The Menin Gate was unveiled on 27 July 1927 and is probably the best known of all the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s memorials. It weighs over 20,000 tonnes and carries the names of 54,000 men who died in the Flanders area up to 15 August 1917, and who have no known grave. The men commemorated here are the fallen of the First and Second Battles of Ypres. The other large Commonwealth war memorial in the area is at Tyne Cott, which commemorates the third battle.
Every night at 8:00 the traffic is stopped from going through the gate and members of the local fire brigade, who are also members of the Last Post Association, play the ‘The Last Post’ in tribute to the fallen. They have done so since 1928, except during the period when Belgium was occupied during the Second World War.
On special days such as Remembrance Sunday, this can also take place at 11:00 as part of a Remembrance Service. On these occasions, many hundreds of people may be present. However, it is somehow more moving to be there on a cold wet Tuesday night when there may be only a handful of people present.
The photographs above were taken by John Reffell at the evening service held on Sunday 31 August 1997, which was also the day that Diana Princess of Wales died.