We then went to the battlefields around Hill 62, one of the most fought over corners of the Ypres area after which we visited the Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest British war cemetery in the world with just under 12,000 individual graves and a memorial wall which carries another 33,000 soldiers with no known grave.
I've never seen anything quite like it in all my life - so very humbling
Our day ended in Ypres where we attended the moving Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial. At 8pm every evening, buglers of the local volunteer fire brigade sound the Last Post. This tradition began in 1928 and, with the exception of the period of the Seond World War when Ypres was occupied, has taken place every night since. The 30,000th occasion for this solemn event takes place on 9th July 2015.
This memorial records another 55,000 soldiers missing in the battles at
Ypres and Passchendaele
We spent a few hours strolling around the bustling city of Ypres
and enjoyed dinner at a pavement cafe before returning to our hotel.
The following day we went to The Somme. The Battle of the Somme began on a summer's day in July 1916 and ended in a snowstorm four and a half months later during which time 60,000 soldiers became casualties either dead or wounded. It was and still remains the black day of the British Army.
Other battlefields included Devil's Wood, Peronne, Newfoundland Park, The Lochnagar Crater and our day ended with a visit to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing - a massive arched structure with large laurel wreaths carved on top of the pillars. This memorial, designed by Edwin Lutyens is the largest of the Memorials to the Missing, and the last on the Western Front to be unveiled. Over 72,000 names of soldiers missing on the Somme are commemorated here.
Most of these cemeteries are situated on the actual battlefields themselves. It's so hard to imagine the suffering and courage of those days when looking at the peaceful fields and woods today.
Last weekend on Remembrance Sunday we popped into London to see the Poppies at the Tower of London - another very humbling experience.
"At the going down of the sun,
and in the morning,
we will remember them"