Artist's impression of the Poppy Cenotaph - blacksmiths will gather in Ypres in September 2016 to complete the monument. It will then be inaugurated on a permanent site next to the German War Cemetery in Langemark on Armistice Day 2016 (Photo courtesy of Andrew Rowe)

Blacksmiths to create WW1 Poppy Cenotaph in Flanders

Posted on on 22 May 2016
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Blacksmiths and farriers from around the world are working on a project to create a new First World War Cenotaph in Flanders.

A steel sheet, standing seven metres high, will bear the image of a single Flanders poppy. 'Planted' around it will be a field of 2,016 steel poppies, commemorating people on all sides of the conflict, those who died and those whose lives were affected by WW1.

'War Horse' author Michael Morpurgo is backing a campaign to raise £80,000 (€103,000) needed to complete the project. 

Once finished, the steel cenotaph will be installed adjacent to the German War Cemetery in Langemark-Poelkapelle. 

It will serve as a reminder of the essential role of blacksmiths and farriers in the 1914-18 war effort.


Equipment had to be maintained and repaired, as well as millions of horses shoed, to keep the armies of all sides on the move.

An international gathering of blacksmiths will be held in Ypres from September 1st-6th 2016 to complete the cenotaph.

It will occupy a temporary site in the Grote Markt (Market Square), allowing the poppies to be installed during six days of public events demonstrating the craft of blacksmithing and farriery.

There will be live shoeing demonstrations, a children’s forging area, lectures and an exhibition*.

Many of the steel poppies (above) will have been produced by blacksmiths in their own workshops during 2015/6 but the remainder will be made at the Ypres 2016 event.

A Belgian engineering company, LVD, is manufacturing the main structure, using steel donated by Sigma, a German steel firm. 

Surrounding the cenotaph and poppies will be 25 individually designed panels, designed by Master Blacksmiths, depicting interpretations of the Great War.

After completion, the entire memorial will be installed on a landscaped site alongside the German Cemetery at Langemark, donated by the local community.

It will be inaugurated on Armistice Day, November 11th, 2016.


More than £100,000 has already been raised for the project but a further £80,000 is still needed

Speaking in support of the appeal, 'War Horse' author Michael Morpurgo said: This truly is a unique project, and it is important because it’s the first Cenotaph for everyone in a time when we understand peace is so important.”

 “I would ask you to open your hearts and your pockets and help all you can to enable this extraordinary project to happen.”

Project manager Eira Rowe said: "A crowd funding campaign is under way and to support the fundraising the beautifully handcrafted steel poppies are available to buy through the project website and they can also be sponsored in memory of a loved one.

For full details details see the Ypres 2016 International Blacksmithing Event website.

*The international exhibition of contemporary forged metal design embraces the theme of Transition surrounding the events of the Great War. After Ypres, it will go on tour, arriving in London in 2018 for the Centenary of the Armistice. 

Source: Ypres 2016  

Images courtesy of Andrew Rowe 

Posted by: CN Editorial Team