The First World War

 

Five places to relive the First World War.

 
From 2014 to 2018, all of Belgium celebrates the centenary of the First World War. Commemorations, re-enactments but also new exhibitions retrace these historical events and allow us to remember and commemorate the Great War. Discover a dozen unmissable places that pay tribute to the soldiers who disappeared in Picardy Wallonia during this period.

Ploegsteert memorial

This circular temple and the military cemeteries of the Commonwealth pay tribute to the soldiers who died in the Comines region during the First World War. Two lions guard the 11,447 British names engraved in stone. The Last Post is organised every first Friday of the month at 7pm. Free tour.

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Plugstreet 14-18 Experience interpretation centre

The Centre Plugstreet 14-18 Experience invites visitors to share in the experiences of soldiers and civilian populations during the 14-18 war. This ​400 m² stage area ​is fitted with modern equipment leading visitors on an interactive tour of the site centered on several themes: the front, the war in the region, the Battle of Messines, women in war, and more.

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Ploegsteert memorial

Plugstreet 14-18 Experience interpretation centre

The British cemeteries

Twenty cemeteries in Ploegsteert are home to 6,000 British soldiers who fell during the Great War. These places of contemplation are scattered over the countryside and the woods of the entity of Comines-Warneton. As far as the eye can see, white rectangular headstones form a beautifully sobre display. An ideal place of contemplation. Free visit and guided tour. Information from the tourist office of Comines-Warneton.

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The military history museum

Located a stone’s throw from the Grand Place of Tournai, the military history museum offers an overview of the different battles that shaped the region from 1792 to 1945. Through a dozen rooms, history lovers will enjoy a rich collection of weapons, uniforms and equipment. Upstairs, you’ll discover the highlights of the 14-18 and 39-45 wars. You can see how French territorial troops defended the city and the unfolding of the October 1918 Schelde battle led by British troops. In the next room you can see the bombing of Tournai and the Battle of the Scheldt of May 1940 as well as the liberation of the city in September 1944.

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Re-enactment of the Christmas Truce

The locality Saint-Yvon (Warneton) is a place of tribute to the Christmas Truce. Inaugurated by Michel Platini, the UEFA monument represents a football and celebrates the centenary of this 1914 Christmas night, when English and German soldiers emerged from their trenches to share a moment of friendship and play a football match.

In December, a reconstruction of life in the trenches and the Christmas Truce takes place in Ploegsteert, near Comines. About forty extras in vintage clothes let you relive this historical highlight over a weekend.