The rules governing the size, positioning and so on of the major elements of military cemeteries were carefully laid down. The ‘cross of sacrifice’ built over this bunker is unique in that it stands on a raised platform. Of course it needs to because of the German bunker below. Why was this basic rule ‘broken’?

Bunkers such as these are difficult and expensive to remove which is why there are still so many left, often in cemeteries – there are two in Tyne Cot.

Such bunkers also provide a visual connection with the war, which the artfully designed cemeteries do not, so there is a reason for ‘preserving’ them.

But what is the case for building what is in effect a victor’s monument over the bunker of the ‘defeated’ enemy?

There is a long tradition of victorious nations using their enemy’s possessions as victory monuments. The large statue of Achilles in London, for example, was erected by the women of Britain in gratitude to the Duke of Wellington and is made from smelted French cannons.

Here building over the bunker is an exercise of drawing attention to it. Why else would a small portion be left deliberately exposed?

Tyne Cot cemetery as it was shortly after the war - note the German bunker over which a 'cross of sacrifice' was later built.       :: more >

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Tyne Cot

Even this early stage of the cemetery's development already hides the grim reality of burials and re-burials during the war.