When I first started reading about the World Wars, one event that had a great impact on me was the story of Allied troops facing poison gas attacks. For me, therefore, today Y is for Ypres, the scene of many a battle in Belgium during the First World War. There were heavy casualties on both sides. Amongst the thousands who were wounded here was a Corporal in the German Army, a man called Adolf Hitler who was awarded the Iron Cross for rescuing a wounded comrade. Battles were won and lost as the two sides jockeyed for control of the terrain around Ypres. The last shell fell on Ypres in October 1918. It is estimated that in the area around Ypres over 1,700,000 soldiers on both sides were killed or wounded apart from an uncounted number of civilians.