Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services 

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Category: War Cemeteries

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Belgium (Flanders)

An incomplete list

What are you guarding ?

"What are you guarding, Man-at-Arms?
Why do you watch and wait?"
"I guard the graves," said the Man-at-Arms,
"I guard the graves by Flanders Farms,
Where the dead will rise at my call to arms,
And march to the Menin Gate."

"When do they march then, Man-at-Arms?
Cold is the hour and late."
"They march tonight," said the Man-at-Arms,
"With the moon on the Menin Gate.
They march when the midnight bids them go,
With their rifles slung and their pipes aglow,
Along the roads - the roads they know,
The road to the Menin Gate."

"What are they singing, Man-at-Arms
As they march to the Menin Gate?"
"The marching songs," said the Man-at-Arms,
"That let them laugh at Fate;
No more will the night be cold for them,
For the last tattoo has rolled for them;
And their souls will sing as of old for them,

As they march to the Menin Gate."


The Menin Gate Memorial

In 1928, a year after the inauguration of the Menin Gate Memorial, a number of prominent citizens in Ypres decided that some way should be found to express the gratitude of the Belgian nation towards those who had died for its freedom and independence.

The idea of the daily sounding of the Last Post - the traditional salute to the fallen warrior - was that of the Superintendent of the Ypres Police. The Menin Gate Memorial on the east side of Ypres was thought to be the most appropriate location for the ceremony. Originally this was the location of the old city gate leading to the Ypres Salient battlefields through which so many passed on their way to the front line.

For a few moments the noise of traffic ceases and a stillness descends over the memorial. At exactly 20.00 hours up to six members of the regular buglers from the local volunteer Fire Brigade step into the roadway under the memorial arch. They play Last Post, followed by a short silence and then play Reveille.



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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces