"He is not missing - he is here"
Field Marshal Sir Herbert Plumer, at the inauguration of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing 1927.
The Menin Gate is the most famous landmark in the city of Ieper, the contemporary Flemish spelling of the city’s name. It was known to the WW1 Diggers by its French spelling, Ypres, pronounced ‘eeper’, but the Diggers invariably pronounced it as “Wipers”.
The Menin Gate was rebuilt after the Great War. It marks the site of the Medieval city gate and sits astride the road that exits the city walls and leads to Menin; the Menin Road.
It serves as the Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing, and commemorates 55,000 Commonwealth soldiers killed in the vicinity, who have no known grave. 6,000 Australians are among their number. Another 35,000 are commemorated at the nearby Tyne Cot Cemetery.
The 55,000 names are inscribed in unit order, on tablets that form the walls of the Gate structure.
Every evening at 6pm, the Ieper Fire Brigade Buglers sound the Last Post and a wreath laying ceremony is conducted by the many visitors who pass through this picturesque town.
Each year the surrounding farmland gives up more remains of soldiers that were lost in the mud and misery of the surrounding fields in battles such as Menin Road, Polygon Wood and Passchendaele. More recently some have been identified by DNA analysis.
Iper itself was completely destroyed by shellfire during WW1. It was rebuilt to original drawings of the city, kept secure from the carnage wrought on the city by the war. The town is dominated by the spectacular Cloth Hall, which marks the city’s connection to the lace and cloth trade dating back to a medieval trade centre and market.