Tri-Service

New Cenotaph For The Fallen At Ypres

Like all of Ypres the medieval market square had to be completely rebuilt after the First World War. Now the Flanders town echoes to a new...

Like all of Ypres the medieval market square had to be completely rebuilt after the First World War.
 
Now the Flanders town echoes to a new wave of construction and this time it involves blacksmiths.
 
An international team is finishing a steel cenotaph to honour all people killed in the 1914-18 conflict.
 
Cenotaph designer Terrence Clark says that he designed it so that it's possible to walk up and touch it:
"I want civilians to come along and touch it and feel it as if they own it so it is part of them.”
In the plate of the steel cenotaph is half a poppy meant to help remember those that died and those that lived, including civilians.
 
The structure depicts one of the props that held up frontline tunnels and underground shelters.
 
It protrudes from a mound of artillery pounded earth covered in handmade metal poppies - 2016 of them, to mark the year of this cenotaph’s creation.
 
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Ypres in 1919. Picture: William Lester King
 
Almost all of the poppies are brown, which depicts the dirt and the muck and the filth of the trenches, and the souls of the soldiers coming out of the ground, but one of the poppies is white, to represent soldiers who were shot for desertion and cowardice.
"They weren’t deserters. They just got shellshock. Now they understand what it is. Then they didn’t understand it. So it’s part of the time but I just thought it was really sad and there isn’t anywhere really that remembers those that got shot and I thought 'we need to include them as well.'"
The finished cenotaph will feature railings that from above will resemble maps of trenches.
 
Its final destination will be next to German war graves not far from Ypres, with an official unveiling set to take place at the Langemark cemetery in November.