Issuu on Google+

www.tourismflandersfields.be www.tourismflandersfields.be for Ypres for Ypres & Westhoek & Westhoek GroteGrote Markt Markt 34 34 89008900 IeperIeper T. 0032(0)-57 T. 0032(0)-57 23 92 2320 92 20 toerisme@ieper.be toerisme@ieper.be www.visitypres.be www.visitypres.be

• LO-RENINGE • LO-RENINGE

Markt Markt 17a,17a, Lauka Lauka 86478647 Lo-Reninge Lo-Reninge T. 0032(0)-58 T. 0032(0)-58 28 91 2866 91 66 info@lauka.be info@lauka.be www.lauka.be www.lauka.be

• MESEN • MESEN • ALVERINGEM • ALVERINGEM Markt Markt 22, 8957 22, 8957 Mesen Mesen Sint Sint Rijkersstraat Rijkersstraat 19 19 T. 0032(0)-57 T. 0032(0)-57 22 17 2214 17 14 86908690 Alveringem Alveringem info@mesen.be info@mesen.be T. 0032(0)-58 T. 0032(0)-58 28 88 2881 88 81 www.mesen.be www.mesen.be toerisme.cultuur@alveringem.be toerisme.cultuur@alveringem.be • POPERINGE • POPERINGE www.alveringem.be www.alveringem.be GroteGrote Markt Markt 1, 8970 1, 8970 Poperinge Poperinge • DIKSMUIDE • DIKSMUIDE T. 0032(0)-57 T. 0032(0)-57 34 66 3476-77 66 76-77 GroteGrote Markt Markt 28 28 toerisme@poperinge.be toerisme@poperinge.be 86008600 Diksmuide Diksmuide www.toerismepoperinge.be www.toerismepoperinge.be T. 0032(0)-51 T. 0032(0)-51 51 91 5146 91 46 • STADEN • STADEN toerisme@stad.diksmuide.be toerisme@stad.diksmuide.be Marktplaats Marktplaats 2, 8840 2, 8840 Staden Staden www.diksmuide.be www.diksmuide.be T. 0032(0)-51 T. 0032(0)-51 70 82 7000 82 00 • HEUVELLAND • HEUVELLAND toerisme@staden.be toerisme@staden.be Sint-Laurentiusplein Sint-Laurentiusplein 1 1 www.staden.be www.staden.be 89508950 Kemmel Kemmel • VEURNE • VEURNE T. 0032(0)-57 T. 0032(0)-57 45 04 4555 04 55 GroteGrote Markt Markt 29, 29, toerisme@heuvelland.be toerisme@heuvelland.be 86308630 Veurne Veurne www.heuvelland.be www.heuvelland.be T. 0032(0)-58 T. 0032(0)-58 33 55 3331 55 31 • HOOGLEDE • HOOGLEDE infotoerisme@veurne.be infotoerisme@veurne.be Marktplaats Marktplaats 1, 8830 1, 8830 Hooglede Hooglede www.veurne.be www.veurne.be T. 0032(0)-51 T. 0032(0)-51 20 30 2030 30 30 • VVV • VVV VEURNEVEURNEAMBACHT AMBACHT toerisme@hooglede.be toerisme@hooglede.be HuisHuis de Bryarde de Bryarde 12 12 www.hooglede.be www.hooglede.be 86308630 Beauvoorde Beauvoorde (Veurne) (Veurne) • HOUTHULST • HOUTHULST T. 0032(0)-58 T. 0032(0)-58 29 92 2929 92 29 Markt Markt 17, 8650 17, 8650 Houthulst Houthulst • VLETEREN • VLETEREN T. 0032(0)-51 T. 0032(0)-51 46 08 4694 08 94 Kasteelstraat Kasteelstraat 39 39 toerisme@houthulst.be toerisme@houthulst.be 86408640 Vleteren Vleteren www.houthulst.be www.houthulst.be T. 0032(0)-57 T. 0032(0)-57 40 00 4099 00 99 • KOEKELARE toerisme@vleteren.be toerisme@vleteren.be I • KOEKELARE Sint-Maartensplein Sint-Maartensplein 15B 15B www.vleteren.be www.vleteren.be 86808680 Koekelare Koekelare • WERVIK • WERVIK T. 0032(0)-51 T. 0032(0)-51 58 92 5801 92 01 Koestraat Koestraat 63, 8940 63, 8940 Wervik Wervik diensttoerisme@koekelare.be diensttoerisme@koekelare.be T. 0032(0)-56 T. 0032(0)-56 95 24 9525 24 25 www.koekelare.be www.koekelare.be toerisme@wervik.be toerisme@wervik.be • KORTEMARK • KORTEMARK http://toerisme.wervik.be http://toerisme.wervik.be Torhoutstraat Torhoutstraat 9 9 • ZONNEBEKE • ZONNEBEKE 86108610 Werken Werken (Kortemark) (Kortemark) Ieperstraat Ieperstraat 7A 7A T. 0032(0)-51 T. 0032(0)-51 56 61 5608 61 08 89808980 Zonnebeke Zonnebeke T. 0032(0)-51 T. 0032(0)-51 57 09 5715 09 15 T. 0032(0)-51 T. 0032(0)-51 77 04 7741 04 41 toerisme@kortemark.be toerisme@kortemark.be toerisme@zonnebeke.be toerisme@zonnebeke.be www.kortemark.be www.kortemark.be www.zonnebeke.be www.zonnebeke.be • LANGEMARK-POELKAPELLE • LANGEMARK-POELKAPELLE • NIEUWPOORT • NIEUWPOORT Kasteelstraat Kasteelstraat 1 1 Marktplein Marktplein 7, 8620 7, 8620 Nieuwpoort Nieuwpoort 89208920 Langemark Langemark T. 0032(0)-58 T. 0032(0)-58 22 44 2244 44 44 T. 0032(0)-57 T. 0032(0)-57 49 09 4941 09 41 info@nieuwpoort.be info@nieuwpoort.be toerisme@langemark-poelkapelle.be toerisme@langemark-poelkapelle.be www.nieuwpoort.be www.nieuwpoort.be www.langemark-poelkapelle.be www.langemark-poelkapelle.be

The The Flanders Flanders Fields Fields Countr Countr y y

The TheFlanders FlandersFields Fields Country Country&& The TheGreat GreatWar War The Flanders Fields Country & The Great War The Flanders Fields Country & The Great War

• VISITORS • VISITORS CENTRE CENTRE

Westhoek Westhoek Info:Info: Koning Koning Albert Albert I-laan I-laan 120,120, B-8200 B-8200 Brugge Brugge T. 0032(0)-50 T. 0032(0)-50 30 55 30 00 55 00 toerismewesthoek@westtoer.be toerismewesthoek@westtoer.be www.tourismflandersfields.be www.tourismflandersfields.be

CAFÉS CAFÉS RESTAURANTS RESTAURANTS WALKING WALKING CYCLING CYCLING ROUTES ROUTES EVENTS EVENTS GASTRONOMY GASTRONOMY MUSEUMS MUSEUMS CEMETERIES CEMETERIES ROUTES ROUTES SITES SITES MONUMENTS MONUMENTS GREAT GREAT WAR WAR MEMORIES MEMORIES


OOSTENDE ’THE GREAT WAR’ IN THE FLANDERS FIELDS COUNTRY

Sas Slijke

Mariakerke

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Fields Country - Introduction ................................................. p. 1 Tips Westhoek ........................................................................................................... p. 4 Road map ................................................................................................................... p. 6 Map of municipalities in the Westhoek ........................................................... p. 9

Konterdam

Raversijde

NOORDZEE

Middelkerke MIDDELKERKE Bad

Wilskerke Westende

Leffinge

Snaaskerk

Bad THE MUNICIPALITIES OF THE WESTHOEK .................................. p. 10 Slijpe Brug Alveringem .............................................................................................................. p. 11 Westende Slijpe Nieuwpoort Diksmuide ................................................................................................................ p. 11 Lombardsijde aan zee Heuvelland ............................................................................................................... p. 13 Oostduinkerke E40 Zevekote 3 IJzer Sint-Joris aan zee Moerd Hooglede .................................................................................................................. p. 14 St. Pieters NIEUWPOORT Kapelle Moere Koksijde Houthulst ................................................................................................................. p. 14 Oostduinkerke Mannekensvere aan zee rt Spermalie poo Zande St.-Idesbald Ieper (Ypres) .......................................................................................................... p. 15 Ramskapelle ieuw Schore rne-N Veu Koekelare ................................................................................................................. p. 17 KOKSIJDE DE PANNE Wulpen Kruishoek Leke Schoorbakke Kortemark ............................................................................................................... p. 18 KOEK N35 Mokker Langemark-Poelkapelle ..................................................................................... p. 19 Duinhoek Booitshoeke Stuivekenskerke Pervijze Keiem Lo-Reninge .............................................................................................................. p. 19 Bray-Dunes Adinkerke 13 Mesen (Messines) ................................................................................................. p. 20 Avekapelle kerque un D al De First and foremost, you are coming to our region to remember, Beerst VEURNE E40 Zuydcoote 21 Can Poperinge ................................................................................................................. p. Steenkerke Bove Ghyvelde to honour the memory of those who died. For this2breason, this Zoutenaaie Staden ....................................................................................................................... p. 22 Vladslo De Moeren Eggewaartskapelle brochure devotes considerable attention to the First World Veurne ....................................................................................................................... p. 22 Kaaskerke Hand Oostkerke za DIKSMUIDE War. But theBulskamp Flanders Fields Country - also known locally as Esen mevaart W 23 Vleteren .................................................................................................................... p.Leffrinckoucke Lampernisse l a na 2a rt It is a a a the Westhoek has more to offer than that. warm and K a p. 25 Wervik ....................................................................................................................... Oeren Téteghem Sint-Jakobs r ne atv Fortem Les Moëres Veu pg kapelle Wulveringem N35 Slo and friendly people. welcoming region, full Zonnebeke ............................................................................................................... p. 26 Uxem Vinkem of beautiful scenery Zarren Houtem Oudekapelle Nieuwe ALVERINGEM And as you will discover, the Westhoek is a great place for Driekapellen Woumen herberg The West Coast ...................................................................................................... p. 28

the Flanders Fields Country & the great War IJz

er

Lo

va

ar

t

EVENTS

............................................................................................ p. 38

Hoymille

.................................................................................................................. p. 52

Canal de

Doorntje Klerken Sint-Rijkers visitors and Izenberge holiday-makers of all kinds. Nieuwkapelle The last veteran of the Great War, Harry Patch (+2009), Leisele Spaarbekken Hoogstade HOU HONDSCHOOTE De Blankaart once said during a visit to the old LO-RENINGE front: ”Always remember Gijverinkhove Jonkershove 14 Pollinkhove both sides of the line”. He was referring to the war, of course, IJzer as a whole! Noordschote Killem Killem but you can apply his comment to our region

la Basse

Colme

t

TOURIST ROUTES

.................................................................................... p. 32

Lovaar

BEER & BREWERIES

Warhem

al

eek

kana

melb

IJzer

Kem

WAR AND PEACE IN THE WESTHOEK ............................................... p. 54 Killem-Linde 5 Merkem Reninge Beginning ..................................................................................................... p. 56 Beveren Stavele St. Rexpoede Socx Jan sbe Quaëdypre ■ Four years of war ............................................................................................. p. 62 ek Les 5 Chemins VLETEREN Westvleteren We r e West More than just war z Oostvleteren Bikschote ■ The front ............................................................................................................... p. 73 Cappel IJ RoesbruggeHaringe 11 Oost Luzerne ■ Unoccupied Belgium ....................................................................................... N8 Cappel LANGEMARKp. 99 Bissezeele P Krombeke Wylder A green And pleAsAntZuidschote lAnd POELKAPELLE ■ The occupied territory .................................................................................. p.r109 e Haringe Jz Woesten I Canadien ■ Belgian war cemeteries ............................................................................... p. 114 Boezinge Bambecque Proven The Westhoek district of the Flandersar Fields Country is more than Sint-Juliaan Esquelbecq ■ Commonwealth war cemeteries ............................................................... p. 117 Herzeele t 6 Elverdingelandscape, justHoutkerque an old battlefield. Nowadays, it offers a pleasing 8 Zegerscappel ■ French war cemeteries ................................................................................ p. 122 ZONN WORMHOUT stretching from the flat polders of the coastal plain to the green hills IEPER Brielen ■ German war cemeteries .............................................................................. p. 123 along the French Sint-Jan-ter border. Nature is all around, making the region an Biezen POPERINGE V ■ Memories .......................................................................................................... p. 125 Sint-Jan Potyze Ledringhem 7a Vlamertinge Brandhoek and networks make ideal place toWatou walk or cycle. Signposted routes ■ 14-18 Tourist routes ..................................................................................... p. 127 Droogland 1 N38 and delightful Winnezeele it easy to find your way around. Authentic villages Kruisstraat Oudezeele Zillebeekse ek lbe towns will charm anyone with a sense of history or a love of peace vijver Zillebeke ek me e m e rb e K t e and A25 quiet. Zermezeele Vl 7b Ouderdom Dikkebus 10 ■ The

Iep

erl

P o pe r i n g e v

ee

a

WD/3029/2012/03

Abele

Zwarte Lee

ote

COLOPHON Hardifort RESPONSABLE EDITOR: STEFAAN GHEYSEN - WESTTOER CHIEF EDITORS: JOHAN MARTIN, VALÉRIE HEYMAN - WESTTOER CASSEL TEXT EDITORS: JOHAN MARTIN, FREDERIK DEMEYERE (P. 53), PIET CHIELENS (P. 86 - 88) TRANSLATION: IAN CONNERTY - IEPER Terdeghem PHOTOGHRAPHY: WESTTOER, TOURIST OFFICES WESTHOEK, D. DE KIEVITH, IFFM, IWMOxelaere Bavinchove LONDON, ERIC DEBEIR, B.AD, DAVID SAMYN, VALÉRIE HEYMAN Ste Marie Cappel SPECIAL THANKS TO MR. LEO VAN BERGEN AND MR. MENNO WIELINGA St. Sylvestre Cappel WE ALSO THANK THE IN FLANDERS FIELDS MUSEUM YPRES AND THE MEMORIAL MUSEUM Hondeghem PASSCHENDAELE 1917 ZONNEBEKE FOR THE SMALL PICTURES OF WAR RELICS IN THIS BROCHURE. Staple MAPS & ILLUSTRATIONS: POL BONDUELLE - IPS-CREATION - POPERINGE LAY-OUT: PREPRESS: IPS-CREATION - POPERINGE - PH. 0032 57 33 88 79 PRINTED BY: VAN MAELE-VAN SEVENANT - BRUGGE HAZEBROUCK

N38

Voormezele

Gr

The Flanders Field Country & The Great War

CONTENTS

B Z

1

STEENVOORDE

Dikkebusse vijver

Reningelst Boeschepe

Godewaersvelde Eecke

Caestre

Monts des Cats

Westouter

De Klijte

Sint-Eloois

Hollebeke

Vierstraat

Wijtschate Berthen

Loker Loker Dranouter

St. Jans Cappel

4

Wulvergem

Flêtre Meteren

BAILLEUL

H

Oosttaverne

HEUVELLAND Kemmel

C

MESEN

12

Douve

Warneton

Lys

Nieuwkerke

Borre

Deulemo Strazeele

Ploegsteert

Merris

Frelinghien Outersteene

Nieppe Steenwerck

Lys

Houplines


3

Hundreds of cafés, restaurants and summer terraces will pleasantly surprise visitors. And the region is famous for its delicious, locallybrewed beers! Gastronomy in the Westhoek can range from a tasty local speciality, right through to star-quality cooking in a top restaurant. Wherever you go you will be pampered and spoilt, by a people famous for their warm hospitality. And there is no problem about where to stay: the region has a wide range of hotels, bed & breakfasts, holiday homes and camping sites.

English spoken As you probably know… almost everyone here speaks your language. True, some speak it better than others, but everybody is prepared to give it a try! In Flanders the native tongue is Flemish - also referred to as Dutch. There are some minor differences between Flemish and Dutch, a bit like the difference between the English spoken in Britain and the English spoken in America. And you will be amazed how many other common ties our region has with your country. Hopefully, you will discover them all during your stay in the Flanders Fields Country. You are certainly more than welcome. This brochure will offer you a first brief introduction to all these many different aspects of the Flanders Fields Country.

