Tyne Cot Cemetery is located 9 kilometers from Ieper in Belguim. The Cemetery and its surrounding Memorials are located outside of Passendale, near Zonnebeke in Belgium..
Its the biggest British war cemetery in the world, its the resting place of nearly 12,000 soldiers of the Commonwealth Forces, There are a total of 11.856 graves : 8.901 British, 1.353 Australian, 966 Canadian, 519 from New-Zealand, 90 South-African, 14 from New Foundland, 6 from Guernsey, 2 from the British West-Indies, 1 French, 4 German and 101 graves for soldiers whose nationality could not be determined.
Two Victoria Cross heros can also be located in the cemetery ; Captain Clarence Smith Jeffries, an Australian and Private James Peter Robertson, a Canadian. At the rear of the cemetery is a memorial for the missing. It bears the names of 35,000 British and New Zealand servicemen who fought in WW1.
The Cross of Sacrifice can be seen through the entrance to the cemetery. The text inscribed on the front of the Cross of Sacrifice reads:
THIS WAS THE
TYNE COT BLOCKHOUSE
CAPTURED BY THE
3rd AUSTRALIAN DIVISION
4th OCTOBER 1917
Close by is the The Polygon Wood Memorial of the Australian 5th Division which lies deep in the forest along a country road located between Ypress and Zonnebeke in Belgium.
The land was given to Australia after WW1 for the fifth Division’s tribute to those who fought with between 1916 – 1918 in France and Belgium.
The moment you step outside your car and walk slowly through the forest path to the Memorial you are totally overwhelmed with a sense of utter sadness. The path leads you to a large Memorial with steps up to view the hundred’s of graves that are dotted in straight rows most only have etched on them “ A solider of the Great War “ on their headstones. Others, names carry a heavy burden with ages between 19 and 26.
As I walked around the grounds I was overcome with a pure feeling of serenity and peacefulness. It’s was a totally spiritual feeling which is almost intangible and unimaginable to describe. The knowledge that these men can never come home is a sadness which lies deep in most Australians souls and thoughts ; our true heroes.
As an Australian this precious and treasured memorial is a MUST see on any Australian / New Zealander’s list.
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