Menin Gate Memorial
Ieper (Ypres), Belgium
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Side view of the memorial.

CWGC plaque.

August 31, 2013: The Last Post ceremony.

The honour guard.

The official representative for the ceremony.

The wreath laying ceremony.

Two carved stone lion statues, apparently dating from medieval times, were mounted at the original Menin Gate. German shelling during the four years of conflict destroyed much of both the Gate and the besieged town of Ieper. During an Australian ambassadorial visit to Ieper in 1936, an approach was made of the town council to have these lion statues recovered and shipped to Australia for inclusion in the then newly completed Australian War Memorial in Canberra. This lead to the Mayor of Ieper gifting them to the AWM as recognition for the sacrifice made by Australian forces in the defence of Ieper during WWI.

The damaged lions were recovered from the rubble and subsequently shipped to Australia where they were held in storage for many years before restoration 1987. They were subsequently mounted at the main public entrance to the Australian War Memorial (seen above). In symbolic remembrance of the 18,000 Australian soldiers killed during the 3rd battle of Ypres, visitors to the Memorial pass between the two lions, as did the soldiers when marching off to the front. During the 2014 2018, as part of the centenary commemorations of WWI, the two lions are being shipped back to Ieper and the Menin Gate where they will once more stand guard before their return to the AWM.
(All photos and text courtesy of Peter F. Williams)
© 2013 Peter F. Williams all rights reserved

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Page published Sept. 27, 2014