The EU Peace Dividend - A Report From Graham Wilson

"The commemorations of the fallen at Passchendaele are more poignant for those who have visited the War Graves and the area around Ypres." wrote Graham during the EU Referendum campaign last year, following his visit to the World War 1 grave yards.

This week, saw the commemorations taking place and with coverage from TV, this is the experience of Graham in his own words and photos.

He describes his visit which changed his view of the EU:

I thought the EU Referendum was all about trade, prosperity, workers rights,
health and safety, security and, yes, immigration. That was until recently when I went to Brugges for four days and from there took a day trip to Ypres and Passchendaele.

Only by visiting the area and taking in the enormity of the collective sacrifice
can the awfulness of World War One be appreciated.

Pic: Tyne Cot cemeteryAt the Tyne Cot cemetery alone there are 12,000 graves, 8,300 unidentified. All of them died in fighting around Ypres. In addition the semi-circular Tyne Cot Memorial wall bears witness to 35,000 others who have no known grave, whose bodies could not be recovered.

The Menin Gate in Ypres, big as it is, had insufficient space to record the names of all the missing of the Flanders battlefields. More than 100,000 of the 205,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died in the area have no known grave.

Of course there are several cemeteries in the area. We visited one for 2000
Canadian servicemen, 1300 were unidentified.

Pic: The Memorial Wall at Tyne CotThe city of Ypres was destroyed in the four years of fighting. Nothing but
rubble was left. After the Armistice it was decide Ypres should be rebuilt as it
used to be and so there is now a Gothic Cathedral that is not yet a hundred
years old.

And so in 1918 it was said that WW1 was the war to end all wars; the peace
lasted 20 years.

Since the end of WW2 with the establishment of the United Nations and the European Union project we have had 70 years without major fighting in Europe. Surely that is worth considering before voting on 23rd June."

Pic: Menin Gate

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