Understanding the Ypres Salient

An Illuminating Battlefield Guide

Steven Heys, Thomas Scotland

This work aims to provide the reader with a clear understanding of what happened in the Ypres salient between 1914 and 1918. It sets out to transport the visitor around sites of importance for the First, Second and Third Battles of Ypres - and in so doing, to bring the battlefield to life. It will take you to the Kruiseke Crossroads and Gheluvelt i
Date Published :
August 2017
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
49 colour maps, 147 colour photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781911512509
Pages : 296
Dimensions : 8.25 X 5.75 inches
In stock


This work aims to provide the reader with a clear understanding of what happened in Ypres Salient between 1914 and 1918. It sets out to transport the visitor around sites of importance for the First, Second and Third Battle of Ypres, and in so doing to bring the battlefield to life. It will augment existing guidebooks by providing a unique new dimension without listing memorials and cemeteries. It doesn`t matter whether you are in your armchair, on foot, on a bicycle, or in a car, this book will effortlessly transport you to Ypres Salient, where you will be able to visualise what happened. It will take you to Kruiseke Crossroads and Gheluvelt in late October 1914, where tired remnants of the British Expeditionary Force fought desperately to prevent the Germans from breaking through to Ypres. It will lead you to the St Julien-Poelcappelle road on 22 April 1915 where Canadian soldiers near the front line formed a defensive flank after a chlorine gas attack had engulfed adjacent French colonial troops, killing many, while the survivors fled to the rear. You will visit Gravenstafel Ridge, where the Canadians were involved in bitter fighting two days later. You will go to locations throughout the Salient, which will help you to understand the four stages of the Second Battle of Ypres and the eight major phases of the Third Battle of Ypres where British, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian divisions all fought at different times. Eighteen concise chapters will focus on aspects of particular battles, explaining troop movements and strategy. Each chapter is accompanied by many maps based on those in the Official History, which have been painstakingly designed to provide clarity, while colour photographs taken by the authors in the course of many visits to Ypres Salient will help the visitor to understand important points made in the text. After reading this book you should be able to stand at any location within Ypres salient and be able to work out what happened there throughout four years of war. You will also be able to conjure up a picture in your mind of events which took place more than 100 years ago as though they were happening in front of you

About The Author

Steve graduated in Medicine from the University of Aberdeen and is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons in England, Edinburgh and Glasgow and currently Dean of the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition at the University of Aberdeen. His surgical specialty is breast cancer surgery and he has research interests in the role of nutrition in the causation of cancer, and has responsibilities for medical education both locally and nationally.He has published more than 200 scientific papers and written many book chapters on different aspects of surgery and played many national and international roles in surgery and the provision of surgical services. His interest in the Great War was sparked by the stories of the Accrington pals and the Lancashire Fusiliers, by his time as a member of the RAMC (V), serving for six years in the 51st Highland Brigade, and by Tom’s famous cycling tours around the Western Front where he has the dual role of bicycle mechanic, and because he is a keen bagpipe player, has been appointed as Piper to the tours! He is co-author of three books “War Surgery 1914-1918”, “Wars, Pestilence and the Surgeon`s Blade” and “Understanding the Somme 1916-An Illuminating Battlefield Guide”.'

Born in St. Andrews and brought up in the East Neuk of Fife, Tom was educated at Waid Academy in Anstruther. He graduated in Medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1971, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1975. He developed his interest in the Great War whilst a student, when there were still many veterans alive. He trained in orthopaedic surgery in Aberdeen, and after spending a year as a Fellow in the University of Toronto, returned to take up the position of Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon with Grampian Health Board and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen. His particular interests were knee surgery, paediatric orthopaedics and tumour surgery, and for three years he was lead clinician for the Scottish Sarcoma Managed Clinical Network. Over the years he has been a frequent visitor to the Western Front and since retiring from the National Health Service in 2007 has kept in touch with former colleagues by leading cycling expeditions to the Western Front. He is co-author of three books, “War Surgery 1914-1918”, “Wars, Pestilence and the Surgeon`s Blade”, an account of the evolution of British military surgery in the 19th century, and “Understanding the Somme 1916- An illuminating Battlefield Guide.”


“Many new tourists will enjoy using it; many more experienced hands will like the photographs and the condensed history.”

- The Long, Long Trail

“This amazingly detailed book covering four years of fighting in Ypres Salient is both an aide memoir and a battlefield guide, its latter purpose being both comprehensive and novel in its approach. The authors have painstakingly researched and recreated many of the battles, and the literature of Ypres is the richer for their stirling efforts.”

- Books Monthly

“ … Supported by exceptionally clear sketch maps and annotated modern annotated panoramic colour photographs the guide takes the reader by the hand through the battlefields of concern … True to the title this guide will illuminate the battlefields of Ypres for the reader and novice battlefield visitor.”

- Bulletin of the Military Historical Society

“An ideal on-site travel guide and an impressively informative history of events, "Understanding the Ypres Salient: An Illuminating Battlefield Guide" is an indispensable reference and an invaluable contribution to the growing library of World War I literature that is very highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library 20th Century Military History collections.”

- Midwest Book Review, November 2017

“ … as a concise, easy-to-use and informative guide I can happily recommend this to the generalist visitor to Ypres it works very well. I shall certainly take it on my next visit.”

- WFA Trench Lines

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