war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper


The "We Remember" Booklet 2006


YPRES REMEMBERS                                               

Dominiek Dendooven, courtesy Mr DendoovenOn 18 August 1914 Corporal F.J.P. Geard was the first of a too long list of Dovorians to die in World War I.  22-year-old Frederick, who lived with his parents at Lascelles Road, Maxton, was an observer with the 5th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. His plane crashed near Peronne, France, while returning from a reconnaissance flight.

Many remain unknown, but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorates around 1,000 inhabitants of Dover killed in the Great War. 135 Dovorians died in Belgium, mostly near Ypres. The names of no fewer than 48 Dovorians are inscribed on the Menin Gate at Ypres and 32 others feature on the nearby Ploegsteert and Tyne Cot Memorials to the Missing.  

The Menin Gate is the focus of all “commemorative activities” The Menin Gate, courtesy "In Flanders Fields" Museumin Flanders. The site of the gate is highly symbolic: through this gap in the Ypres ramparts, many soldiers left the ruined town for the trenches. The Gate was unveiled in 1927 and another “monument”, was added the following year. Every night at 8pm, accompanied by hundreds of silent bystanders, two to seven buglers assemble under the Gate and blow the Last Post. In all its simplicity, this unique ceremony can be appreciated by all. There is one common purpose: remembering the Fallen.

The Last Post at the Menin Gate is the most important but far from the only act of remembrance in Ypres. The “In Flanders Fields” Museum in the reconstructed mediaeval Cloth Hall, shares a common purpose with the War Memorial Project of Dover, i.e. “putting a face on a name”.

Those who died in World War 1 were real people, leading a real life. Learning to know the individual hidden behind a name, is learning to understand the impact war - in this case World War I- has had on ordinary people’s lives. A more personal approach helps to appreciate those who have given their lives for our future. It helps us to revalue the importance of peace and democracy. Hence, remembering is working on the future.

 Dominiek Dendooven, “In Flanders Fields” Museum, Ypres, Belgium

Copyright 2006 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved