Burials in Flanders fields
Cement House Cemetery, near Langemark in Flanders. Burial of three unknown soldiers, November 2005
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Pictures by Piet den Blanken
Text by Rob Ruggenberg
A cold November morning in Flanders fields where between the crosses, row on row, fresh graves wait. It is burial day. A few times a year corpses and smaller human remains, recently found, are given back to the earth.
Here, at Cement House Cemetery near the village of Langemark, the day starts with the burial of three unknown soldiers, whose remains were found by the Boesinghe Diggers in an industrial zone near the canal at nearby Boesinghe.
These Boesinghe Diggers are Flemish archeology amateurs, all fascinated by the Great War, all devoted to dig up as much as possible, while it still can. The industrial zone is expanding and the diggers excavate sites where soon factories will be built. Now and then they find human bodies.
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In 1915 the whole area near the canal at Boesinghe was battlefield, Patrick van Wanzeele explains. He is one of the Boesinghe Diggers. Every Saturday he and his friends dig up former trenches. They use old trenchmaps to locate Nomansland and the frontlines.
The second burial ceremony of today takes place at Track X Cemetery, close to Ypres.
Two buglers from the Ypres Fire Brigade sound the Last Post.
|The last coffin arrives
A gravedigger of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission arrives at the third war cemetery where a burial is going to take place today: Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Cemetery, south of Ypres.
Still one hour to go before the ceremony will commence.
The unknown soldier buried here belonged to the Worcestershire Regiment. That much we know from the remains of the uniform that were still on his body.
After the Last Post has sounded, Philip Noakes cites Laurence Binyon:
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old,
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