100 years The Wipers Times
The most celebrated trench newspaper of the First World War emerged early 1916 from the ruins of Ypres (“Wipers”), Flanders Fields. Fizzing with satirical humour, over its 23 issues, The Wipers Times vividly brought to life the human side of the front line. It would turn out to have immeasurable value for the morale of the soldiers.
Today, 100 years after the first edition, The Wipers Times remains an extraordinary testament of the resilience of humanity in the most traumatic circumstances. To mark the occasion, Visit Flanders released short film clips featuring Ian Hislop (producer of the 2013 BBC drama “The Wipers Times”) and Nick Roberts (grandson of Captain Fred Roberts, editor of the original “The Wipers Times”).
The Road to the battlefield
The Menin Road had a special significance for the troops: it was the road that would lead thousands of soldiers to the part of the Front called the Ypres Salient - many destined never to return- as mentioned in The Wipers Times. And so the Menin Gate became the chosen site for one of the grandest and most haunting memorials of the Great War. Since 1928, buglars from the Last Post Association have paid their simple, yet moving, daily tribute to the Fallen beneath the impressive monument.
Join the Last Post, every night at 8pm.
Ypres or Wipers?
The soldiers of the 12th batallion of the Sherwoord Foresters named their newspaper The Wipers Times, after the city they were located in: Ypres. The paper changed its name as the Sherwood Foresters relocated, but always bore reference to the orginal name.
By the end of the war the small medieval town was completely destructed. It was said that a soldier on horseback could see from one side of town, to the other. Today Ypres has been rebuilt, with the centre around the Cloth Hall being restored to its formal medieval glory.