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450-mile walkway of the Western Front

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Feb 2018 8:06    Onderwerp: 450-mile walkway of the Western Front Reageer met quote

The 450-mile walkway of the Western Front: From Switzerland to Belgium it passes the sites of some of the bloodiest clashes in history but experts hope the route serves a 'beautiful memorial' to WWI
It would pass through Arras, Verdun and Ypres from Swizterland to Belgium
Organisers want it to be a sacred pathway to honour the 17m people who died
It was inspired by a letter written by an officer who died at the Battle of Loos.

Stretching 450 miles from Switzerland to the Belgian coast, it passes the sites of some of the bloodiest clashes in history.

But experts hope a walkway along the route of the Western Front could serve as a 'beautiful' memorial to the First World War.

The route would be split into ten-mile stages, taking in the main centres of fighting, including Arras, Verdun and Ypres.

Organisers of the cross-channel initiative want it to serve as a 'via sacra' Ė sacred way Ė in honour of the 17million war dead.

The inspiration for the campaign was a letter written by Alexander Gillespie, an officer who died at the Battle of Loos in 1915.

'It was sent to his former headmaster back in England and suggested that after the war the French and English governments should come together and create a via sacra,' said Rory Forsyth, who is head of the Western Front Way charity.

In the letter Gillespie, a second lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, wrote: 'When peace comes, our government might combine with the French government to make one long avenue between the lines from the Vosges to the sea.

'I would make a fine broad road in the 'No Man's Land' between the lines, with paths for pilgrims on foot, and plant trees for shade and fruit trees, so that the soil should not altogether be waste.'

Mr Forsyth said the charity had been careful not to make it a British-only project because the route is wholly in France and Belgium.

'We've made real efforts to coordinate with their governments and we met the Belgian ambassador before Christmas,' he added.

Mr Forsyth said he also hoped to bypass any complications thrown up by Britain's departure from the European Union.

'This path would allow kids to take everything in and commemorate the First World War in their own time surrounded by beautiful and thoughtful scenery,' he said.

Gillespie's letter was found by Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham. Writing in the Sunday Times, Sir Anthony said: 'Imagine walking up over a hill in the late summer to see how close the battle lines were.'

The memorial route would run from Pfetterhouse on the Franco-Swiss border to Nieuwpoort on the Belgian coast.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5406851/450-mile-walkway-Western-remember-war.html
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