The Great War Sadly, it is undeniable that the region was badly scarred by the First World War. The reminders are everywhere to be seen. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were killed and many more wounded.The local people were forced to flee to the safety of neighbouring France or the United Kingdom. Many returned after the war, but the population never again reached pre-1914 levels. Even so, the ruined towns and villages were all rebuilt, and Ypres (now known as Ieper) rose like a Phoenix from its ashes: an almost perfect copy of the medieval city which had been destroyed during the fighting. Some people think that the new city is a lie: visitors who know nothing of the war can scarcely believe that this elegant ’old’ city is less than 100 years old! Fake or not, it took almost half a century - not to mention untold quantities of blood, sweat and tears - to restore Ypres to its former glory. However, there is no denying the reality of the hundreds of military cemeteries, monuments and war relics which dot the countryside around the city: terrible reminders which will guarantee that the memory of this tragic moment in human history can never be erased. This memory must be kept alive and cherished, not only to ensure that it never happens again, but also in honour of the sacrifice of so many young lives, lost in what some people now call a senseless war. The second part of the brochure is devoted to this subject. (See page 54)

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Field Country

2


4

The Flanders Field Country

WESTHOEKJES 10 TIPS

5

The Westhoek, pure enjoyment! There are many different ways to explore the Westhoek. You can make a day of it with the kids, go messing about with your friends or turn it into a romantic interlude with your ’significant other’. Whichever way you choose, we can offer you a series of tourist tips for along the way, guaranteed to satisfy bon-vivants, nature-lovers, sports fans and culture-vultures alike. Here are ten different ways to get the very best out of the Westhoek! By solex A solex is a modern moped: a bike with a two-stroke engine attached to the front wheel. You can still ride it like an ordinary bike, or you can turn on the engine when the going gets tough! It’s a great way to explore the countryside or follow one of the five pre-programmed routes. And to make sure you don’t get lost, the hire of the solex comes with a GPS. But remember! To ride a solex you need a valid driving license or a moped permit. More info: www.rentasolex.be

By pedal-power You can either bring your own bike or hire a quality two-wheeler from one of the many rental outlets in the region. For those who like the challenge of teamwork, tandems are also available! So too are bike trailers for your smallest kids. You can explore the cycling network to a route of your own choosing or else you can follow one of the many pre-programmed cycling circuits. For more bike tips, maps and details of the rental outlets: www.tourismflandersfields.be By covered wagon A ride in a traditional covered wagon is always a memorable experience. It is the perfect way to enjoy the pleasures of the countryside, with its winding roads and tinkling streams. And there are plenty of stops along the way, perhaps for a refreshing drink or a bite to eat, or else to visit a museum or play a traditional folk-game. You can’t beat it! More info: www.volkssportroute.be - 0032(0)-57 34 66 76 By boat Do you fancy steering a sun-boat, or maybe just going along for the ride? ’De Boot’ (The Boat) offers you a wide range of options, for

Best foot forward! The Westhoek can offer a number of excellent walking routes through pleasing but varied countryside: across fields, up hill, down dale, along the water… If you prefer to follow your own route, the walking network - with its system of interconnected junction points - is just the thing for you. And remember to take a look at the various walking packages on www.tourismflandersfields.be. By helicopter Everything looks different from the air - and the Westhoek is no exception! Take a trip in a helicopter and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the region. Helipromotions offers flights over the Flemish hills or along the battlefields and monuments of the First World War. More info: www.helipromotions.be and www.battlefields.be 0032(0)-51 50 56 56 By donkey Would you like to make the acquaintance of Pauline, Gertrude, Henri, François, Juliette and Charel? You can meet them all if you trot along for a donkey ride in the hills of Heuvelland! Our smallest visitors can make a supervised trip of between 6 and 15 km on the back of one of these gentle beasts of burden. More info: www.de-diligence.com 0032(0)-57 44 79 39 By pedal-car If your exploration of the Westhoek finally brings you to the seaside, why not take a spin along the promenade in a pedal-car? Most of the resorts on the West Coast have a wide variety of different types for hire. And if you prefer to stay in the Westhoek proper, you can always try your luck in Diksmuide. ’Buitenbeentje’ hires pedal cars which you can use to make various interesting visits (a horse milk dairy, the Oerbier brewery, etc.). More info: www.buitenbeentje.be - 0032(0)-495 57 62 47

THE FLANDERS FIELD COUNTRY

THE FLANDERS FIELD COUNTRY

By scooter Various accommodation outlets (guest rooms and hotels) have Vespas for hire, so that you can discover our region in style! These Italian scooters are currently very ’trendy’ - for people of all ages! For details of the accommodation outlets where scooters are available, please consult: www.tourismflandersfields.be In addition, you can also hire a scooter (one-seater or two-seater) in the town of Veurne. The crash-helmets allow two-way communication between the different riders. Once again, you can follow a preprogrammed route with the GPS provided. Or else you can just go off wandering on your own. More info: www.scootertoerisme.be - 0032(0)- 58 31 14 46

hours of fun both on the water or along the riverbank. More info: www.deboot.be - 0032(0)-475 21 43 20 A river cruise on the ’IJzerstar’ will allow you to discover the charming countryside between Diksmuide and Nieuwpoort in an original and relaxing manner. More info: www.seastar.be - 0032(0)-58 23 24 25 For nature-lovers, the highlight of their stay is an early morning spin on the calm waters of the Blankaert nature reserve in one of the electrically-driven ’whisper boats’ of Natuurpunt (a local nature group). Listen to the dawn-chorus and just enjoy all that pure nature! More info: www.otter.be - 0032(0)-51 54 59 48


Zee

OOSTENDE

6

Mariakerke

Meetkerke

Konterdam

Stalhille

N

Nieuwpoort aan zee

Leffinge

NIEUWPOORT Koksijde aan zee St.-Idesbald

Oostduinkerke

KOKSIJDE

DE PANNE

ie

Booitshoeke

KOEKELARE

t

Oeren

Wulveringem

p

Sint-Jakobs kapelle

rt

Hoogstade

Killem-Linde

Luzerne

The N

Boeschepe Terdeghem

England

e Vl N38

s etherland

STEENVOORDE CASSEL

Oxelaere

Ke

Ste Marie Cappel

Godewaersvelde Eecke

Caestre

Kruisstraat

De Klijte

Loker Loker Dranouter Dranouter

HEUVELLAND Kemmel

France

LEDEGEM

Geluveld

Comines Warneton

Lys

Wervicq-Sud

Frelinghien

Steenwerck

Lys

Houplines

Rekkem

Heule

QUESNOY sur deule

Bondues

5km

Lei

e

Marke

Aalbeke Rollegem

Bousbecque

Linselle LILLE PARIS 

0km

Nieppe

Lauwe

Bas Warneton

Deulemont

Outersteene

WEVELGEM

Halluin

Ploegsteert

Merris

ebeek

WERVIK

COMINES

Nieuwkerke

Strazeele

Geluw

Geluwe

MENEN

MESEN Douve

BAILLEUL

Zandvoorde

Houthem

Bissegem

GENT A19 KORTRIJK

Wulvergem

St. Jans Cappel

Gullegem

Moorsele

Oosttaverne

Borre

HAZEBROUCK

K

ek

Dadizele

Hollebeke

Wijtschate

Meteren

lebe

H

B

Sint-Eloois Winkel

Terhand

Sint-Eloois

Vierstraat

Flêtre

Staple

Beselare

Voormezele

Westouter

Berthen

Heu

Zillebeekse vijver Zillebeke

Zwarte Leen Dikkebusse vijver

LENDELEDE

RollegemKapelle

Keiberg Verloren Hoek

Potyze

Ouderdom Dikkebus

Reningelst

Belgium

St. Sylvestre Cappel

Hondeghem

Monts des Cats

ote

Abele

k

IEPER

Gr

A25

Hardifort

Bavinchove

ee

b ter

ZONNEBEKE

Sint-Jan

IZEGEM

MOORSLEDE

A19

N38 eek elb mm

INGEL Oekene

Beitem

Sint-Juliaan

Het Veld

Kachtem Emelgem

Vossemolen

Passendale

Canadien

Vlamertinge

Brandhoek

De Ruiter Zilverberg

Elverdinge

Watou

Manegem

Kuipendaarde

Rumbeke

Poelkapelle

ee

t

Winnezeele

Zermezeele

Westrozebeke

erl

Boezinge

Brielen

Droogland

Beveren

ROESELARE

Oostnieuwkerke

Iep

Woesten

POPERINGE

Sint-Jan-ter Biezen

Ledringhem Oudezeele

ek

LANGEMARKPOELKAPELLE

Zuidschote

Houtkerque

WORMHOUT

sbe

a

cappel

Jan

Bikschote

N8

ar

St.

l

Proven

Herzeele

Sleihage

Vijfwege

anaa

Haringe Bambecque

Esquelbecq

VLETEREN Oostvleteren

Krombeke

Wijnendale

Tasse

eek

Haringe

ARDOOIE

HOOGLEDE STADEN

Merkem

melb

er

Westvleteren

P o pe r i n g e v

IJz

er IJz Roesbrugge-

Oost Cappel

Wylder

Reninge Reninge

Stavele

TI

PITTEM

Koolskamp

Gits

Noordschote IJzerk

le

Beveren

Les 5 Chemins

West Cappel

Geite

Jonkershove

Kem

Quaëdypre

beek

HOUTHULST

Pollinkhove

IJzer

Ege

N32

Kapellehoek

Spaarbekken De Blankaart

LO-RENINGE

Gijverinkhove

Rexpoede

Zarren

Klerken

Zwevezele

Rijken

Haantje

Woumen

WIN

LICHTERVELDE

KORTEMARK

Werken Handzame

N35

Driekapellen Nieuwkapelle

Killem Killem

Socx

aart

Zarren

Oudekapelle

Sint-Rijkers

Leisele

Hoymille

Slo

tv ga

ALVERINGEM

Izenberge

HONDSCHOOTE

Warhem

Nieuwe herberg

Esen

rt aa

Scheewege Hille

del

Doorntje

Colme

DIKSMUIDE

zamev

Veldhoek Bredensweger

Lovaa

Basse nal de la

Fortem

Vinkem

Houtem

Hand

Lampernisse

ar

Les Moëres

Uxem

va

Veu

Kaaskerke

Oostkerke

Lo

Bulskamp aal

TORHOUT Edewalle

Vladslo

Eggewaartskapelle

Kan r ne

He Ruddervoorde

Wynendaele

Bovekerke

Zoutenaaie

Leffrinckoucke Téteghem

Beerst

Steenkerke

De Moeren

ICHTEGEM

Keiem

Avekapelle

VEURNE

E40

Ghyvelde

Veldegem

Geuzenbos

Mokker

Stuivekenskerke

er

ue unkerq

Sparappelhoek

Engel

Kruishoek

Waardamme

Aartrijke

Molendorp

Leke

Pervijze

Adinkerke

Eernegem

N33

Zande

Schoorbakke

Duinhoek

Bray-Dunes

De D

Ca

Ramskapelle

Wulpen

Moerdijk

Spermalie Schore

OOSTKAMP

IJz

Canal

e-N

Snellegem

Bekegem Loppem Heidelberg

Moere

Asse

Steenbrugge

ZEDELGEM

St. Pieters Kapelle

Mannekensvere

rt

Westkerke

Zevekote

N35

 CALAIS DUNKERQUE

Zuydcoote

rn Veu

oo uwp

Roksem

GISTEL

E40

Sint-Joris

JABBEKE Zerkegem

E40

Snaaskerke

Slijpe

Lombardsijde

IJzer

Oostduinkerke aan zee

Varsenare Sint-Michiels

OUDENBURG Ettelgem

Slijpe Brug

Westende

SintGENT  Andries BRUSSEL

E40

Man

The Flanders Field Country

Wilskerke Westende Bad

Zandvoorde

The Flanders Field Country

 BRUGGE OOSTENDE

Middelkerke MIDDELKERKE Bad

7 7Sint-Kruis

BRUGGE

Raversijde

north sea NOORDZEE

Houthave

Klemskerke

BREDENE

Sas Slijkens

10km

K


9

ContentS

municipalities

The Flanders Field Country

North sea Municipalities Alveringem..................................................................................... p. 11 Diksmuide....................................................................................... p. 11 Heuvelland..................................................................................... p. 13 Hooglede.......................................................................................... p. 14 Houthulst......................................................................................... p. 14 Ieper (Ypres)............................................................................... p. 15 Koekelare......................................................................................... p. 17 Kortemark...................................................................................... p. 18 Langemark-Poelkapelle..................................................... p. 19 Lo-Reninge..................................................................................... p. 19 Mesen (Messines).................................................................... p. 20 Poperinge......................................................................................... p. 21 Staden..................................................................................................p.22 Veurne................................................................................................ p. 22 Vleteren............................................................................................ p. 23 Wervik................................................................................................ p. 25 Zonnebeke...................................................................................... p. 26 The West Coast.......................................................................... p. 28

pag. 28

pag. 28 pag. 28

pag. 28 pag. 17 pag. 22 pag. 11

pag. 11

pag. 18

pag. 14

pag. 19 pag. 14 pag. 22

BEERS & BREWERIES.............................. p. 32 toUrist routes............................................... p. 38 events 2012............................................................... p. 52 the great war................................................... p. 54

pag. 19

pag. 23

pag. 26

pag. 21 pag. 15

Every care has been taken to ensure the utmost accuracy of all information published in this guide at the time of going to press. The publisher hereby expressly declines all liability for any errors that may have slipped into information such as addresses, phone numbers, opening hours and any consequences issuing therefrom. Š 2012 All rights reserved. Nothing contained in this publication may be reproduced, stored in automated data files, or made public in any way, shape or form, be it electronically, mechanically, by way of photocopies, recordings or any other manner, without the written and prior consent from the publisher. All texts and photographs remain the exclusive property of the publisher.

pag. 25

pag. 13

france

The Flanders Field Country

8

pag. 20


11

The municipalities of the Westhoek

Windmill - Alveringem

Each municipality consists of a central town or large village, surrounded by a number of smaller, satellite villages.

