From Ypres to Fromelles
The World War I Western Front Remembrance Trail runs from Ypres in Belgium down to Cambrai and Serre Piusieux in the southern part of the Nord Pas-de-Calais region. This guide gives you an itinerary to follow. Pick up the map and Remembrance Trail booklet at any tourist office in the region.
The first Battle of Ypres took place between October 19 and November 22, 1914. It was a victory for the Allies, but not enough of a victory. It marked the start of the long drawn-out war that took place over nearly 800 kilometers across France from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border.
Start at Flanders Field Museum in Ypres, Belgium, housed in the old Cloth Hall which was rebuilt after its destruction in the Great War. It shows the five battles of the war around Ypres, effectively told through the words and actions of a soldier and a civilian of the time.Lakehnalle (Cloth Hall) Grote Markt 34
Tel.: 00 32 (0)57 239 220
Please note: The Museum is closed for renovation until June 2012.
Directions to Fleurbaix
From Ypres take the N336 sigposted to Lille. After 12 kilometers, join the N58A signposted to Armentieres. With Armentiers to your right, cross the A25/E42 autouroute onto the D176 and follow signs to Fleurbaix.Here on the Rue de Petillon, you’ll come to Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, a Commonwealth cemetery where 356 soldiers who fell in secondary battles are buried.
Take the D171 south, then turn onto the D22 left to Fromelles.
First you'll see the Australian Memorial Park with its statue of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade after the Battle of Fromelles. Then you come to Pheasant Wood in Fromelles, the latest World War I cemetery which opened on July 19th, 2010. It marks the battle of July 19th, 1916 when 5,533 Australian and 1,547 British soldiers were killed or went missing crossing the open fields nearby.
At Richebourg (south of Fromelles on the D171 at the crossroads between Route d’Estaires and Rue du Bois), the Neuve-Chapelle Memorial marks the deaths of 4,047 men from the Indian Corps, the only place on the Western Front which commemorates the Indian soldiers of World War I. Next door to this you’ll come to the Portuguese National Cemetery, again uniquely remembering the Portuguese soldiers who enlisted in an expeditionary force in 1916 to support the Allies. On April 9th, 1918, 1,831 Portuguese soldiers died in the German offensive on Lys Plain and are buried here.
Where to Stay
The best place to stay is Lille, which you can use as a center to see both Ypres in Belgium and the war memorials and cemeteries.
Compare prices on Lille hotels
224 rue de Paris
Tel.: 00 33 (0)3 20 85 30 30
In a former hospice founded in 1462, this is Lille’s most elegant and beautiful hotel.
3-5 parvis St-Maurice
Tel.: 00 33 (0)3 20 06 06 69
Charming and tucked down a pedestrianised street, this is a well kept secret that has beautifully restored rooms and down-to-earth prices.