Memorial Tour
One of the key changes made to the tours is to include specially designed tactile models of the war cemetery and memorial. This is designed to help visitors gain an understanding of the size and shape of the cemetery, some of the architectural details and its position in the Belgian landscape.
The guided tours themselves have also been updated to include other sensory experiences to go alongside the descriptions of the site and stories of those commemorated there. For example, visitors will be encouraged to feel the carvings and inscriptions on our headstones, as well as the names inscribed on the memorial.
These new tours will start in Belgium on Open Monuments Day, 18 September, but will continue to be available to visitors after the Heritage Open Days have finished.
Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial
Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest CWGC cemetery, with close to 12,000 burials of service people who fought on the Western Front during the Great War. Tyne Cot Memorial, which stands within the cemetery, bears the names of nearly 35,000 missing of World War One.
Cemetery and Battlefield Tours
Visiting the battlefields of France and Belgium is highly recommended for anyone interested in World War history.
Popular tours in this area include:
- Flanders Field and Flanders battlefield tours
- Somme battlefield tours
- Ypres battlefield tours
- Ypres Salient
- Arras tours
- Vimy Ridge tours
CWGC WW1 Sites in Belgium
There are close to 200,000 World War One commemorations in Belgium, commemorated in some of our largest sites in Europe.
Many of these casualties are from large engagements, such as the Battles of Ypres, the Battle of Passchendaele and the Battle of Messines Ridge, among others. The CWGC cemeteries and memorials such as the Ypres Menin Gate and the Tyne Cot Cemetery and Tyne Cot Memorial stand as lasting reminders of the men and women who gave their lives during these famous battles.
Other cemeteries and memorials commemorate those who died over the duration of the war through day-to-day fighting and smaller scale engagements. One such example is Ploegsteert Memorial, which bears the names of more than 11,000 Commonwealth United Kingdom and South African casualties.
Belgium Battlefields WW2
Much of the WW2 fighting in Belgium took place at the beginning and end of the war. In 1940, the German offensive unexpectedly pushed through Belgium, forcing the defenders, including sections of the British Expeditionary Force, back to the coast. Those who died during the fighting in Belgium and the defence of Dunkirk can be found in cemeteries such as Coxyde Military Cemetery and Dozinghem Military Cemetery.
In 1944, following the Normandy landings, one of the Allies main objectives was the liberation of Belgium. A key part of that was the port of Antwerp which was to become a vital part of the Allied supply chain. Once the port was in Allied hands, it then became necessary to clear the waterways between Antwerp and the sea of German defenders. This was particularly bloody fighting, with more than 12,000 casualties. Many of these casualties are commemorated in the Netherlands, as well as sites in Belgium including Schoonselhof Cemetery.
Throughout the war, the air forces of the Commonwealth flew thousands of sorties, either to directly support ground operations, or as part of long-range bombing missions across western Europe. More than 3000 Commonwealth airmen are buried in cemeteries across Belgium.
Interested in learning more about Belgium war grave tours and memorial sites? The CWGC Ieper Information Centre is located in the town of Ieper, West Flanders, a stone's throw from iconic memorials such as the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial and WW1 battlefields.