Alveringem Under the protective wing of ’mother’ Alveringem, nestle 8 charming villages, each prettier than the last. The River IJzer meanders gently through the now peaceful landscape. Nowhere is the meaninglessness of man-made boundaries more evident than here in Alveringem: if you are not careful, before you know it you will be across the border in neighbouring France! Alveringem is rightly proud of Brewery De Snoek. This old brewery was already providing ’refreshments’ to thirsty troops during the First World War. The restored malting house still contains the original copper vats which - thankfully - the invading Germans were unable to ’liberate’! ➜ Museum of Thirst: Malt & Brewing House De Snoek www.desnoek.be - infomuseum@desnoek.be T. 0032(0)-58 28 96 74 Fortem 40 in Alveringem ➜ Open Air Museum, Bachten de Kupe Open daily from 10.00 to 16.00 www.bachtendekupe.net T. 0032(0)-58 31 51 30 Sint-Mildredaplein 1b in Izenberge

Diksmuide Diksmuide owes its name and fame to the medieval cloth industry and its delicious butter. The town was reduced to rubble during the First World War. It was the scene of a famous battle in 1914 - the Battle of the Ijzer - when French and Belgian troops finally stopped the German advance, but at a dreadful price. The old town centre was rebuilt completely after the armistice. The famous IJzer Tower (with its museum) and the equally well-known Trench of Death (a preserved stretch of the old Belgian front line) are now the principal reminders of those terrible days. But there is more! Did you know... that a 16th century chronicle records that Archbishop Thomas Beckett (died 1170) once stayed in Diksmuide, during his period in exile from the wrath of King Henry II of England.Tradition says

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Field Country

10


13

Beguinage in Diksmuide

Heuvelland: Bayernwald

that in gratitude he donated a chalice and a chasuble to the parish, and he was believed to have lodged in the corner house of the beguinage, where the Kleine Dijk (Small Dyke) now meets the present-day Begijnhofstraat. Did it really happen? Or is it just another historical myth? Whatever the truth of the matter, the corner house is still known by the name ’Thomas of Canterbury’ and a small statue of the saint graces a niche in the façade of No.17! ➜ Beguinage The only beguinage in the Westhoek which dates from the 13th century, although it was extensively rebuilt after the war. ➜ Brewery 'De Dolle Brouwers' in Esen See under ’Beers & Breweries’ on page 35 ➜ The Yserstar Boat trips on the River IJzer, starting from Nieuwpoort and also running on from Diksmuide to Ypres. T. 0032(0)-58 23 24 25 ➜ Helipromotions Battlefield tours by helicopter www.helipromotions.be T. 0032(0)-51 50 56 00 Kleine Dries 17 in Diksmuide ➜ IJzer Tower, See under WWI on page 76 ➜ The Trench of Death See under WWI on page 77 ➜ German Military Cemetery in Vladslo See under WWI on page 124

Diksmuide Town Centre

Heuvelland Did you know that... during the 16th century the cloth trade - on which the region’s prosperity was based - went into serious decline? Poverty and unemployment increased, offering a fertile breeding ground for the new religion of Protestantism.The Catholic pope in Rome branded the ’new-believers’ as heretics. Many people from Heuvelland fled the country to escape persecution and some eventually found their way to Sandwich and Norwich in England. Did you also know that one of the first-ever scouts was killed near Kemmel during the First World War and now lies buried in the village churchyard? His name? Second Lieutenant Musgrave Cazenove Wroughton. Wroughton was one of the 20 young boys who BadenPowell took on the first-ever scouts camp to Bronwsea Island in 1907. But Heuvelland (land of hills), as the name in Dutch suggests, is most well-known for its green and hilly landscape. These hills are known locally as ’mountains’, even though the highest of them - the Kemmelberg or Mount Kemmel - is just 156 metres above sea level. Some traditions claim that this is the hill where the ’Grand Old Duke of York’ marched his 10,000 men up and down, as immortalised in a well-known British nursery rhyme. ➜ Heuvelland Tourist Office Offers all tourist information and gives the opportunity to view for free the documentary ’Zero Hour’ - the story of the mine battle of 1917. This documentary is a combination of aerial photography, live recordings, archive material and re-enacting. For more information about the mine battle, please consult the website www.zerohour.be Open on workdays from 9.00 to 12.00 and from 13.15 to 17.00. On Saturday from 9.30 to 17.00 and on Sunday from 10.00 to 12.00. Closed on holidays. From 1 April to 14 November also open on Sunday from 14.00 to 17.00 and on holdiays from 10.00 to 12.00 and from 14.00 to 17.00.

Sint-Laurentiusplein 1 - 8950 Kemmel (Heuvelland) ➜ Folk Experience in Dranouter An interactive museum about folk music. www.folkdranouter.be - info@folkdranouter.be T. 0032(0)-57 44 69 33 Dikkebusstraat 234 in Dranouter

Folk Festival Dranouter

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Field Country

12


15

Merkem Castle

Ypres: Menin Gate

➜ Aerial Cable-car ’Cordoba’ in Westouter Every day during the summer holidays and during weekend afternoons from April until the end of September (weather permitting). johan.gheysens@skynet.be - T. 0032(0)-57 44 60 35 Rodebergstraat 75 in Westouter ➜ Command Bunker Kemmelberg A silent witness from the Cold War era. Information: Heuvelland Tourist Office in Kemmel toerisme@heuvelland.be - T. 0032(0)-57 45 04 55 ➜ ’Bayernwald’ in Wijtschate German trenches, see WWI on page 94

HoOGLEDE Hooglede and Gits did not emerge unscathed from the First World War. For both villages, the German occupation was a period of relative calm. Even so, they were still in the ’Etappengebiet’ (Reserve Zone) and therefore close to the front. Many wounded soldiers were brought here for medical care. Some of them never recovered and are now buried in the Soldatenfriedhof (military cemetery). During the Liberation Offensive in September 1918, both villages were badly damaged.

Houthulst Houthulst once had a large forest of more than 4,000 hectares. Today, just 70 hectares remain. During the First World War, the Germans transformed the forest into an impregnable fortress. During the final offensive in September 1918, this bastion was stormed by the Belgian Army. By then, all that was left of the once-proud forest was a few shattered tree trunks.The Belgian military cemetery at Houthulst contains the graves of almost 2,000 soldiers who died in the liberation of the Vrijbos (as the wood is known locally). Amongst other reminders of the war years are the Drie Grachten (Three Canals) Post in Merkem and the Peace Windmill in Klerken (currently undergoing restoration). This mill served as a German look-out post between 1914 and 1918. On the canal at the Drie Grachten, there is an ecological visitors’ centre on board the longboat ’Isara’.

Ieper (Ypres) Ypres is a city which needs no introduction in the English-speaking world. Its name will forever be associated with the sacrifice of Great Britain and her Empire during the First World War. The In Flanders Fields Museum, the Menin Gate, the Last Post, St. George’s Memorial Church: the average Englishman still knows more about Ieper than the average Belgian. Ieper is the Flemish name for the city. The more widely-known name of Ypres is the French spelling - and this is the spelling which was generally used on the military maps of the region at the beginning of the 20th century. But did you know… that during the Middle Ages Ypres was also a famous centre of the international cloth trade? It was the third most important city in Flanders (after Ghent and Bruges) and during the 14th century had a population larger than London! Its wealth was reflected in the construction of the magnificent Gothic Cloth Hall, with its sturdy belfry. The people of Ypres were on good terms with the English crown, since England was the main source of the wool which was so vital to the city’s cloth trade. This sometimes led to political problems, because Ypres was nominally under the control of the Count of Flanders, and the count was a vassal of the French king - who was the sworn enemy of the English! Ypres still possesses large parts of its original ramparts, built in the 17th century by Sébastien Vauban, master-fortress builder to King Louis XIV of France - the Sun King. Nowadays, Ypres is a fun city - as testified, for example, by its colourful Cats Festival (next scheduled for 13 May 2012). Absolutely not to be missed!

➜ Vrijbos (forest open to the public) For a healthy, invigorating walk. Open from sunrise to sunset. E. De Grootelaan in Houthulst ➜ Belgian Military Cemetery See under WWI on page 116

Ypres: Menin Gate Houthulst: ”Driegrachten”

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Field Country

14


17

Ypres: Cloth Hall

➜ Belle Almshouse Museum A fine collection of paintings and furniture, dating from the 14th16th centuries. Open from 10.00 to 12.30 and from 14.00 to 18.00 Closed on Mondays and from 1 November until 31 March. ➜ Education Museum An overview of educational history in Ieper and Flanders. Open daily from 10.00 to 12.30 and from 14.00 to 17.00 (18.00 from 1 April to 31 October). Closed on Mondays. ➜ Municipal Museum The history of Ypres as told through paintings, prints and engravings. Also with an overview of the city’s military fortifications. Same hours of opening as the Education Museum. ➜ Tour of the Ramparts on foot A 2.6 km long cultural and historic circuit, complete with information panels. ➜ Merghelynck Museum Marvel at the lifestyle of the aristocracy at the end of the 18th century. Group visits only, with compulsory city guide, arranged through the Tourist Office. Advance booking is essential. T. 0032(0)-57 23 92 20 ➜ Palingbeek Provincial Domain With its visitors’ centre and the Astro-lab Iris. T. 0032(0)-57 23 08 40 ➜ Golf & Country Club De Palingbeek 18 hole course www.golfpalingbeek.com - golfpalingbeek@skynet.be T. 0032(0)57 20 04 36 Eekhofstraat 14 in Hollebeke ➜ Bellewaerde Park A theme park for children (and adults!) www.bellewaerdepark.be - info-blw@cda-parks.com T. 0032(0)-57 46 86 86 ➜ In Flanders Fields Museum See WWI on page 87 ➜ St. George’s Memorial Church See WWI on page 90 ➜ Menin Gate See WWI on page 89 ➜ Last Post See WWI on page 92

Koekelare: Oosthof Park

Koekelare Koekelare is a forward-thinking village, but with a strong sense of tradition. The ’Fransmans’ (Frenchies) Museum recalls the seasonal labour of yesteryear, when many local people ’migrated’ annually to Northern France to do temporary work in the agricultural industry: harvesting beets, cutting hops, working in the oast-mills, etc. Next to the museum stands the Käthe Kollwitz Tower. This tower contains etchings and drawings by the well-known German artist. She was also responsible for the creation of the famous ’Grieving Parents’ sculpture in the German military cemetery at Vladslo. Many of her later works testified to her deep social commitment, which made her despised in the eyes of the Nazis. ➜ The ’Old Brewery’ site with • the Brewery, now a tourist and cultural centre; • the ’Frenchies’ Museum, which tells the story of the seasonal labourers who trekked each year to France to work on the land; • the Käthe Kollwitz Tower, see WWI on page 110 The ’Old Brewery’ is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 to 12.00 and from 14.00 to 17.30. Closed on Mondays. During summertime, the site is also open in the afternoon during the weekends. T. 0032(0)-51 58 92 01 ➜ The ’Long Max’ site See WWI on page 110

Koekelare ’Old Brewery’ site

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Field Country

16


19

Langemark

Kortemark

Langemark-Poelkapelle

Kortemark is the village of windmills. Four splendid mills dominate the landscape, serving as beacons for miles around. It is also a very old village. The archaeological museum in the neighbouring hamlet of Werken details the history of the district from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages.

This twin village is inextricably linked with the events of the First World War. In particular, the name of Langemark recalls a dark page in the annals of German history. It was here that the so-called ’Massacre of the Innocents’ (the decimation of the student battalions of 1914) took place and it is here that the sombre but imposing German military cemetery, with its 44,000 burials, now stands. On the other side of the village, near Cement House Cemetery, a memorial was unveiled on 27 September 2007 by the late Harry Patch, the last surviving veteran of the Great War. The memorial marks the spot where he crossed the Steenbeek stream during the Battle of Passendale in 1917. A further monument in the centre of Poelkapelle commemorates the French air-ace Georges Guynemer (53 victories), who disappeared in the skies above the village on 11 September 1917. His body was never found.

➜ Archeological site and museum in Werken Gives an overview of all archaeological finds in the area. Open from Wednesday to Sunday between 1 April and 30 November, from 14.00 to 17.00. T. 0032(0)-51 56 61 08 Vladslostraat 9 in Werken ➜ The Kruisstraat Mill in Werken Open every second Sunday of the month from April until September, from 14.00 to 18.00. Steenstraat in Werken ➜ The Kouter Mill in Kortemark Via reservation only - T. 0032(0)-51 56 64 52 Koutermolenstraat in Kortemark ➜ The Couchez Mill and Mill Museum in Zarren Open every Sunday from April until September, from 14.00 to 18.00. Zarrenlindestraat in Zarren ➜ The Wullepit Mill Open every first Sunday of the month from April until September, from 14.00 to 18.00. Molenstraat in Zarren

➜ Beeuwsaertmolen Served as an ideal observation post during the Frist World War. It was completely destroyed by the first gas attack in 1915, but rebuilt with parts of two other mills. Open every first Sunday of the month, from 13.00 to 17.00. Pilkemstraat in Bikschote ➜ German Military Cemetery See WWI on page 123 ➜ Guynemer Monument in Poelkapelle See WWI on page 81

Lo-Reninge Lo is a small town dating from the Middle Ages, which still boasts one of its original city gates. Next to this gate stands an ancient yew tree, where - according to tradition - the Roman general Julius Caesar once tied his horse! Did you know that… the church in Lo contains the lead coffin and mortal remains of William of Lo? William is better known in history - at least, in British history - as William of Ypres, the

The Couchez Mill in Zarren

Lo-canal

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Field Country

18


21

Messines: Crypt

Poperinge: Hop Museum

self-styled count of Flanders. William tried to seize power in Flanders during a failed coup in 1127. As a result, he was banished to England, where he took enthusiastic part in the civil wars of 1139-1154 between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda. William was one of Stephen’s chief lieutenants and commanded a large contingent of Flemish soldiers in his service. Finally elevated to the nobility by the grateful king, in later life Count William was responsible for the founding of the Cistercian abbey at Boxley. ➜ Lauka Visitors Centre and Tourist Office Open Monday to Saturday from 10.00 to 12.00 and from 13.00 to 17.00. Also open the same hours on Sundays in July and August. ➜ ’Old-timer’ Car Museum in Reninge A collection of more than 100 vintage ’old-timers’. Open daily from 13.30 to 17.15. Closed on Sundays and public holidays. www.oldtimermuseum.be - T. 0032(0)-57 40 04 32 Tempelare 12 in Reninge ➜ Visitor centre Destrooper See WWI on page 102

Mesen (MESSINES) Mesen - better known in English as Messines - is the smallest town in Belgium and stands on the language frontier between Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. Mesen has a special place in the history of the Irish people. It was here on 7 June 1917 that two Irish divisions - the 16th Division from Catholic Eire and the 36th Division from Protestant Ulster - fought side by side during the famous Battle of the Mines. The Peace Tower which now stands near this spot is therefore a symbol of reconciliation for the past, the present and the future. Mesen is also twinned with the New Zealand town of Featherstone. Troops of the New Zealand Division - men who had literally come from the other side of the world - also fought here in 1917. ➜ St. Nicolas Church and Crypt This church, rebuilt after the First World War, is all that remains of the old abbey, founded by Adela of France (mother of Queen Mathilda of England, wife of William the Conqueror) in 1057. It is believed that Adolf Hilter was treated for wounds in the crypt (which is original) in 1914. Open Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 17.00. Saturday by reservation only - T. 0032(0)-57 44 50 41 ➜ Ireland Peace Park See WWI on page 96 Messines: Peace Park

Poperinge Poperinge is the main centre of hop cultivation in Belgium. To celebrate this fact, the town holds a colourful triennial Hop Parade (next scheduled on the 21st of September 2014). During the First World War the town was immediately behind the front lines: a place of camps and hospitals, where the soldiers came to rest or heal their wounds. Talbot House - the famous wartime soldiers’ club - can still be visited. More than 9,500 Commonwealth servicemen found their last resting place in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, just outside the town. An interpretation centre will certainly upgrade the experience of your visit as of September 21st 2012. But did you know that… Sir Thopas, mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous ’Canterbury Tales’ (1388), was actually born in Poperinge. And did you know that… a Kentish farmer by the name of Reynolde Scott once spied on the hops fields and oast-houses around Poperinge, in order to improve techniques back in England. In 1574 he even published a manual called ’A Perfect Hoppe Garden’, based on expertise he had acquired in Flanders. You almost certainly didn’t know that… Lady Di’s great-grandmother was born in Reningelst, a village just outside Poperinge. The Bulteels were a local family, who in the 16th century were forced to flee to England as religious refugees. Louisa Emily Charlotte Bulteel (1828-1897), daughter of John Crocker Bulteel of Flete and Lyneham, married Edward Baring, who was then Director of the Bank of England. Her daughter, Margaret, married Charles Spencer, greatgrandfather of Lady Diana Spencer, the late Princess of Wales. ➜ Hop Museum Everything you ever wanted to know about hops and their history. Open from 1 March until 30 November. Open daily (except on Mondays) from 10.00 until 18.00. www.hopmuseum.be T. 0032(0)-57 33 79 22 Gasthuisstraat 71 in Poperinge ➜ Talbot House See WWI on page 104 ➜ Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery See WWI on page 119

Poperinge: Hop fields

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Field Country

20


23

Staden

The town centre of Veurne

Staden Did you know that… the British pilot Peter James Nankivell is buried in the civil cemetery in Staden? Born in 1920, Flight-Lieutenant Nankivell was a fighter pilot in the British Royal Air Force. On Sunday, 7 February 1943 he took off from RAF Manston in a Hawker Typhoon of 609 Squadron for a mission over occupied Europe. At 1415 hours he was intercepted above the Kortemark-Ypres railway by a German Fokker Wulf 190. After a short dog-fight, Nankivell was shot down, his plane crashing into the meadow of the Muyssen-Courtens farmstead.

