About Ploegsteert Memorial
The Ploegsteert Memorial near the French-Belgium border commemorates over 11,000 British and South African servicemen who died in this region during World War One and have no known grave.
Located around 10 miles south of Ypres, the Ploegsteert Memorial is one of a number of such sites in the area which stand testament to the soldiers who disappeared during the bitterly fought battles which took place there.
As well as being a remembrance site, on the first Friday of every month the Last Post is sounded at 7pm.
History of Ploegsteert Memorial
The name of the small village and nearby wood of Ploegsteert – known by those who served there during the First World War as Plugstreet – had been the site of intense fighting at the start of the war.
Later, as a site which is eight miles south of Ypres and not far from the French border, it became a quiet area where troops where Allied units were sent to retrain and recuperate.
The Ploegsteert Memorial is one of several memorials dedicated to the missing along the Western Front.
It is situated within the Berkshire Cemetery Extension, which was was founded by Commonwealth troops in June 1916 as an extension to the existing Hyde Park Corner Cemetery, which was assigned to the United Kingdom by King Alfred I of Belgium in recognition of the sacrifices made during the British Empire to help liberate Belgium during the war.
It was designed by H Chalton Bradshaw, and opened in 1931. It is a circular structure, supported by pillars, with exterior panels inscribed with the names of the missing. Two large and resplendent stone lions flank the memorial.
Today, 11,369 men with no known grave are commemorated there.
Ploegsteert Memorial Today
Today, visitors can walk around the Ploegsteert Memorial, as well as adjoining cemeteries at the same site.
Since 1999, the Comité du Memorial de Ploegsteert has arranged for The Last Post to be played at the memorial on the first Friday of every month. This is popular among visitors.
There is also an excellent walk starting from the Ploegsteert Memorial which covers the whole area and Ploegsteert Wood in Paul Reed’s Walking Ypres. There is also a café across the road for those who wish to stop and pause while admiring the scenery.
Getting to Ploegsteert Memorial
From the centre of Ploegsteert, the memorial is a 15 minute walk via Rue de Messines/Mesenstraat/N365. By car, it takes around 2 minutes via the same route.
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