(Sorry about the wonky placeholders again but the video works fine!)
Wednesday 1st August 2018 – well it is our last full day and we took ourselves off to Sanctuary Wood and Hooge Crater first. Not particularly linked to James Archibald McPhee but we wanted to visit anyway.
The museum was quaint but the glass 3-D slide machines were really harrowing as they didn’t hold back on their subject matter and due to the 3-D effect felt very real. At the back are some trenches and from the pock-marked terrain you did really get a feel for what it might have been like (although we visited in a very dry heat wave).
Sadly, the Hooge Crater has been filled in and is now part of a theme park but there is a good museum and a lovely walk which really gives you an idea as to the size of some of the craters that remain even today and how close the front lines were to each other.
In the afternoon we decided to look again for where James died. Armed with maps and Sat Nav off we set.
We drove up and down the St Julian to Ypres road but it was too busy and hot to step out but at least we’d solved the puzzle.
In the evening we returned to the Menin Gate in plenty of time and it was worth the wait. With a front row spot we had a clear view of the events, which were very moving.
All in all it was a throughly worthwhile trip and I would recommend anyone thinking about doing it to just do it! As many of our ancestors found out the hard way…life’s too short! Please contact me if you need any information or advice.