Veurne Veurne is an old and elegant town, with a unique market square. The famous British war corrrespondent, Philip Gibbs, noted in his book ’The Soul of the War’ (1915): ’The town of Furnes, in Belgium, into which I came when dusk crept into its streets and squares, was the headquarters of King Albert and his staff and its people could hear all day long the roll of guns a few kilometres away, where the remnant of their army held the line of the Yser canal and the trenches which barred the roads to Dixmude, Pervyse and other little towns and villages on the last free patch of Belgian soil. I drove into the Grande Place and saw the beauty of this old Flemish square, typical of a hundred others no less quaint and with no less dignity, which had been smashed to pieces by German guns. Three great buildings dominated its architecture - the Town Hall, with a fine stately façade and two ancient churches with massive brick towers, over-shadowing the narrow old houses and timber-front shops with stepped gables and wrought-iron signs...’. In contrast to many other front towns, Veurne was little damaged during the war and still possesses a magnificent architectural heritage. It is also well-known for its Penitents’ Procession, which takes place on the last Sunday in July.

Veurne: town centre

➜ Town Hall and former Court of Justice Built in Flemish Renaissance style. Open from 1 April until 15 November, daily guided visits. Closed: 21, 28 October and 1,4 & 12 November. T. 0032(0)-58 33 55 31 Grote Markt in Veurne ➜ Bakery Museum Open from Monday to Thursday, from 10.00 to 17.00; and on Saturday and Sunday and public holidays from 14.00 to 17.00. Closed on Fridays and in December and January Also open on Fridays in July and August. www.bakkerijmuseum.be - T. 0032(0)-58 31 38 97 Albert I-laan 2 in Veurne ➜ Beauvoorde Castle A castle dating from the 19th century, with a fine collection of neoGothic furniture. Open from 1 April to 31 October, from Thursday to Sunday, between 14.00 and 17.30. From 1 July to 1 August, open daily from 10.00 to 17.30. www.kasteelbeauvoorde.be - T. 0032(0)-58 29 92 29 Wulveringemstraat 10 in Beauvoorde.

Vleteren Vleteren is a beer village par excellence. Westvleteren is home to the famous Abbey of St. Sixtus, which brews a series of ’trappist’ ales (6°, 8° and 12°!) which in their time have been voted as the best beer in the world. The ’Struise Brouwers’ in neighbouring Oostvleteren have also been honoured as being amongst the world’s best brewers.Their real imperial stouts, such as ’Black Albert’, are highly prized by beer aficionados.

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Field Country

22


25

Oostvleteren

But did you know… that during the retreat to Dunkirk in May 1940, the British General (later Field Marshall) Sir Bernard Montgomery entrusted his travelling trunk to the monks at the abbey of St. Sixtus. The monks even buried the trunk when a German officer later became suspicious. After the liberation of Belgium in 1944, ’Monty’ had his trunk sent for. ➜ Claustrum & Abbey The abbey of Sint-Sixtus does not allow visits. Across the road from the abbey stands ’In de Vrede’, where you can taste (and, if you are lucky, sometimes buy) the famous trappist beer. The adjoining Claustrum is a small museum which tells something about the life and work of the monks. ’In de Vrede’ and the ’Claustrum’ are open from 14.00 to 17.00. Closed on Fridays, also the first half of January, 12-18 April, and the second half of September (until 3 October). Also closed on Thursdays during the period 1 September to 30 June. www.sintsixtus.be - T. 0032(0)-57 40 18 84 www.indevrede.be - T.0032(0)-57 40 03 77 Donkerstraat 13 in Westvleteren ➜ Brewery ’Deca’ See ’Beers & Breweries’ on page 33 ➜ Brewery ’De Struise Brouwers’ See ’Beers & Breweries’ on page 35

Wervik: border with France, the river ’Lys’

WERVIK Wervik is one of the oldest towns in Belgium and was known to the Romans, who called it Viroviacum. It was a staging post on the great Roman road from Bavay to Cassel. During the First World War, the town was occupied by the German Army for four years. Wervik was for the Germans what Poperinge was for the British: a place to rest, close behind the lines. However, the town’s greatest claim to fame lies in a very different direction: tobacco! Wervik tobacco was once famed for its strength, although there are only a very few tobacco fields now remaining. Happily, the story of the industry’s past has been preserved in the Tobacco Museum, which also charts the history of smoking. ➜ National Tobacco Museum An interesting museum about smoking and tobacco. Open from February until November, from Tuesday to Friday, from 09.00 to 12.00 and from 14.00 to 18.00. Open on Saturday and Sunday, from 14.00 to 17.00. www.nationaaltabaksmuseum.be - T. 0032 (0)-56 95 24 25 tabaksmuseum@wervik.be - Koestraat 63 in Wervik

The abbey of Sint-Sixtus

Wervik: Tobacco Museum

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Field Country

24


27

Zonnebeke: Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passendale

Zonnebeke The name Zonnebeke probably rings very few bells in British ears, but almost everyone has heard of its neighbouring village: Passendale or Passchendaele (old spelling). The chateau of Zonnebeke now houses the impressive Passchendaele 1917 Memorial Museum. Not far away, cresting the ridge which separates the two villages, stands Tyne Cot Cemetery - the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world. It was here in 1917 that the British army fought for 4 long months in a desperate bid to break the German line. They advanced just 8 kilometres at a cost of almost 400,000 killed, wounded and missing. Little wonder that the village was known to the troops as ’Passion Dale’ - the Valley of Suffering. Like most villages in the region, Passendale was rebuilt after the armistice and is now well-known for its cheese. A Cheese Museum highlights the development of this new industry. The neighbouring village of Beselare is more concerned with witchcraft than with cheese, and every two years organises a ’spine-chilling’ Witches’ Pageant. ➜ The Old Cheese Factory Everything you need to know about cheese and cheese making. Cheese products are on sale in the adjoining cafeteria. Open daily from 1 March to 11 November, from 10.00 to 17.00. On Mondays open from 14.00 to 17.00. From May to September open daily from 10.00 to 17.00. By reservation the museum is always open for groups (min 15 persons). www.deoudekaasmakerij.be T. 0032(0)-51 77 70 05 - ’s Graventafelstraat 48a in Passendale ➜ Memorial Museum: Passchendaele 1917 See WWI on page 83 ➜ Cryer Farm See WWI on page 84 ➜ Crest Farm Canadian Memorial See WWI on page 84 ➜ Polygon Wood See WWI on page 85 ➜ German command post bunker See WWI on page 84 ➜ Tyne Cot Cemetery See WWI on page 118

Spending the night in Flanders Fields Country

Westhoek Bonus Pass If you stay for a minimum of two nights in one of 100 selected accommodation options in the Westhoek, you will be eligible for a free Westhoek Bonus Pass. This Bonus Pass offers you personal discounts of more than €60, mostly in the shape of reduced admission to many of the region’s top museums and attractions. This free pass is valid from the date of your arrival until the following January.

Westhoekvoordeelpas 2012 Carte avan tage - Disco unt

 

For your choice of overnight accommodation:

please see www.tourismflandersfields.be

Pass - Gästekart e

jouw voordeel

€ 60

The Flanders Field Country

The Flanders Field Country

26


29

The West Coast:

West Coast

West Coast

28

from De Panne to Middelkerke

The Westhoek is within easy cycling distance of the North Sea coast. The section of shoreline between De Panne in the west and Middelkerke in the east is known as the (Belgian) West Coast - a succession of pleasant seaside towns and coastal villages. Each of these resorts has its own ’speciality’, but they all offer sand, sea and (with a bit of luck!) sun. The West Coast is a perfect base from which to explore the Westhoek - and the reverse is also true! Whether you prefer De Panne, Koksijde, Oostduinkerke, Nieuwpoort, Westende or Middelkerke... the North Sea coast is a great place to stay at any time of year!

De Panne De Panne boasts the widest beach on the Belgian coast - ideal for sand-yachting and beach- surfing. The houses in the Dumont quarter (many of which are listed buildings) were built in the cottage style typical of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. De Panne also has a large stretch of sand dunes, which includes the Houtsaegher dunes, the Oosthoek domain and the Westhoek nature reserve. The recently renovated Leopold I Esplanade commemorates the arrival of Belgium’s first king on Belgian soil in 1830.

Koksijde-Oostduinkerke Koksijde not only possesses a fine beach, but is also home to an interesting museum devoted to the life and works of the artist Paul Delvaux. The Ten Duinen abbey museum on the outskirts of the town charts the rise and fall of this once famous abbey, which was taken into the Order of Citaux in 1138. The more energetic visitors may wish to climb the Hoge Blekker - the highest sand dune on the Belgian coast (located in the nature reserve of the same name).

Nieuwpoort: Promenade


30

31

West Coast

DE PANNE, KOKSIJDEOOSTDUINKERKE, NIEUWPOORT, MIDDELKERKE-WESTENDE

april

Nieuwpoort: King Albert Monument

Oostduinkerke has been a fishing village for centuries, and you can still watch (and admire) the shrimp fishermen as they wade out into the shallows with their nets, mounted on powerful shire horses. The National Fisheries Museum charts the local history of this hard and dangerous profession.

Nieuwpoort Nieuwpoort is the Monte Carlo of the Belgian coast. Its yachting marina is the largest in Europe, with more than 2,000 berths. The port also has its own small fishing fleet and fish market. The River IJzer reaches the sea at Nieuwpoort, via a complex of locks known as the ’Ganzenpoot’ (The Goose’s Foot). In 1914 these locks were opened to flood the IJzer plain, thereby preventing any further German advance. Nearby stands a monument to King Albert I, who commanded the Belgian Army during the First World War.

Middelkerke-Westende This twin coastal resort offers a good mix of everything that families need for a really great seaside holiday. The casino in Middelkerke, built in the Normandy style, is one of the top nightspots on the Belgian North Sea shoreline. At Villa ’Les Zephyrs’ you can discover how families spent their holidays back in the 1930s. The ’Dronkenput’ (literally, the Drunkard’s Pit) was a cistern constructed at the end of the 19th century to collect drinking water. The 213 ton tank was pushed upwards by rising ground water.

13-15/4 Convivial Weekend Middelkerke 14-15/04 Koksijde for Kids (free street attractions for children) Koksijde

may 26-28/05 Fishery Festival Nieuwpoort

juNE 08-10/06 Fish Weekend - Middelkerke 23-24/06 Shrimp Festival and shrimp parade - Oostduinkerke (Koksijde)

julY 06-08/07 The witch Jeanne Panne, a historical evocation with historical banquet on 06 -07/07 - Nieuwpoort 18-20/07 Leopold Festival (theme evening, fireworks, concert...) - De Panne

august 06/08 Animal happening - De Panne

september 15-06/09 Agricultural Weekend Middelkerke

october 19-21/10 Oyster fair & international boat show Cap Okaz - Nieuwpoort

november 9-11/11 Champagne Weekend Middelkerke

rimps Fishing for sh

k

on horsebac

west coast TOURIST INFORMATION

West Coast

Events 2012 WEST COAST

• De Panne Zeelaan 21, 8660 De Panne T. 0032(0)58/42 18 18 toerisme@depanne.be www.depanne.be

• Koksijde OOSTDUINKERKE Zeelaan 303 8670 Koksijde T. 0032(0)58/51 29 10 toerisme@koksijde.be www.koksijde.be

Season offices Oostduinkerke Bad Albert I-laan 78 8670 Koksijde T. 0032(0)58/51 13 89 Sint-Idesbald Zeedijk 26a T. 0032(0)58/51 39 39 • middelkerke westende J. Casselaan 4 8430 Middelkerke T. 0032(0)59/30 03 68 toerisme@middelkerke.be www.middelkerke.be

Season office Westende H. Jasparlaan 173 8434 Westende T. 0032(0)59/31 91 28

info.westende@middelkerke.be www.middelkerke.be

• Nieuwpoort Marktplein 7 8620 Nieuwpoort T. 0032(0)58/22 44 44 Hendrikaplein 11 8620 Nieuwpoort T. 0032(0)58/23 39 23 info@nieuwpoort.be www.nieuwpoort.be

For more information: please contact the local tourist office


33

Beers & Breweries

Beers & Breweries

Beers & Breweries

32

The Westhoek is a veritable paradise for beer-lovers, offering a wide variety of different local ales, many brewed in the traditional manner. The delicious ’trappist’ beers from Westvleteren are perhaps the best-known, but there are plenty of others to choose from - and all of them are worth a try!

Traditionally-brewed beers in the Westhoek Trappist from Westvleteren The abbey at Westvleteren has been brewing its famous ales for as long as anyone can remember. In 2005 the abbey’s ’trappist’ beer was chosen as ’the best beer in the world’ (a claim that those who have tasted it would not dispute!). The sale of the abbey’s beer is big business, but the available supply is quickly exhausted. Why? Because the monks brew to live: they do not live to brew! Production is deliberately limited to around 5,000 hectolitres each year, and there are no plans to increase this figure. This means that the beer is always in short supply. If you want to try it, you can only order it by telephone via the abbey’s ’beer-line’. Demand is so great that it can often take half an hour or more before you finally get through. But keep on trying: it’s well worth the wait in the end! Usually, you have to accept whatever type of beer is available at the time, and you collect it by appointment at the abbey gates. If this is all too much trouble, you can always try a ’trappist’ at the ’In de Vrede’ meeting centre, which stands just across the road from the main abbey buildings. This meeting centre - which in reality is little more than a large café - also houses the Claustrum, a small but modern museum about the abbey’s history and the life of the monks. The real abbey beer from Westvleteren has no label on the bottle. The different types are distinguished by the different colours of the bottle tops - and by the taste! Cheers! www.indevrede.be - www.sintsixtus.be Beer-line T. 0032(0)-70 21 00 45


35 Beers & Breweries

Beers & Breweries

34

Hop Field

In days gone by, the Sint-Bernardus Brewery in Watou brewed beer for the monks in Westvleteren under license, but this arrangement has long since ceased. Nowadays, they brew their own selection of fine ales: Sint-Bernardus Triple, Sint-Bernardus Abt, Sint-Bernardus Prior, Nunnebier, etc. The brewery is located at Trappistenweg 23 in 8978 Watou (near Poperinge) - T. 0032(0)-57 38 80 21 www.sintbernardus.be

The ’Dolle Brouwers’ Brewery (the name literally means ’Barmy Brewers’) is located in the village of Esen (Roeselarestraat 12b), near Diksmuide. Master-brewer Chris Herteleer has created some excellent beers, including Oerbier, Arabier, Stille Nacht (a Christmas ale), Boskeun, etc. There is a guided tour of the brewery in English and French every Sunday afternoon at 14.00 (not on public holidays). T. 0032(0)-51 50 27 81 - www.dedollebrouwers.be

Nevejan Brewery, situated at Graaf van Hoornweg 16 in 8972 Krombeke (also near Poperinge), is a supplier of several local beers, including Kerelsbier.

The brewery of ’De Struise Brouwers’ is in Woesten (Vleteren). These amateur experts - this time the name means the ’Beefy Brewers’ - were recently voted as ’the best brewers in the world’ by an American internet poll in which no fewer than 6,000 other brewers took part.Their most well-known brews are the legendary Black Albert (a dark stout), Pannepot and Kloeke Blonde. ’De Struise Brouwers’ is a relatively small-scale operation (in 2009 they made just 270 hectolitres of beer) and 90% of their production is exported, mainly to America and Scandinavia. Happily, the remaining 10% is available for domestic consumption and the brewery (with shop) is open on Wednesday,Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 14.00 to 18.00. The address is Kasteelstraat 50 in Oostvleteren. Guided tours, beer tastings and beer seminars can all be arranged by appointment. Reservations can be made by phone on T. 0032(0)-0495 28 86 23 or by mail on struisesales@gmail.com - www.struisebrouwers.be

The Van Eecke-Leroy Brewery brews the famous Poperinge Hommelbier (hop beer), Watou white beer and Kapittel. The brewery is located at Douvieweg 2 in 8978 Watou (near Poperinge) T. 0032(0)-57 38 80 30 www.brouwerijvaneecke.tk

Hops

The Vanuxeem Brewery is just over the language border, in the French-speaking village of Ploegsteert. Even so, they make some very fine beers, including the well-known Queue de Charrue (blond, amber and brown). The brewery is located at Armentièresestraat 150 in 7782 Ploegsteert T. 0032(0)-56 58 89 23 www.vanuxeem.com

st.-bernardus prior, brown 8° high fermentation, ferments in the bottle, full flavour

WATOU TRIPEL, amber 7° high fermentation, soft flavour, with a fresh finish

watou’s wit, blond 9° high fermentation, ferments in the bottle, sharp flavour

HOMMELBIER, amber 8° high fermentation, ferments in the bottle, full flavour


37 Beers & Breweries

Beers & Breweries

36

➜ Beers of character The Poperinge Beer Festival, 27-28 October 2012 A chance to sample the wares of 15 of the region’s smaller breweries. Beers of character, brewed with skill and passion. T. 0032(0) 57 36 08 93

Many towns and villages in the Westhoek have their own local beers: Alveringem has Snoekbier, Ypres has Ypra and Yperman, Koekelare has Couckelaerschen Doedel, Poperinge has Hommelbier and Nunnebier, Veurne has Sporkinbier, Boeteling and Slapersbier, Wervik has Moriaenbier, Mesen has Mesenaere, Beselare (Zonnebeke) has Heksenbier and (last, but not least) Diksmuide has Papegaei. Why not give them a try? Every cafe in the Westhoek - big or small, with sun terrace or without - serves a good range of Belgian beers. Ordinary ’pils’ (a light, lager-like beer of low fermentation) can be found just about everywhere, but the beer card is usually supplemented with a selection of traditional ales (usually of much higher fermentation). Many of these traditional beers are also local beers, brewed in the region. But be warned: they are probably stronger than what you are used to! Most British visitors stick to ordinary ’pils’, which they like to drink in large, half-litre glasses. Local beer drinkers prefer the smaller 25 cl. glass. This has the advantage of keeping the beer cooler and the taste fresher. During the warm summer months, beer in a larger glass has more time to become warm, weak and wishy-washy. And who wants to drink wishy-washy beer?

