This film is part of Free

King's Visit to Belgium

Moving scenes of wartime devastation in the historic Belgian city of Ypres.

Non-Fiction 1914 5 mins Silent


These moving scenes of war-shattered buildings were filmed shortly after the German Army tried to capture beautiful Ypres, then destroy it by shelling. Thankfully, the city survived, but the damage was profound. Standing proudly and solemnly among the ruins of the historic Cloth Hall, King George V and Belgium's King Albert review the troops before they head for an uncertain fate in the trenches.

The German Army's bombardment of Ypres continued relentlessly in the months and years after December 1914, when these scenes were filmed. By 1918 almost all the buildings that made up the complex of the Cloth Hall had been completely destroyed, with only a small part of the belfry tower walls of the Town Hall remaining. Since the end of the war, these iconic gothic-style buildings have been completely reconstructed.