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7 of the best World War I sites you can visit

By: Josh Lew on Sept. 22, 2016, 3:20 p.m.
Tyne Cot Cemetery at the Passendale Memorial Museum

Photo: Paul Daniels/Shutterstock

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Passchendaele Battlefield

The Battle of Passchendaele (now usually spelled Passendale) was also called the Third Battle of Ypres because it was the third time in three years that Germany had squared off against the Allies in this particular part of Flanders, Belgium. The battle, during which Allied forces tried — and ultimately succeeded — to remove the German army from the high ground near the city of Ypres, lasted for more than three months. Like most major battles of the war, this 1917 confrontation led to hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides.

Visitors to this and other battle sites around Ypres often stop at the Menin Gate to the Missing, a large memorial that commemorates the more than 50,000 soldiers from Commonwealth countries who went missing during the fighting and were never found. The gate includes a large open-air hall where the names of those missing are inscribed. Nearly 12,000 Commonwealth soldiers are buried at the Tyne Cot Cemetery (pictured), which is also near Passchendaele. The first burials took place in October 1917 while the battle was still raging nearby.

The village of Passchendaele itself was destroyed during the battle, but it has been rebuilt and is now a tourist site. Various memorials and markers are scattered throughout the fields in the area. The Passendale Memorial 1917 Museum has exhibits that puts these markers into historical context. The museum's highlight is a life-size replica of a dugout used by British soldiers during the battle.