KAPITTEL, brown 5.6° ferments in the bottle, soft flavour

queue de charrue, blond 9° high fermentation, ferments in the bottle, sharp flavour

And just so our oenophile friends do not feel left out, it is also worth mentioning that the Westhoek produces some very fine wines. In particular, the produce of the Monteberg Vineyard in Dranouter (Heuvelland) is highly regarded by connoisseurs.

Something tasty

No matter where you go in the Westhoek, you will always be able to eat and drink in style. Gastronomic cooking in Flanders is largely based on French cuisine, yet always with a unique Flemish twist. Flanders can boast a number of Michelin-star restaurants, but there are literally hundreds of other places to eat - bistros, taverns, pizzerias - and all of excellent quality. Of course, there are also plenty of delicious regional and seasonal specialities to try, such as potjesvlees (jellied veal, chicken and rabbit) in Veurne, hop shoots in Poperinge (March-April) or mussels and chips in any month with an ’r’ in it. Chips are also a great Belgian speciality - something which our British visitors should appreciate - but we eat them with mayonnaise or pickles, and NOT with vinegar! Visitors with a sweet-tooth should already start planning their next diet now. Flanders is renowned for its confectionary: pancakes, waffles (with or without cream and chocolate), Mazarin tart, almond cakes, gingerbread, farmyard ice-cream, babalutten (a kind of butterscotch sweet, guaranteed to rip out all your fillings)... and this is before we even mention the world-famous Belgian chocolates! In most villages, the local baker will make chocolates of his own, but there are also larger specialist shops in the bigger towns.The market square in Ieper, for example, is full of them: talk about being spoilt for choice!

queue de charrue, brown 5.4° low fermentation, sweet flavour

queue de charrue, amber 7° high fermentation, soft flavour with a fresh finish


39

Tourist

Tourist routes

Tourist routes

38

routes

Poperinge

Walking networks Heuvelland and Ypres Salient The Heuvelland walking network is a fresh concept which guarantees about 270 kilometres of walking pleasure. The network covers the entire Heuvelland district, but also takes in a small part of French Flanders (just over the FrancoBelgian border or the ’Schreve’, as it is popularly known in these parts). The charm and beauty of the West Flanders hill country provide the backdrop to this tourist-friendly initiative. A second walking network has also been created in the area around Ypres. Perhaps not surprisingly, the theme is the First World War and the Ypres Salient. The route is undulating and varied, with a surprise around almost every corner. Walkers can devise their own day or week itineraries and can decide for themselves just how many kilometres they want to do. The signposting and routing of the networks is based on a series of numbered junction points. You simply walk from junction to junction or from number to number. At each junction two or more sections of the network cross each other. All you need to do is keep an eye on the junction numbers. The walking networks are signposted in both directions, so that the different sections/junctions can be easily combined to make hundreds of different walks. The junction numbers are shown on rectangular boards, fixed to four-sided posts. Additional signboards have also been placed between the junctions, so that you can check that you are still going the right way! Almost 50 % of the network is on unpaved roads/tracks and a number of new connecting pathways have been specially constructed. A map of the walking network costs €6, and can be purchased at the VVV Heuvelland in Kemmel (T. 0032(0) 57 45 04 55 - www.heuvelland.be) or at the Tourist Office in Ypres (T. 0032(0) 57 23 92 20 - www.visitypres.be).


41 Tourist routes

Westhoek Tourist routes 2010

40

Cycling network Westhoek More than 1,000 kilometres of biking pleasure is within easy reach of cycling fans. This network can be ridden in both directions and the signposting is based on the junction system, which has already been such a success in other parts of Flanders. Cyclists can plan their preferred route in advance, using the two available network maps (one for the north of the Westhoek and another for the south). All you need to do is note the numbers of the junctions you wish to pass. The map also shows the distance in kilometres between junctions. The junction numbers are indicated on rectangular green boards and are supplemented at major crossroads, etc. by a series of ’destination’ signposts. In this way you are guaranteed not to miss any of the sights! Equally important, there will be no

shortage of cafes and pubs on your chosen route! Or perhaps you prefer to stop for a deliciously refreshing ice-cream down on the farm...? The existing cycle circuits, with their familiar hexagonal (six-sided) signboards, will continue to operate. You can find a summary of these circuits elsewhere in this booklet. The new network also uses some limited sections of these older circuits. When this happens, you will find rectangular junction boards and hexagonal signboards along the same route. The Westhoek cycling network offers good connections with the West Coast cycle route and the Brugse Ommeland network. Two detailed maps of the Westhoek route (North and South) are available at a price of € 6 each. The maps can be purchased from all local tourist offices in the Westhoek. Alternatively, they can be ordered via the website www.toerismewesthoek.be (section ’routes’). This also applies for maps of the older cycling circuits.


43 Tourist routes

Westhoek Tourist routes 2010

42

Tourist routes

Ypres

See WW1 on page 127

The Peace route

CAR

(45 km)

Signposted cycling routes All the cycle routes mentioned form a complete circuit (i.e., they begin and end at the same point). The signposts marking the routes are hexagonal (six-sided) in shape. Info-folders with maps are available for every route. The local tourist offices have information/folders about the routes in their area.

Diksmuide The Butter-land route

(44 km) This route explores the polders around Diksmuide, the heart of the so-called ’Butter-land’. On the way, you will pass through engaging villages such as Sint-Jacobskapelle, Nieuwkapelle, Oudekapelle, Lampernisse, Zoutenaaie and Pervijze.

The Krekeldal (Cricket Valley) route

(47 km) As the name suggests, this route follows the valley of the Krekel stream, which - together with Handzame valley - forms the most easterly inland extension of the basin of the River IJzer. The route gets underway in Diksmuide and first explores a tract of marshland, before moving off towards Koekelare.

Heuvelland The West Flanders ’Mountain’ route

(45 km) Cyclists will puff and pant their way up Heuvelland’s ancient chain of hills, which have played such a prominent role in the region’s history and still dominate its landscape. In addition to the famous Kemmelberg (Kemmel Hill) and Rodeberg (Red Hill), the route also takes in Mesen (Messines), a small town situated right on the Belgian language frontier (with French-speaking Wallonia), as well as the Palingbeek provincial domain.

See WW1 on page 128

Lo-Reninge The Ijzerbroeken route

(41 km) The IJzerbroeken are a series of marshy water-meadows which line the banks of the River IJzer. The route starts in Lo, and leads along the Oude Zeedijk (Old Sea Dyke) in the direction of the Ieperlee canal. The covered banks of this waterway lead in turn to Steenstraete. By way of Reninge, you finally reach the IJzer and the lock gates at Fintele, where the Lo Canal joins the larger river.

Langemark-Poelkapelle The Bakelandt route

(46 km) This route - named after a famous local bandit of the Robin Hood variety - focuses on the villages of Langemark, Poelkapelle and Houthulst. On their journey cyclists will be able to enjoy a variety of different landscapes: the hills of Klerken, the sand-loam spurs of the IJzer polders, the low-lying valley of the Ieperlee.

Middelkerke The Schoorbakke route

(48 km) The rural route leads through the pleasant coastal polders between Middelkerke and Diksmuide. Setting out from Middelkerke, cyclists will pass through the polder villages of Leffinge, Slijpe and Schore - the last of which gives its name to the route (a ’bak’ was a medieval type of ferry which crossed the River IJzer at Schore - hence the ’Schore-bak’). From Diksmuide, the Vladslo Canal leads back towards the coast.


45 Tourist routes

Tourist routes

44

Poperinge The Hop Land route

(43 km) This charming rural route is characterized by fields and meadows, woods and parklands, but above all by hop fields, with their distinctive network of poles and wire. The journey starts and finishes in Poperinge, by way of the Lovie estate, Couthof Castle, Sint-Jan-terBiezen village and the Helleketelbos (Witch’s Cauldron Woods).

The Frontier route

(41 km) This route criss-crosses the ’Schreve’: the Franco-Belgian border region to the north-west of Poperinge, between Watou (the starting point) and Beveren. Along the way it passes through the delightful French village of Houtkerke.

The Schreve route

(46 km) ’Schreve’ is a dialect word meaning ’border’ and this undulating route - which picks it way through the rolling landscape between Poperinge and Bailleul (Belle in Flemish) - crosses the Franco-Belgian border more than once! Reningelst is the starting point for a journey which calls at Westouter, Berthen (F), Boeschepe (F) and Watou.

Veurne The Veurne-Ambacht route

(48 km) Cyclists explore the characteristic scenery of the region known as the ’Blote’ (an area of flat and low-lying polders along the River IJzer), as well as the age-old Viscountcy of Veurne-Ambacht (’ambacht’ is a legal term denoting the level of a region’s judicial powers). Starting from Koksijde, the route also takes in Veurne, Steenkerke and the ’Broeken’ (water meadows) of Oeren, Alveringem and Zoutenaaie.

The Lange Lis route

(39 km) The Lange Lis route takes bikers into the heart of vast expanse of polders between Nieuwpoort and Veurne.The route leads along the River IJzer, the Hemmeleed, the Proost Dyke Canal and the Langgeleed (known as the ’Lange Lis’ in popular parlance). Other ports-of-call include the delightful polder villages of Ramskapelle and Booitshoeke.

The Moeren route

(44 km) The Moeren (the name has the same etymological origins as the word ’morass’) are the lowest-lying tract of polders in all Flanders. The route also crosses the Houtland (Woodland) district, on the more elevated Izenberge Plateau.The return journey, by way of Leisele and Houtem, passes through the Buitenmoeren (Outer Moeren), before finally reaching the Moeren proper. The St. Karel and St. Gustaaf mills are also on the itinerary.

The Cobergher route

(51 km) This route - named after the court engineer who was responsible for reclaiming much of this region from the sea - focuses on the coastal polder landscape in the extreme north-west corner of the Westhoek. Departing from Adinkerke, the route first leads across the French border to Hondschoote. The final destination is the Moeren, with its chequered network of flat, open fields.

Vleteren The Fleterna route

(46 km) This route allows cyclists to discover the varied countryside between Poperinge and Vleteren (the route takes its name from the CelticGermanic toponym for the stream which runs through this latter village). Sites of interest along the way include Poperinge town centre, Eversam farmstead, the St.Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren and the water meadows along the Puyde Brook.

Wervik The Tobacco route

(45 km) This route explores the old tobacco-growing region around Wervik and Zonnebeke. Tobacco fields still give colour to the region’s agricultural landscape, but the route also takes in the Palingbeek provincial domain, Den Doel forest and the so-called OCMW Woods (owned by the Ypres Department of Social Services).


47 Tourist routes

Westhoek Tourist routes 2010

46

Thematic cycling routes

Diksmuide

(34 km)

The Bethoosterse Broeken route

The Pop route

See WW1 on page 128

No More War (37.5 km)

See WW1 on page 129

Mine Warfare: Messines Ridge 1917 (28.6 km)

(7 km) This route is characterised by two contrasting landscapes. The first section crosses the higher ground to the south of the village of Esen (where the route starts). Later, the land falls away into the Handzame valley, with its typical water meadows (’broeken’ in Flemish).

The Blankaart route

See WW1 on page 129

(9.6 km) Setting out from the old Blankaart family mansion, the route first meanders through the watery meadows and pools of the Blankaart nature reserve, moving on through the flood plain of the River IJzer, before finally reaching the Blankaart reservoir.

WALKING

The Zannekin route

See WW1 on page 129

The Ypres Salient (35 km)

Signposted walks All the walking routes mentioned form a complete circuit (i.e., they begin and end at the same point). The signposts marking the routes are hexagonal (six-sided) in shape. Info-folders with details of the various walking routes can be ordered via www.tourismflandersfields.be. The local tourist offices have information/folders about the routes in their area.

Alveringem The Tile Village route

(8.1 km) The route starts at Brewery De Snoek in Fortem and meanders through the countryside on both banks of the Lo Canal. In the past, a tile factory played an important role in the local economy of this region.

(6.4 km) This route - named after a 14th century Flemish freedom fighter - cuts though the wetlands of Lampernisse, which are intersected by Greater and Lesser IJzer streams. This is one of the widest stretches of continuous open space in Flanders. The walk takes ramblers across the rich meadows and a succession of natural pools, creeks and ridges, before reaching the Lesser IJzer on the boundary between the villages of Lampernisse and Alveringem.


49 Tourist routes

Tourist routes

48

Diksmuide: beguinage

Heuvelland

Houthulst

The Kemmelberg (Kemmel Hill) route

The Driegrachten route

(9.4 km) This is an ’up hill and down dale’ route which explores the summit and the flanks of Kemmel Hill (156 m). Starting from the ’De Bergen’ Visitors Centre (VVV) in the centre of Kemmel village, the quiet country roads and panoramic views will enchant walkers of every type.

The Two Mountains route

(7.2 km) The two ’mountains’ in question (which are really just hills) are the Sulferberg (Sulphur Hill, with its adjoining nature reserve) and the Rodeberg (Red Hill). This latter summit leads to an adventurous descent along the ’Hellegat’ (Hell Hole), a large valley deeply carved into the hillside.

The Geuzen route

(9.6 km) This route starts from the market square in Nieuwkerke and follows an undulating course through the surrounding fields and farmsteads. The name of the route refers to the religious troubles of the 16th century, when the so-called Geuzen broke sacred images because they believed them to be idolatrous (iconoclasm).

Craters and Mines route (7 or 9 km)

See WW1 on page 130

The Battle of Mount Kemmel 1918 (10 or 5 km)

See WW1 on page 130

From ’The Bluff to die grosse Bastion’ (10, 7,5 or 4,3 km) See WW1 on page 131

Heuvelland

(6.5 km) A walk which takes in the countryside around Merkem, south of Diksmuide. During the First World War, Driegrachten was a frontline post near the confluence of three different waterways (which is what the name means in Dutch). This area was hotly contested in a series of gruelling battles along the line of the River IJzer.

ypres (Ieper) The Hospice Woods route

(9.5 km) The low ridges to the south of Ypres are dominated by a succession of woods, some of which belong to the city’s social and welfare services - hence the name. This route leads walkers through more than 230 acres of woodland.

The Gallows Wood route

(4.5 km) A walk wich explores the woodlands between Elverdinge, Vlamertinge and Poperinge. The route’s name is self-explanatory!

Koekelare The Koekelare Hill route

(6 km) The village square, the Oosthof park, the Swal nature reserve and the hill itself - a massive 45 metres above sea level! - are all included in the itinerary of this pleasing rural route.


