Leicester

WW1 missing Ypres bells on show ahead of centenary

The bells on their cradle Image copyright David Potter
Image caption The project has cost a total of around £250,000

Bells which will be rung to remember tens of thousands of British and Commonwealth servicemen killed near a Belgian town are to go on show.

Three huge battles were fought around Ypres in World War One but it was never captured by the Germans.

The town's St George's Memorial Church was built to honour the dead but funds ran out before bells were fitted.

New bells made in Loughborough will now leave for Ypres on 22 August carried by two WW1 era lorries.

John Taylor & Co, the firm which made them, is opening its doors for one day at 10:30 BST before the bells are transported.

Image copyright David Potter
Image caption The bells will finally be rung in St George's Memorial Church in October

Ypres, one of the few parts of Belgium to be held be the allies, was the scene for three battles in 1914, 1915 and 1917.

The third battle, known as Passchendaele, alone cost the allies roughly 250,000 casualties, with nearly 80,000 dead.

St George's was built in 1927 but the bell tower has stood empty since.

Andrew Wilby, chairman of John Taylor & Co, said: "We have been making memorial bells since the end of the war so this represents the continuation of a long tradition.

"We are very pleased to finally complete this church in time for the centenary, and each of these bells in uniquely marked with a poppy."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Passchendaele is remembered for some of the worst fighting conditions of the war

They will be on display at the Dorset Steam Fair over the August Bank Holiday before participating in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate on 30 August.

After installation in St Georges Church, they will ring out for the first time there at a special service to mark the completion of the project on 22nd October.

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