IT HAS been brought to our thoughts in just over a week, the stark reality of the horrors of the First World War; in particular the battles of Passchendaele and Ypres.

Although we hear so many stories of the conflicts that took place, I was moved by the fact that so many soldiers perished by drowning in the mud and water at Flanders and the fact that their bodies were never recovered.

I have researched the life of Lt Col John McCrae who wrote the memorable war poem 'In Flanders Field,' written on a page torn from his dispatch book during a lull in the fighting during the second battle of Ypres. 

John McCrae died of pneumonia, January 28,1918, while on active duty; I wonder if the contributory factor to his death was the weather conditions he endured during his service at Ypres, as yet I have to find an answer to this.

The second battle of Ypres, fought from April 22 to May 25, 1915, was the first mass use of poison gas by the Germans.

Chesterton Park