51 Tourist routes

Tourist routes

50

Veurne

Lo-Reninge

Vleteren

The Beverdijk route

The St. Sixtus route

(8.2 km) The Beverdijk route - literally meaning ’Beaver Dyke’, although the beavers have long since disappeared! - allows walkers to explore the watery landscapes of the IJzer wetlands, in the transitional zone between the coastal polders and the sand-loam hinterland. Following the Lo Canal and passing the Fintele lock complex, you will eventually arrive at the towpath of the River IJzer.

mesen (MESSINES) Messines Ridge Peace Path (3.5 km)

See page 130

Poperinge The ’Dead’ Ijzer route

(6.8 km) This walk unlocks the secrets of the border country to the northwest of Poperinge. A kaleidoscopic quilt of meadows and fields creates a delightful and variegated landscape, with wonderful panoramic vistas across the valley of the IJzer. The name refers to a ’dead’ meander of the river which passes through the village of Roesbrugge - the starting point of the route.

Albert Baert and Poperinge in WWI (6.2 km)

See page 131

Veurne The Ringslot route

(9 km) This route criss-crosses the Moeren - the low-lying polders surrounding the village of Houtem, near Veurne. The name is derived from a canal which runs through (and drains) the Moeren, which has the appearance of a castle moat (’ringslot’ in Flemish).

(7.1 km) This route wanders along the quiet byways around the sleepy village of Westvleteren. The landscape is pleasantly undulating and the route makes use of church roads, grass tracks and country lanes. The itinerary leads walkers through a patchwork quilt of woods, hop fields and grasslands. A British military cemetery recalls distant echoes of the First World War, while the Abbey of Westvleteren - the starting point of the route - is world-famous for its trappist beer.

The Brabanthoek route

(6.6 km) A quiet walk along peaceful roads, passing the Boezinge Canal nature reserve, Brabant Corner (the Brabanthoek - a reference to ancient feudal obligations, which gives the route its name) and a Belgian bunker dating from the First World War.

Wervik The Kruiseke (Christ’s Oak) route

(6.5 km) This route starts and finishes at the church in Kruiseke, a village near Wervik. Following unmetalled roads through gently rolling countryside, the walker will discover two magnificent but very different panoramas: a view over the valley of the River Leie (Lys) and a view towards the green fields around Kemmel Hill.

Zonnebeke The Witches’ route

(8.2 km) Amongst other highlights, this route takes in the witches’ village of Beselare and the Den Doel forest, where Buttes New British Cemetery and Polygon Wood Cemetery - both dating from the First World War - are located.

Poperinge


53 Events 2012

Events 2012

52

Events 2012 18 March:

Mardi Gras Parade - Poperinge

25 April:

ANZAC Day - Zonnebeke

9 May: 13 May: 25 - 27 May: 28 May: 28 May:

Annual Flower Market - Ypres 43rd Cats Parade - Ypres Peace Festival - music - Diksmuide Butter & Cheese Festival - Diksmuide Annual Flower Market - Veurne

3 June: 3 June: 11 June: 21-23 June:

Holy Blood Procession - Voormezele (Ypres) Windmillfest - Kortemark In Flanders Fields Museum open again - Ypres Geko Ypres Rally - Ypres

1 July: 22 July: 29 July:

Procession of the Blessed Virgin - Poperinge Giant Flea Market - Veurne Penitents’ Procession - Veurne

2-3-4-5 August: Dranouter Festival - Heuvelland 15 August: Wine fair in the Warande Park - Kemmel (Heuvelland) 15 August: Remember Elvis in Wally’s Farm - Poperinge 18 August: Town Music Festival - Ypres 22-25 August: Four Days of the IJser, organised walk (4 x 1 day) 25 August: Musical Tattoo - Veurne 25 August: Market Rock (rock concert) - Poperinge 2 September: The Westhoek’s largest flea market - Kemmel (Heuvelland) 9 September: In Flanders Fields Marathon Nieuwpoort - Diksmuide - Ypres 21 September: Opening Interpretation Centre Lijssenthoek Cemetery - Poperinge 23 September: Ypres Memorial Tattoo - Ypres 27-28 October: Beers of Distinction Weekend - Poperinge 31 October: Halloween - Diksmuide

10 November: 10 November: 11 November: 11 November:

4th stage of the Memorial Walk Albert - Ypres Remembrance ceremony ’Battle of Passchendaele’ Passendale (Zonnebeke) WW1 Book Fair - Zonnebeke Concert ’The Great War Remembered’ - Ypres Various remembrance ceremonies throughout the Westhoek, particularly Ypres (Poppy Parade and Last Post)

December: Christmas Market and Ice Rink - Ypres 7-9 December: Christmas Market - Diksmuide 14 December - 13 January: Veurne on Ice: ice rink - Veurne

Weekly market days:

Flanders has a long tradition of public markets, stretching back to the days of the Middle Ages. Many towns still hold this tradition in honour. Almost everything is available at these weekly markets: clothing, fish, meat, vegetables, cheese, cd’s, flower and plants, tools and equipment, cakes and sweets… They are usually held all year round between 08.00 and 13.00 on the Market Square (where else?) or at some other suitable location near the town centre. Their frequency may sometimes be reduced during the winter months. Monday: Diksmuide Tuesday: Koekelare Wednesday: Langemark, Veurne Thursday: Lo, Houthulst, Kortemark Friday: Koksijde, Nieuwpoort, Poperinge, Wervik Saturday: Ypres


55

War and Peace

War and Peace

War and Peace

54

in the Westhoek

The First World War transformed the Westhoek into the most dramatic war landscape in Belgium. The region was marked and marred by four years of bitter conflict. The inhabitants of 1914 saw how their homes and their fields were turned into a battlefield on which European and wider international interests were fought out. Like so many millions of others, they were forced to pay the price for the failure of the princes and the politicians to settle their differences peaceably. Ever since, successive generations of the local population have developed their own attitude and approach towards the war and its legacy. The Westhoek now contains hundreds of monuments and cemeteries which have great historical significance for the people of many nations. Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world travel to Flanders each year to search for these reminders of the war years. In this sense, the story of the war in the Westhoek is both local and universal. It belongs not only to the past, but also to the present and the future. We live in a world which more than ever needs a better understanding of the complex processes of war and peace. In this way, we hope that our generation and future generations can profit from the painful lessons of the past. The most lasting legacy of the war in the Westhoek is a burning desire for peace - because greater insight into the horrors of war can only lead to a greater determination to make peace. The provincial administration of West Flanders has always devoted considerable attention to the First World War. In 2002 the province decided that the many activities relating to the war should be gathered together within a single framework, which is known as ’War and Peace in the Westhoek’. This initiative is supported and sustained by various partners in the Westhoek itself (museums, societies, local authorities, etc.). ’War and Peace in the Westhoek’ has five separate component elements. There are activities relating to academic and scientific research; the maintenance and accessibility of heritage sites; cultural and tourist development; peace education; and the wider publicising of the ’War and Peace in the Westhoek’ project.

Château Wood

Westtoer - the independent provincial organisation for tourism and recreation in West Flanders - is also aware of the importance of this historical heritage. It was this awareness which first inspired the publication of this short guide, which is now in its fourth (revised) edition. In this way, we hope not only to make our own small contribution to the historiography of the First World War, but also to make the heritage sites in the Westhoek accessible to a wider public.


57 The Beginning

The Beginning

56

The Battle of Passendale. A British cemetery destroyed by shellfire.

1914

The Beginning Why war?

More than 90 years after the events, it is still difficult to give a clear and definite answer to this question. Was it simply a terrible combination of circumstances? How significant was France’s desire for revenge following her defeat and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870? To what extent was the expansion of the German fleet a real thorn in the side of the British? Did the possibility of a British blockade of German ports play a crucial role? Was the spiralling arms race a major factor? And what of the complex arrangement of secret alliances and treaties? Or was the all-consuming nationalist sentiment of the age the key influence? Perhaps, in the final analysis, the people of all lands simply thought that ‘it will all sort itself out in the end’…

Sarajevo

On 28 June 1914 the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz-Ferdinand, visited the province of Bosnia-Herzegovina. His arrival in Sarajevo was awaited by a young Bosnian student named Princip - who, together with a number of nationalist friends, was planning to kill him. A first attempt failed, but a strange twist of fate gave Princip a second chance.

British soldiers in Flanders

This time the bullets from his Belgian FN pistol killed both the archduke and his wife. This assassination lit a powder keg. AustriaHungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia, since this country was believed to have supported the Bosnian action. Serbia agreed to all of Vienna’s demands but one. They refused to allow an Austrian commission of enquiry on their territory. Nevertheless, Austria-Hungary used this as a pretext to declare war. This was quickly followed by other declarations, as the system of mutual alliances and counter-alliances was set in motion. Nobody seemed willing or able to stop the inexorable slide into a European War. The so-called Central Powers were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria. They were opposed by the Allies, which included the British Empire, France, Russia and Belgium, joined later by Italy (1915) and the United States of America (1917). By the end of 1918 thirty-three countries were formally at war with each other, with a combined population of 1.5 billion people. This represents 80% of the total world population at that time. Just 12 countries remained neutral, including Holland.

The ’Schlieffen’ plan

On 4 August 1914, the German army invaded Belgium. They demanded that King Albert grant them free passage through the country, so that they could attack the French from the rear and defeat them first. Afterwards, they would turn their attention on Russia. The king refused and the famous Schlieffen plan was launched to impose Germany’s military will by force. It was a battle of David against Goliath. Great Britain guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium and declared war on Germany.

The Battle of Halen

On 12 August 1914 at Halen (in the province of Limburg) Uhlans of the German cavalry attempted to charge a strong Belgian position with naked swords. They were stopped in their tracks by the heavy fire of the defending Belgian infantry. The Germans repeated their attack no fewer than eight times, but always with the same terrible result. Afterwards, more than 400 dead horses were counted on the battlefield. It was proof, if any were needed, that dragoons, hussars, lancers, Uhlans and cuirassiers - with all their gaily coloured uniforms - now belonged to the past.

The forts of Liege

The city of Liege fell quickly into German hands. It was followed on 15 August by the surrender of the last of the 12 forts which guarded the city’s perimeter. The heavy German howitzers (the ’Big Bertha’s) had done their terrible destructive work. Even so, the Germans continued to advance rapidly. ps

Colonial troo


59 The Beginning

The Beginning

58

A Belgian refugee camp in Bergen-op-Zoom (The Netherlands)

Louvain… ’die Zivilisten haben geschossen’

The German advance was now moving more slowly than they had hoped. At several places, the Germans believed that they were shot at by ’civilians’. In Belgium, the armed Civil Guard was an official para-military organisation. It had a strength of some 45,000 men and they had to provide their own uniforms. These often incomplete uniforms sometimes made them hard to recognise as soldiers. Is this why the Germans confused them with civilians? The Germans were becoming increasingly nervous: they had not expected such strong Belgian resistance. As a result, they sometimes shot at each other by mistake - but put the blame on the local Belgian population. In Dinant, Aarschot and Louvain large numbers of civilians were executed in retaliation. In Louvain (Leuven) 2,000 houses were also burnt to the ground, together with its fabulous university library. Its unique collection of incunabula, manuscripts and ancient books was lost for ever. The Germans were now portrayed by the Allies as barbarians. Volunteers to fight against them enlisted in their thousands, especially in Great Britain. In Belgium there were 18.000 such volunteers.

The fall of Antwerp

The fortress of Antwerp (Antwerpen) - which was believed to be impregnable - fell in October 1914. By now, an estimated 1.6 million Belgians had fled their homes. Almost 1 million of these refugees crossed the border into the Netherlands.They were joined by approximately 40,000 Belgian, 1,200 British and 170 German soldiers. In accordance with international law, all these soldiers were disarmed ’for the duration of hostilities’ and were interned in special camps (Zeist, Hardewijk, etc.). Louvain

Neutral Holland

The Netherlands clung firmly to their neutrality - and with success. This had strategic advantages for both the British and the Germans. For the British, it was important that the Dutch harbours could not be used by the German navy (and their u-boats!). For the Germans, the same ports were an important source of materials and supplies for their war economy. Food was also imported into Germany via the Rhine, while Dutch neutrality also made an Allied ’attack from behind’ impossible.

Belgian camps in the Netherlands

By the end of 1914, about 900,000 Belgian refugees had returned to their homes. A further 100,000 remained in the Netherlands for the rest of the war. Of these, about 20,000 were unable to support themselves and so they were cared for in special camps, set up throughout the country (Uden, Gouda, etc.). The Dutch government and the Dutch people made great efforts to ensure that all the refugees were treated as humanely as possible - although things did not always run smoothly.

The Belgian Army behind the River IJzer

After the fall of Antwerp, King Albert wished to seek peace terms. Queen Elisabeth and his staff were able to persuade him to change his mind. The badly weakened Belgian forces withdrew in haste to the River IJzer. Here they took up positions on the west bank, the last natural barrier in Belgium before the French border. King Albert asked his soldiers to make a final stand, in a desperate effort to keep this last small piece of Belgian territory from falling into German hands.

The retreat tow

ards the River

IJzer


61 The Beginning

The Beginning

60

Flooding the front

Diksmuide:Trench of Death

The Battle of the IJzer and the Battle of Diksmuide

In the middle of October 1914 the River IJzer and the canal to Ieper formed the last Belgian line of defence against the advancing invaders. The Germans reached the Ijzer on 18 October and heavy fighting immediately broke out.The villages of Keiem,Tervaete and Schoorbakke were at the centre of the storm. In a number of places, the Germans even succeeded in reaching the far bank of the river. Meanwhile, Belgian and French troops defended Diksmuide with great determination. Continuous bombardments quickly reduced the town to rubble. It was finally captured by the Germans on 10 November 1914. But the Allies had achieved their goal. The German advance had been halted and the Schlieffen Plan had failed.

The power of water

In October 1914, the possible flooding of the IJzer plain was discussed in Veurne town hall with Karel Cogge. Cogge was the superintendent of the Northern Waterways and knew the workings of the water system in this part of Belgium like the back of his hand. Even so, the first effort at flooding was only partially successful. However, when Hendrik Geeraert, a ship’s master from Nieuwpoort, succeeded in opening the sea locks, a huge mass of water flowed inland toward the low-lying plain. This old defensive tactic was highly effective and paralysed any further German movement in the Belgian sector of the front. On 30 October their attack ground to a halt. The German High Command had no idea what the Belgians were planning. Their army maps showed a German ’zero-metre waterline’ which was 2.40 metres higher than the actual waterline. As a result of the flooding, this sector

remained relatively quiet throughout the war. However, the Germans managed to hold on to a few isolated ’islands’ on the west bank of the river until 1918. Here, in the open plain, the situation was always dangerous.

Trench warfare

The front stabilised on the IJzer and later on the River Marne in France. Both sides started to dig in - four years of terrible trench warfare had begun. Barbed wire, artillery, machine guns, vermin, disease, cold and wet - not to mention poison gas, aeroplanes, flamethrowers and tanks - all conspired to make the front a living hell. By the end of 1914, the Western Front ran in an unbroken line of trenches from the North Sea coast at Nieuwpoort to the FrancoSwiss frontier.

The Belgian-Dutch border is electrified

During the summer of 1915, the Germans built a high fence along the Belgian-Dutch border. This fence was permanently electrified with a current of 2,000 volts. The Germans were particularly anxious to prevent deserters from escaping and to keep out refugees and spies. The fence ran in a more or less straight line from the North Sea to the River Meuse - a distance of some 180 kilometres. There was a patrol path along the wire, with look-out towers every 100 metres, complete with searchlights, alarms, mines, etc. Cross-border traffic was restricted to the public roads. Many smugglers fell victim to this ’wire of death’.


63 Four years of war

Four years of war

62

Over the top!

In the trench

Four years of war On the Western Front

But the Western Front is by no means the only front. There is also fighting in the east, on the Russian front, as well as in Turkey (Gallipoli and the Dardanelles) and in the Italian Dolomite mountains (near the border with Austria-Hungary). There are even campaigns in a number of African countries (Cameroon, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania).

1914

The war is not over ’before the leaves have fallen’ or ’by Christmas’, as many had hoped - and expected.

1915

The British and the French attempt to break through the German line.The Germans use flame-throwers for the first time on the French front. Near Ypres, asphyxiating gas is also used for the first time.

