I was reading the latest issue of Wargames Illustrated 281 and at the end there was an article on the farm complex at Hougoumont, Waterloo and it got me thinking to the day 7 or 8 years ago when four of us Rejects (myself, Ray, Ian and Richard) went on a day trip from England to Waterloo in Brussels to view the battlefield and also drop into Ypres on the way back to view the WW1 cemeterys and trenches. Now why were we doing this was Richard was and still is a history teacher at an all girls secondary school and he got to scout locations for history field trips for his school, so we were invited along for the day trip, early start saw us drive onto the eurostar train and the day began.
This is not a comphrensive tale of the battlefields and we were not there to revel in the carnage on both the battlefields but to visit and get a sense of the sacrifice that was bled into these locations and I know it's a cliche but these places have an atmosphere all to themselves and I believe history needs to be taught at school level and above to show the sacrifice of previous generations.
Some links to the actual conflicts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Waterloo and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Ypres
This is the Lion Mound on the battlefield site, 226 steps and it nearly fucking killed me, it's bloody steep, there is a great vieew from the top once you can breathe properly again but it's no bloody picnic on those bloody steps on the way back down either, there is a good visitors centre with lots of bits and pieces going on and lots to look at (well there was back then!)
Hougoumont Farm as it currently looks.
La Haye Saint beside a busy main road.
This is Tyne Cot cemetery in Ypres, very bright and a beautiful but very sad place, lots and lots of names and graves.
I believe this is Langermarck which is a german cemetery and this is the location of a pillbox on the border of the cemetery, this cemetery was very sombre compared to the allied cemetery and this place has always stuck in my memory. One small plot about 15ft by 15ft full of poppies stated it had 17,000 bodies in it alone.
This is some actual original trench system we toured from WW1 that is now a museum.
Ypres town centre where we finished the day and had dinner before driving back to the euro star station where there may have been a little altercation concerning customs and comments (you can't take Ray anywhere). Ian had tried to kill us earlier that day when he took a wrong turn and went down a one way road but I digress as our memories fade (me and Ray have problems now remembering what we did last month) it was a grand day out that we never have done anything like it since even though we say we will.
I hope my information is correct but the memory fades but it should never about the important parts of history and friendship.