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Dublin: 3°C Saturday 27 November 2021

Poignant 1914 newspaper turns Irish clocks back to WWI

The Flanders Fields told the tale of Irish people’s involvement in the Great War.

Visit Flanders Image 5 w caption v2 Source: Picasa

IF YOU WERE at Heuston Station in Dublin yesterday, you might have thought for a moment that time had been turned back.

Dressed in period clothes, newspaper boys were giving out copies of the Flanders Fields Post.

Inspired by The Wipers Times, the original trench newspaper from the Great War, the Flanders Fields Post was published to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the war.

It was also an unusual tourism guide for the Flanders region.

What was inside

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Inside, readers could find a guide to Flanders Fields and WWI history.

The newspaper was produced by VisitFlanders, the official tourism agency for Flanders and Brussels.

Around 260,000 Irish soldiers served in the British Army during WWI, with nearly a quarter of them dying in service.

The Irish edition included a piece on Irish soldier and poet, Francis Ledwidge, who died in Flanders, and the tragic story of Major Willie Redmond (brother of John Redmond), who died at the Battle of Messines in 1917.

It also told the tale of Francis Browne SJ, who survived the sinking of the Titanic and was a WWI veteran. His photographs of the time were discovered in the basement of the Irish Jesuit Provincial’s House a quarter of a century after his death.

Visit Flanders Image 2 w caption v2 Source: Picasa

Nick Roberts, who has provided stories for the Flanders Fields Post, is the grandson of Captain F J Roberts who produced The Wipers Times with Lieutenant J H Pearson for frontline soldiers.

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They had found a disused printing press in Ypres and distributed papers with poems, satirical in-jokes and more.

“To think that while being under enemy fire, my grandfather and other soldiers were able to produce the Wipers Times is quite incredible,” said Nick Roberts.

Inside the newspapers handed out yesterday was also a guide to visiting Flanders’ fields.

Andrew Daines, Director of VisitFlanders UK and Ireland, said:

Through this newspaper, we invite people to visit, to reflect, to remember and to learn from this monumental period in history.

For more information on the unique campaign, visit www.flandersfields1418.com, the Facebook site or Twitter.

Read: The story of my great grandfather who died in WWI: Patrick Carroll, Gunner 100938>

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