1916

The Germans try to ’bleed the French dry’ at Verdun. The battle lasts for 10 months and brings France to the verge of collapse. Both sides lose tens of thousands of soldiers. To reduce the pressure on Verdun, a joint Anglo-French attack is launched on the Somme. Tanks are employed for the first time but the offensive is a fiasco. On the first day of the battle alone, the British lose 60,000 men killed, wounded or missing. By the end of 1916, casualties on both sides are horrendous. r Prisoners of wa d soldier de carrying a woun

1917

To cut the Allied lines of supply, Germany declares unrestricted submarine warfare. Even neutral shipping is torpedoed without warning.This eventually leads to the United States of America declaring war on Germany in April 1917. However, the first American troops only come into action in 1918. The French Army suffers cruel and pointless losses during an offensive along the Chemin des Dames, also known as the Nivelle Offensive. The French troops decide to mutiny - or, rather, to go on strike. They are willing to defend their country, but not to take part in futile attacks. In order to break the mutiny, the French High Command sentences 554 soldiers to death. 49 are actually shot. However, a number of the mutineers’ demands are granted, including better food and leave. At the beginning of June, the British force a breakthrough at Messines (Mesen), following the explosion of 19 mines under the German positions. The offensive is continued in August with the opening of the Third Battle of Ypres and the capture of the village of Passchendaele (Passendale). Losses on both sides are enormous, for a territorial gain of just 8 kilometres. At Cambrai in France, 475 tanks attack the Germans on a 10 kilometre front with great - albeit temporary - success. War weariness begins to affect both the soldiers and the civilian populations of the warring nations. There are shortages of raw materials, fuel and food. Russia withdraws from the war after the October Revolution. This allows Germany to transfer almost 1 million troops from the Eastern to the Western Front.

1918

Germany starts a great Spring Offensive in the hope of winning the war before the Americans can arrive. Ypres is evacuated by the British and the Germans capture Mount Kemmel. In July the German advance is brought to a halt and the tide turns against them. Various Allied attacks are launched at Amiens, in the Argonne and along the Meuse, with the support of the Americans. In September,the final Allied breakthrough takes place in Flanders and on the French front. In Germany riots break out as a result of food shortages.


65 Four years of war

Four years of war

64

A Belgian soldier

The horror of war

The German people have had enough of the war. Mutinous sailors take over the naval base at Kiel. Civil disturbance spreads throughout the country. Emperor William II flees to the Netherlands and seeks asylum in Amerongen. An armistice is agreed in a railway carriage near the French town of Compiègne: the guns will finally cease at 11 o’clock on 11 November.

1919

In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles is signed. The map of Europe is redrawn: the balance of power is now very different than in 1914. Germany is forced to give up territory and to pay massive amounts of reparations to the Allies. A certain A.H. will later conclude that Germany was never defeated in the field and that Versailles is an injustice which must be avenged. The seeds of the Second World War are already sown. A total of more than 60 million soldiers are mobilised during the war. In all, the conflict costs the lives of 10 million people, without taking into account the many millions who are wounded or mutilated. In comparison with the Second World War, the civilian population escapes relatively lightly. Civilian casualties amount to just 5% of the total, in comparison with 48% in World War Two. The flower of European youth is decimated. For example, of the 700,000 British casualties, more than 71% are between 16 and 29 years of age! And in 1918-1919 Spanish flu claims more victims than the war in its entirety. This devastating influenza epidemic is named from the country where it first broke out. Estimates of the number of dead worldwide range from 20 to 100 million, depending on the sources used.

Four years of war In the ’Westhoek’, the Flanders Fields Country

The Germans wanted to seize the crucial Channel ports in France. This meant that they had to capture Ypres first. The high ground around the once famous cloth city and in neighbouring Heuvelland was of great strategic importance. Whoever held these heights was in a strong position: the hills overlooked the enemy, gave excellent observation for artillery and were easy to defend. As a result, the fight for these ridges and hills was bloody and hard. Early in the war the Ypres Salient was formed - a huge bulge in the British lines which jutted deep into the German-held territory. ’Remember Belgium!’ became a rallying cry which persuaded hundreds of thousands of British volunteers to fight in Flanders - in the small piece of Belgium now known as the Westhoek. The British soldiers called the city ’Wipers’ - a mispronunciation of Ypres (the French name for the city, which was used on the military maps of the time). It was a name destined to become famous throughout the English-speaking world. The Belgian Army occupied the sector from the coast at Nieuwpoort, through Diksmuide and up to the canal at Ypres. The British then took over the line between Ypres and the French border. The French then held the rest of the front between Picardy and the Swiss border.


67 Four years of war

Four years of war

66

Searching for a name

First Battle of Ypres (Ieper)

(19 October - 22 November 1914) After the German advance through Belgium and Northern France was halted in September 1914, the centre of the fighting shifted to the Westhoek.The Belgian Army halted the German attacks by flooding the IJzer plain (27-29 October 1914). To the south, the British and the French fought with great determination to prevent a German breakthrough at Ypres. This was the First Battle of Ypres, which raged from 22 October to 22 November 1914. When the battle was over, the Germans held the ring of high ground which overlooked the city. Both armies dug in and the famous Ypres Salient was born.

Second Battle of Ypres (Ieper)

(22 April - 25 May 1915) In the spring of 1915 the Germans made a new attempt to break through at Ypres. They captured Hill 60 and on 22 April 1915, between Steenstrate and Langemark, they used chlorine gas for the first time in modern warfare. 150 tons of gas were released from 6,000 cylinders directed against the French lines.The result was death, panic... and total surprise. The Allies were forced to withdraw for several kilometres, but there was no breakthrough. In September it was the turn of the Germans to be surprised, when the British used gas in their attack at Loos. Until the end of the war in November 1918, both sides bombarded each other with millions of gas shells. However, as a proportion of the total number of casualties, gas claimed relatively ’few’ victims.

The first gasmasks

Third Battle of Ypres (Ieper) (31 July - 10 November 1917)

The Mine Battle at Messines (Mesen)-Wijtschate Summer 1917. The great Mine Battle of 7 June to the south of Ypres - in the sector known to the British as Messines Ridge and to the Germans as the ”Wijtschate Bogen” - quite literally made the world shake. 19 mines were detonated under the German lines, causing explosions which could be heard as far away as London. In the beginning, this British offensive was a success. This was the prelude to the ill-fated Third Battle of Ypres. The Battle of Passendale The success at Messines was followed up in August with a new offensive: the Battle of Passendale. This battle was a complete disaster. The shells and the rain reduced the battlefield to a muddy swamp, through which neither attackers nor defenders could move. In four months the British lost 400,000 killed, wounded and missing for the gain of just 8 kilometres of territory.

Mud was the worst enemy


69 Four years of war

Four years of war

68

Colonial troops

Dead horses

The Germans had built strong concrete bunkers, defended with nests of machine guns that were almost impregnable. Passendale was a hell of mud, blood and superhuman endurance. Little wonder that British called the village ”Passiondale” - the valley of suffering. The year 1917 also saw the first use by the Germans of mustard gas or ’ieperiet’. As an ’improvement’ on chlorine and phosgene, mustard gas not only attacked the victim’s airways, but also caused the skin to erupt in hideously painful blisters.

German Spring Offensive

(April 1918) In the spring of 1918, the Germans were strengthened by the arrival of fresh divisions from the Eastern Front, where the October Revolution of 1917 had led to Russia’s withdrawal from the war. The German offensive began in March, in the sector between Arras and Laon. In April new attacks were launched near Ypres, where the Allied line was almost broken. During the Battle of Mer-

kem (near Houthulst) on 17 April 1918, the Belgian Army had to withstand a severe attack by the Germans. ’De Kippe’, a locality in Merkem, and a number of bunkers were initially lost. However, following fierce hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets and knives, the Germans were forced back to their original positions by nightfall. Losses on both sides were high: the Belgians suffered 155 dead and 354 wounded, against a German total of 254 dead and 1,211 wounded. 780 Germans were also taken prisoner. It was the first major Belgian victory since Halen in 1914. During the Battle of Mount Kemmel the French in particular were very hard pressed. On 25 April this strategically important hill was lost to the Germans and Ypres was almost captured.

The Final Offensive

(28 September - 11 November 1918) By now, German reserves had been exhausted and the Americans were start-ing to arrive on the Western Front in huge numbers. In Germany itself, the home front began to disintegrate. From 28 September until the Armistice on 11 November, a series of Allied offensives pushed the Germans back to the River Scheldt.

HARRY PATCH

Harry Patch (1899-2009) fought in Passendale when he was just 19 years of age. He was a member of a Lewis-gun team in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. On 22 September 1917 three of his best friends were killed by the explosion of a single shell. He was severely wound-ed by the same blast and spent 12 months in hospital. It was only after his 100th birthday that he began to speak about his war experiences. Harry was the last surviving veteran of the trenches. He died on 25 July 2009 at Wells in Somerset. ”Always remember the other side of the line”, he said during the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in 2008. A monument was inaugurated on 27 September 2008 in the Melkweg in Langemark, along the bank of the Steenbeek. This monument was created to commemorate all war casualties, an initiative taken by Harry Patch.


71 Four years of war

Four years of war

70

Duckboards and German prisoners

The Battle of Houthulst Forest Houthulst Forest was a key defensive position for the Germans throughout the war. The woods had been transformed into a veritable fortress, with its own narrow-gauge railway system, linked to the main railway network behind the lines. On Saturday, 28 September 1918 the Belgian Army attacked this formidable obstacle. Almost every Belgian unit was involved in the attack, which was supported by the British Second Army and a number of French divisions. The forest had been reduced to little more than a mass of shell-torn tree trunks, but by the end of the first day the Belgians had succeeded in capturing the German lines on a front which was 18 kilometres wide and 6 kilometres deep.

The Americans

At the end of the war, American troops played an important role in the final offensive. The 91st and 37th United States Divisions were involved in the reconquest of the region between the Scheldt and the Lys rivers in October-November 1918. Waregem The Flanders Fields American Cemetery is located near the town of Waregem, some 40 kilometres from Ypres. It is the smallest American cemetery on the European mainland and is also the only American cemetery from the First World War in Belgium. The central chapel contains the remains of 43 American soldiers in an unnamed collective grave. The cemetery itself has a total of 368 individual graves, of which 21 are ’unknowns’. On 30 May 1927, just 9 days after his famous transatlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh flew over the cemetery in his plane, the Spirit of Saint Louis, and dropped poppies in honour of his fallen countrymen. Kemmel Along the road from Ypres to Kemmel (near Vierstraat), there is an American memorial in the form of a stone altar, which commemorates the 27th and 30th American Divisions, who fought in this sector during August and September 1918. There is a similar American monument in Oudenaarde.

Chateau Wood

The Armistice of 11 November 1918

At the beginning of November an armistice was signed in a railway carriage near the French town of Compiègne. The First World War finally came to an end at 11 o’clock on the morning of 11 November 1918.

The Reconstruction

(1919 - 1967) After the war, the vast majority of the refugees returned home. A smaller number - particular Flemish farmers who had fled to France - remained in their adopted countries to build new lives there. In the area around the old front line, Ypres, Diksmuide and numerous villages had been completely destroyed. These ’Verwoeste Gewesten’ (Devastated Lands) were given a special status by the post-war government. The first emergency homes were gradually replaced by wooden barracks. Ruins were cleared away and the battlefields were ’cleaned up’. Trenches, shell-holes and craters were filled in. Ammunition was collected and made safe. The old houses and monuments were gradually rebuilt, one by one. The Nieuwerck - an annex to the Cloth Hall in Ypres, now used as part of the town hall - was only completed in 1967. This marked the final end of the so-called Period of Reconstruction. In 2007 a farmer was killed by the explosion of a 90 year-old shell. The war may have only lasted a single generation, but it will still be many generations before its fatal legacy is finally erased.

Ypres: Menin Gate


NIEUWPOORT-BAD

Slijpe

Lombardsijde

73

Sint-Godelieve

NIEUWPOORT

Oostduinkerke Ramskapelle

Koksijde

Schoorbakke

Wulpen

Moerdijk

Zevekote

Sint-Pieters-Kapelle Sint-Joris Mannekensvere Spermalie Schore

Eernegem

Moere

Zande

Leke Koekelare

Tervate Stuivekenskerke

Booitshoeke

nkerke

VEURNE

Oud-Stuivekens

Steenkerke Eggewaartskapelle

Zoutenaaie

Bulskamp

Fortem Vinkem

outem

Klerken

Lo

Knokkebrug

Staden

Fintele

Noordschote

Elzendamme

Stavele

veren-IJzer

During the four years of war in the Westhoek, more than half a million soldiers were killed or went missing. Above all, it was the British, the Germans, the French and the Belgians who found their final resting place here. More than half this total came from Great Britain and the lands of the Commonwealth.

HOUTHULST

Gijverinkhove Pollinkhove

Jonkershove Merkem

Vijfwegen

Reninge

Oostvleteren

Bikschote Westvleteren

Roesbrugge

Haringe

Woesten

Sint-Sixtus

Proven

Westrozebeke

LANGEMARK POELKAPELLE

Krombeke Zuidschote

Passendale Boezinge

Sint-Juliaan

Elverdinge Brielen Sint-Jan-ter-Biezen Brandhoek

ZONNEBEKE

(See Cemeteries from page 114 onwards). Potyze

IEPER

Reningelst

Dikkebus

Voormezele

FRANCE

Sint-Elooi De Klijte

Westouter

Zandvoorde Kruiseke

LEGEND The Allies Occupied by the Germans Frontline 1917 Flooding

Dranouter

Ten Brielen Houthem

Wijtschate

Kemmel

Wulvergem

Geluveld

Hollebeke

HEUVELLAND Loker

Beselare

Bellewaarde

Zillebeke Abele

Today their names can be found on the thousands of headstones which dot the countryside and on the panels of the Memorials to the Missing. Britons, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders lie buried in the more than 170 cemeteries which still surround the city of Ypres (now Ieper). Soldiers from the many colonies of the Moorsledeperiod also fought and died here: Senegalese, Moroccans, Algerians, Tunisians, Indians, Sikhs,… and even Chinese.

Sint-Jan

Vlamertinge

POPERINGE

The front in the ’Westhoek’ ”Thousands and thousands of soldiers...”

Woumen

Nieuwkapelle

Hoogstade

Kortemark

Handzame

Zarren

Oudekapelle

Alveringem

Izenberge

Werken

Esen

Sint-Jacobskapelle

Sint-Rijkers

isele

Edewalle

DIKSMUIDE

Kaaskerke

Lampernisse

Oeren

Bovekerke

Beerst Vladslo

Oostkerke

Wulveringem

A new weapon and the first gas masks

Keiem

Pervijze

Avekapelle

Ichtegem

Mokker

MESEN

Neerwaasten Waasten

Nieuwkerke Ploegsteert

WERVIK

Komen Wervicq-sud Comines

Friend and foe

The front in the ’Westhoek’

duinkerke-aan-Zee n-Zee


NIEUWPOORT-BAD

75

NIEUWPOORT

DE PANNE

VEURNE

DIKSMUIDE ALVERINGEM

Frontzate

Nieuwpoort Lock complex ’De Ganzenpoot’ (Goose’s Foot) and the Albert I Monument

Lock complex and Albert I Monument

HOUTHULST

It was here that the old railway line from Diksmuide to Nieuwpoort once ran, also known as ’Line 74’. In 1983 this isolated (and now disused) stretch of track was turned into a walking and cycling path. During the war the ’Frontzate’ was an important line of defence and Line 74 had a key strategic function. During the flooding of the IJzer plain, the raised railway embankment acted as a water buffer. A number of brick bunkers were built into the embankment, to offer protection to the troops. 70 or so bunkers between Pervijze and Nieuwpoort can still be seen: silent witnesses to this page in Belgian history.

