It’s eight years since I visited Belgium to go to the war graves. Looking back on this Remembrance Day I can still feel the emotions that I had that day walking among the graves and walls of Tyne Cott cemetery.
The first thing that struck me was the vastness to the place. It seems to go on forever. These were men who died in a single battle of the First World War, yet there are so many names. So many lost their lives and are laid to rest in this piece of Belgium. Then there are the ones who were lost, but their bodies were never found.
The Menin Gate in Ypres was built originally for the names of those who had fallen but never found. When they finished it, they found that there wasn’t enough room for all the dead. The walls around Tyne Cott contain the rest of the names of those fallen whose bodies were never recovered.
To put it into some sort of context, Meni Gate was full at 54,000 names whilst the remaining 35,000 names are on Tyne Cott. When you see all those names row and row on marble it brings forward emotions that just flow.
Some might be uplifted by the sacrifice that these young men made for their country. To me it shows the tragic waste of a generation of youth who answered their countries call and were killed. You look at the towering edifice of the Menin Gate and see the true horror of war in each inscription.
It made me glad I was born at a time when war didn’t ravage throughout Europe and the World. It makes me angry that these young men’s lives were used at the whims of generals who can’t have thought about the tragic actions of their soldiers. If they had of thought, maybe so many lives would not have been lost in the war.