This is a new edition of Major and Mrs. Holt’s book, re-issued for the 2018 Centenary of the end of the Great War. It’s in full colour and is a handy pocket size (if you have a large pocket), but is soft-backed and easy to pop into a daysack when touring in the area of Ypres. Unusually for a guidebook, it contains things to see as you approach the area from the coast. There are itineraries for Day Trips, with detailed descriptions of routes, GPS co-ordinates, interesting places to see and good places to stay, to eat, to park, and to walk. In addition to the three Itineraries, there are recommended extra visits, of varying durations, but it is always clear which would extend the time beyond a day trip.
- Major and Mrs T Holt
The information includes historical background to the battles of Ypres, poems from the time, notes about cemeteries, memorials, battlefields, bunkers, actions, mines and most of all the men who fought across this patch of Flanders mud. There are maps (including a proper separate fold-out Battlefield Map), photographs, snippets of information, and the routes look to be easy to follow, both in the car and on foot where needed. There are some words of advice about rough ground which seem a bit over-cautious, but I guess there are people who overestimate their own capabilities and the advice may prevent them getting into trouble. There is also useful information about bunkers, tunnels, etc. which are on private land, and only open to the public on request; the average battlefield tourist may well miss these places, and the book has opened my eyes to all that is available.
In short it is a complete guide and will be invaluable when visiting the area (which I shall be doing in November 2018, to celebrate a milestone birthday and to visit places in the Salient which I haven’t seen on previous trips). I am so glad I reviewed it, as I shall see and understand a lot more having it with me on the trip.
Major & Mrs Holt's Definitive Battlefield Guide to Ypres Salient & Passchendaele
I shall also investigate Major and Mrs. Holt’s other Battlefield Guides for trips to other areas of the Western Front. I still hope to find out more about Etaples, where my paternal grandfather spent some time. Maybe their guide to that area will be a good starting point!