On Holy Ground: Ypres Salient

On Holy Ground: Ypres Salient

Ivan Lietaert Plus

"This is Holy Ground. No stone of this fabric may be taken away. It is a heritage for all civilised peoples." (Ypres, Belgium, 1919) Major Henry Beckles Willson, Ypres' last military Town Major, was in command of the legendary ruins in 1919. He was instrumental


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"This is Holy Ground. No stone of this fabric may be taken away. It is a heritage for all civilised peoples." (Ypres, Belgium, 1919) Major Henry Beckles Willson, Ypres' last military Town Major, was in command of the legendary ruins in 1919. He was instrumental in the development of Ypres as the focal point of Remembrance. He was also a fierce opponent of the rebuilding of Ypres, feeling that the horrific losses sustained there by the British Army in World War One meant it should always remain a Memorial:
But soon, the people of Ypres decided otherwise: life must go on, they thought, and they began rebuilding Ypres.

This has fascinated me all my life. I am literally born and bred on the battlefield of legendary Passchendaele, Belgium. In 2014 we commemorate the beginning of the 'mother of wars'. While the "Last Post" in Ypres is now an official candidate for World Heritage List, I am on a much more personal quest: why did hundreds of thousands of soldiers travel to the other side of the planet to fight here? For what cause? What was their motivation? And in 2014, a century after the tragedy, how should we commemorate the deeds of all parties involved?

In the months to come, I will be filming a variety of themes and locations linked to the Great War. Some of the footage will be edited and posted here, but not all. As this is a work in progress, there are still many paths open. The final cut will be a feature documentary film with a continuous narrative.

I kindly invite you to get inspired by my films, and perhaps to participate in one way or another. I surely would appreciate any comment or feedback.

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