New app guides people visiting World War One sites in Ypres
Visitors to Flanders can now navigate First World War sites with a new CultureKey app created by Imagineear. The app allows visitors to take walking or driving tours of some of the Great War’s most significant sites in and around the town of Ypres, famously known as Wipers by the British troops during the war.
2014 is the centenary of the start of the First World War. As well as commemorations and events, the centenary has also prompted a huge growth in information available about the War. Now anyone can scroll through 300,000 pages of soldiers’ diaries, search through 1.7 million war grave records and browse dedicated websites crammed with facts and images. This means that people can gain a better understanding of the Great War than ever before, but the quantity of information can also be overwhelming.
A huge number of visitors are expected to make a pilgrimage to Flanders this year. They will be navigating not only all of this information, but also be making their way around an area densely packed with history. The ‘Ypres WWI Battlefield & City Tour’ app provides clearly set-out tours. Stories can be read or listened to, narrated by a professional voice artist. It means that visitors can really immerse themselves in the sites, without the distractions of leafing through maps or keeping up with a tour group.
At a stop on the app near the Canadian Memorial at Vancouver Corner, the harrowing story of the first gas attack in the War is told. French soldiers noticed a yellowish-greenish cloud floating towards them and fled, breaking the line defending the area from the Germans. Despite having no gas masks, Canadian soldiers rushed in to plug the gap. 2,000 of them died doing so. As news of the attack spread, an anxious father sent his young soldier son a flannel helmet to try to protect him. Another young officer who experienced the attacks would go on to write one of the most famous poems of the First World War: Dulce et Decorum est. These stories and accounts are woven together for visitors at the stop in the guide as they look at the fields where this first gas attack took place.
Andrew Nugée, Founder and Chief Executive of Imagineear, said: “We all have a connection to the First World War, whether it is through family ties or the familiar memorials in our towns and cities. The events which took place in Ypres are among the most important and shocking of the war, and have been discussed and deliberated over for a century. In the noise, we can sometimes lose the focus on the personal stories that were the daily experience of soldiers then, as on the front line today. This app hopefully provides visitors a way of reconnecting with headline facts and emotive stories from Ypres, while giving them enough space to experience the poignancy of standing on the soil where these shattering events took place.”
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About Imagineear Ltd
Imagineear is a leading provider of multimedia content and technology solutions. We design and produce multilingual content, which we often integrate with existing archive materials, as well as live audio. We publish to smartphones, and to smart devices on-site, working with sports venues, cultural sites and the healthcare sector. In London and Amsterdam we have experienced content, hardware, software and data solution teams. Our goal is to help our clients deliver exceptional value and memorable experiences to their visitors, both on- and off-site. www.imagineear.com