"it had become part of one's experience, at second hand, like the mud of Flanders and the flies of Mesopotamia"
The mud of Passchendaele (1917)
Public DomainThe mud of Passchendaele (1917) - Credit: William Rider-Rider - Canada Dept. of National Defence

Charles Ryder was of that generation that did not fight in the First World War but would have heard first-hand accounts of its horrors.


Historically, Flanders  was a geographical area which included land in Northern France, Belgium and Holland. During the First World War, battles fought in this area –notably the battles of Ypres, Passchendaele and the Somme – were known as the battles of Flanders Fields.


Mesopotamia is the area situated between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates; it corresponds broadly to present day Iraq, with parts of Syria, Turkey and Iran. The Mesopotamian campaign of the First World War was fought in the Middle East between British Empire troops (mainly Indians) and troops drawn mainly from the Ottoman Empire.




Map of Mesopotamia (with German place names)
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMap of Mesopotamia (with German place names) - Credit: NordNordWest, Wikimedia Commons