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

74

From the Langebrug (Long Bridge) in Nieuwpoort, there is an excellent view of the famous ’Goose’s Foot’, a complex of locks where the river Ijzer, two shipping canals and three drainage canals all flow together. It was from here that the IJzer plain and front region was LANGEMARK flooded at the end of 1914. In peacetime, the sea locks allowed the low-lying coastal plain to shed its excess water, whilst at the same POELKAPELLE time regulating water levels in the canals for navigation purposes. At Ramskapelle high tide the gates of the sea lock remained closed, but at ebb tide The First World War was disastrous for the architectural heritage they were opened, to allow any surplus water to flow out to sea. The ZONNEBEKE of the front region. By the end of 1918, this polder village had been actual locks were used to move boats upstream and downstream. reduced to a heap of ruins. It was rebuilt during the 1920s. The superintendent ofPOPERINGE the Northern Waterways, Karel CoggeIEPER from Just over the now-disused railway there is a commemVeurne, knew how this network of canals, streams and overflows was I orative plaque to the 14th linked to the River IJzer via the locks at Nieuwpoort. Ship’s master King Albert Regiment of Line on the Hendrik Geeraert knew how to open the flood gates. The water level wall of the first house. rose, the River IJzer overflowed its banks and its surrounding plain This regiment lost more was flooded. As a result, the Germans were forced to retire and this HEUVELLAND than 100 men during sector of the front remained stable until the Final Offensive in 1918. WERVIK the recapture of the villNext to the Goose’s Foot stands the King Albert I Monument, which age in October 1914. The was dedicated in 1938 at the initiative of the Belgian NationalMESEN Assoold station was used as ciation of War Veterans. It was designed by Julien de Ridder and the an observation post. It sculptor was Karel Aubroeck. The platform on top of the memorial was finally abandoned in offers an excellent view of the IJzer plain and the port of Nieuwpoort, 1918, but was left in its with its fishing harbour and yachting marina. Orientation tables wartime state. The only indicate the most important places of interest. On the first Sunday in thing that has been chanAugust an annual national act of homage in honour of ’King Albert I ged is the replacement of and the Heroes of the IJzer’ is held here. Nearby stand a British and the original sandbags with a French memorial, as well as the so-called IJzer Monument. Info: T. 0032(0)-58 23 55 87 modern concrete copies. Open from 15 October to 28 February from 08.45 to 12.00 and from 13.15 to 17.00. From 1 March to 14 October from 08.45 to 12.00 and from 13.15 to 18.00. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Entrance fee: € 1

The Goose’s Foot during the war


VEURNE

77 DIKSMUIDE ALVERINGEM

HOUTHULST

The Ijzer Tower and Gate of Peace

Diksmuide

LANGEMARK POELKAPELLE

IJzer Tower, Gate of Peace and IJzer Crypt

Since 1924, an annual pilgrimage of remembrance to this shrine at Kaaskerke (near Diksmuide) has been organised. These three monuZONNEBEKE ments commemorate the heroic struggle of the Flemish people to achieve their national identity, but also reflect the desire of all nations for peace. The first IJzer Tower was built in the 1930s, as a mePOPERINGE IEPER morial to the Flemish soldiers who had died at the front, which ran along the line of the River IJzer between 1914 and 1918. During the Second World War, the site was the scene of various GermanFlemish ceremonies. This original tower was destroyed by an explosion in 1946 and it was not until 1965 that a new structure arose, HEUVELLAND phoenix-like, from its ashes. In recent years, the 22 floors of the new tower have been devoted to a museum on the themes of ’War, WERVIK MESEN Peace and the Emancipation of Flanders’. The real atmosphere of the Great War still lingers within the memorial compound. An underground passageway and a reconstructed dug-out give some small idea of what conditions must have been like. In addition, each year a number of thematic exhibitions are organised. The view from the top of the 84 metre tower offers a magnificent panorama over the old front-line and over the Westhoek as a whole. From 30 March until 30 December 2012 the exhibition Gott mit uns shows the use of faith during war and the manifestations of religion in the trenches. Ijzerdijk 49 - Info: T.0032(0)-51 50 02 86 - www.ijzertoren.org Open from 1 April to 30 September from 09.00 to 18.00. From 1 October to 31 March from 09.00 to 17.00. Weekend and public holidays days from 10.00. Closed on 24, 25, 26 & 31 December and 1 & 2 January, and for the three weeks following the Belgian Christmas holidays. Entrance fee: € 7 - <26y.: € 1

The Angels of Pervijze

At the end of November 1914, two British nurses arrived on the Belgian front. In particular, Elisabeth Knocker was struck by the number of wounded who died unnecessarily, simply because of the distance they had to be transported before treatment. For this reason, she wanted to set up an aid post near the front line. In Pervijze (near Diksmuide) she worked with Mairi Chisholm in a cellar less than 50 metres from the trenches. Elisabeth was even able to make an unusual agreement with the Germans - they allowed her to collect wounded soldiers who had been left behind in No Man’s Land. Her dog took a request to the German commander in the opposing trenches. If he agreed - which usually happened - she was able to move between the lines in safety. The Germans would not shoot, provided she was wearing her nurse’s cap - and not a helmet. Both nurses were decorated by King Albert in January 1915.

O.-L.-Vrouwehoekje (Our Lady’s Corner)

Stuivekenskerke Our Lady’s Corner (O.-L.-Vrouwehoekje) in Stuivekenskerke is located between Nieuwpoort and Diksmuide. The church tower was an important Belgian outpost during the war, and its preserved ruins contain an orientation table which highlights key places of interest on the IJzer front. The adjacent chapel of remembrance is ringed by memorial stones to units of the Belgian army which served near here. There is also an original demarcation stone, with the inscription: ”Here the invader was brought to halt...” The nearby railway embankment still contains dugouts and other interesting relics from the war years. This embankment marked the Belgian front line for much of the period 1914 -1918.

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

76

Always open, free entrance

The ’Trench of Death’

Two kilometres further along the River IJzer stands one of the most evocative reminders of the war in the Westhoek: the so-called ’Trench of Death’. This kilometre-long network of revetments, saps and dug-outs was one of the most dangerous Belgian positions on the Western Front, situated just 50 metres from a German bunker. As a result, the trench was subjected to almost constant fire from German snipers and machine guns. The site was recently renovated and a new visitors centre was opened. Using maps, photographs, videos and war memorabilia, a permanent exhibition in the centre shows the relative positions of friend and foe, charts the destruction of the surrounding towns and villages and tells the story of life - and death - in the front-line. Along the de Yzer - Info: T.0032(0)-51 50 53 44 Open from 1 April to 15 November from 10.00 to 16.30. From 16 November to 31 March on Tuesday and Friday from 09.30 to 15.30. Entrance free. Closed from 25 December until 3 January.

The angels of Pervijze


79

Vladslo - The ’Grieving Parents’

Belgian soldiers

The ’Grieving Parents’

Vladslo This group of statues by the famous German Expressionist artist Käthe Kollwitz is one of the most moving and memorable reminders of the terrible price of war. She created the sculpture to commemorate the death of her son at the front in 1914. It now stands at the rear of the German military cemetery in Vladslo (See page 124). Houtlandstraat 3, 8600 Vladslo (Diksmuide)

The Little Bunker

Oudekapelle This little bunker near the hamlet of Groigne is something of a curiosity. It is definitely a Belgian bunker, built in 1918. However, there is an unusual feature on its southern side: the entrance has a pointed horseshoe arch with an inscription in Arabic! Translated, this inscription reads: ’There is no greater God than Allah. Whosoever believes in Allah will triumph, as at the victories of Tadmoor and Namar’. The inscription was probably made by Muslims soldiers serving in the French army. Grote Beverdijkstraat - 8600 Oudekapelle (Diksmuide).

Diksmuide: Trench of Death

Belgian Military Cemetery at Keiem See page 115

German Military Cemetery at Vladslo See page 124

Käthe Kollwitz

This famous German artist and sculptress was born in July 1867 as Käthe Schmidt in the Prussian city of Köningsberg (now Kaliningrad in Russia). In 1891 she married Karl Kollwitz, a local doctor. The couple - who were widely known for their deep social commitment - had two sons: Hans (born in 1892) and Peter (born in 1896). Peter was killed near Esen on 22 October 1914. His heartbroken mother who was a leading member of the Expressionist school of art in Germany - planned a memorial for her lost son. This took much longer than originally intended but by 1931 a plaster version of the ’Grieving Parents’ was finally ready. During the following year the sculpture was carved from Belgian granite by August Rhades and Fritz Diederich. In July 1932 the finished work was erected in the Roggeveld German military cemetery at Esen, near Diksmuide. This cemetery, togther with the statues, was later tranferred to its present site in Vladslo. In 1933 Käthe Kollwitz was removed from the Prussian Academy of Art by the Nazis and the public display of her work was banned from 1935 onwards. She died at Moritzberg on 22 April 1945.

Esen near Diksmuide

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

78


81

HOUTHULST

LANGEMARK POELKAPELLE

The road to Passchendaele…

ZONNEBEKE

POPERINGE

Houthulst

Langemark-Poelkapelle

IEPER

The Peace Mill

Klerken The Germans occupied the village of Klerken in November 1914. Despite the severity of the bomHEUVELLAND bardments, the windmill remained relatively intact. It stands on a 43 metre-high hill and was MESEN post. On used by the Germans as an observation 28 September 1918 the Belgians launched their final attack on Klerken. The Germans in the mill were surrounded but held their ground. The next morning they had all disappeared. Legend has it that they made use of an underground tunnel to escape. The attack on Klerken cost the lives of 554 Belgian soldiers. The mill was recently damaged in a storm but will be repaired. Molenweg

Drie Grachten (Three Canals)

Merkem In 1914 and 1915 this bridge was an important outpost for first Belgian and later French troops. A memorial plaque on the wall commemorates a celebrated action by the French Zouaves. On 10 November 1914, 500 Zouaves attacked strong German positions with cold steel. The attack failed, largely because the Zouaves preceded it with bugle calls and loud shouts of ’en avant à la bayonette’ (forward with the bayonet!). All surprise was lost and there were heavy casualties on both sides. Two days later, the Germans launched their own attack on the Drie Grachten. They tried to shield their advance by making captured Zouaves walk ahead of them into No Man’s Land. Suddenly, one of the Zouaves cried out: ’Tirez donc nom de Dieu, ce sont les Boches’ (Shoot us, for God’s sake: it’s the Germans!). The attack failed. In 1915 the Germans finally managed to capture this advanced position and they held it until it was retaken by the French at the end of 1917. Driegrachtensteenweg - 8650 Merkem

Belgian Military Cemetery Houthulst

See page 116 Poelkapelle: the inauguration of the Guynemer monument in 1923

The Brooding Soldier

WERVIK

Sint-Juliaan The Canadian Forces Memorial at Sint-Juliaan was erected in remembrance of the 2,000 dead of the First Canadian Division, who were killed in the fighting which followed the German gas attack of 22 April 1915. The monument dates from 1921 and was designed by F.C. Clemeshaw. It is also known as ’The Brooding Soldier’ - a reference to the grieving Canadian warrior, his head bowed in sorrow and his hands resting on the butt of his upturned rifle. It is generally regarded as one of the most poignant military memorials in the Salient. Crossroads Brugseweg-Zonnebekestraat - 8920 Sint-Juliaan

Guynemer Monument

Poelkapelle Perhaps one of the most impressive French memorial in the Salient is the monument erected in memory of the French pilot Georges Guynemer in Poelkapelle. Guynemer was one of the great pioneers of aerial warfare and in 1917 the skies above Poelkapelle were the scene of some of his most memorable actions. It was here that he disappeared on 11 September 1917 during a routine mission. His body was never recovered. The Guynemer monument was inaugurated on 8 July 1923 and is crowned by a graceful stork - a reference to the great ace’s squadron: l’Escadrille des Cigognes.

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

80


83 LANGEMARK POELKAPELLE

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

82

ZONNEBEKE

POPERINGE

IEPER

Pals...

Charles Dresse Monument

Poelkapelle This slightly neglected monument with an obelisk and a Breton cross was erected in 1922. The text is in both Dutch and French (which was unusual for that time). It is dedicated to Charles Dresse, who was born in Liege on 23 January 1897 and died in this vicinity on 28 September 1918. He is now buried in the Belgian military cemetery at Westvleteren. Poperingestraat

German Military Cemetery Langemark See page 123

Georges Guynemer

Georges Guynemer was a famous French pilot who won many aerial duals. Born in Paris on 24 December 1894, his small size intially made it difficult for him to enlist in the services. He was finally accepted into the infant air force as a non-commissioned officer but was soon promoted to the rank of captain. He shot down his first enemy plane in July 1915 and went on to claim no fewer than 53 victims, earning him the name of the ’Legendary Guynemer’. On 11 September 1917 he set off in his favourite Spad biplane for a reconnaisance mission over the Ypres Salient. He never returned. When the British later captured the village of Poelkapelle, they heard tales of a Spad which had been shot down nearby. Sadly, subsequent bombardments had obliterated all trace of the plane and Guynemer’s body was never recovered.There is still a monument to this greatest of all French aces in Poelkapelle, crowned by a flying stork - the symbol of his squadron: L’Escadrille des Cigognes.

Zonnebeke

HEUVELLAND

Passchendaele 1917 Memorial Museum

WERVIK

In 1917 more than 400,000 soldiers were lost in the course of just one MESEN hundred days, and all for a paltry territorial gain of a few kilometres of shell-torn mud. The final objective for this unprecedented slaughter was the village of Passendale - then known as Passchendaele. The memory of this tragedy has been preserved for posterity in the Memorial Museum in Zonnebeke. Using authentic photographic material, a wide collection of historical objects and several realistic dioramas, the museum tells the story of the battle as it was experienced by the troops. Pride of place goes to a reconstruction of a 6 metre-deep British dugout, complete with communications and first-aid posts, headquarters and sleeping facilities. In anticipation of 2014, the renewed and enlarged Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 will be opened. The enlargement results in a new underground museum  focusing on the Battle of Passchendaele, a network of open air trenches and a new remembrance gallery. In this way the museum walk is extended up to 400 metres, along which 5.000 exhibits can be seen.The museum is housed in the historic park of Zonnebeke Château and is close to Tyne Cot Cemetery, to which it is linked by a special walking and cycling path. Château park - Info: T. 0032(0)-51 77 04 41 www.zonnebeke.be - www.passchendaele.be Open from 1 February to 30 November, from 9.00 to 17.00. Entrance fee: € 5 - < 26y.: € 1

Memorial Museum

Passchendaele 19

The Passchendaele Archives’. The Passchendaele Archives is a project of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917. With ’The Passchendaele Archives’ the museum wants to put a face and a story on those names by building up personal archives with photographs, family information and copies from military sources. Did a relative of yours fight in Passchendaele 1917? Did he give his life? If you have a photograph, please contact the MMP1917. In return for your cooperation we will try to find out what exactly happened to your relative.

17


85

Cryer Farm

Passchendaele

Command bunker

Zandvoorde Just outside the village of Zandvoorde there is a German command bunker, dating from 1916. With 6 rooms and 2 entrances, this is one of the most impressive examples of German military architecture still surviving in the Salient. The bunker served as a link between the front-line in Hollebeke and headquarters units in Komen. Komenstraat - Info: T. 0032(0)-51 77 04 41 www.zonnebeke.be - www.passchendaele.be Permanent free access, from sunrise to sunset.

Crypt

In the civil cemetery in Zonnebeke there is a crypt with fourteen separate coffins, which contain the remains of Zonnebeke’s war dead. This sad and slightly lugubrious collection of bones is unique in Belgium. Civil cemetery - Info: T. 0032(0)-51 77 04 41 - www.zonnebeke.be Permanent free access, from sunrise to sunset.

Cryer Farm

Geluveld Also dating from 1916, a further German aid post can still be seen along the Menin-Ieper road, near the locality known as Clapham Junction. This post was captured in September 1917 by the British lieutenant Cryer, who lost his life in the process. Menenstraat - Info: T. 0032(0)-51 77 04 41 www.zonnebeke.be - www.passchendaele.be Only accessible on appointment. Please contact the Tourist Office.

’The Road to Passchendaele’

This route allows walkers and cyclists to trace the advance of the Allied forces on 4 October 1917, a key day in the Battle of Passchendaele. The old railway bed of the now disused Ieper-Roeselare line links the Memorial Museum with Tyne Cot Cemetery, over a distance of 3 kilometres. Along the way, there are various bunkers and other relics of the war to be seen. School groups can book a special ’Platoon Experience’, which will allow them to follow in the personal footsteps of a soldier from 1917. Info: T. 0032(0)-51 77 04 41 www.zonnebeke.be - www.passchendaele.be ’Platoon Experience’ only available for pupils older than 14 years of age. Reservations via the Tourist Office.

Polygon Wood

Polygon Wood is a large wood,which was completely destroyed in the First World War.There you will find a burial ground named ’Buttes New British Cemetery’ with the ’New Zealand Memorial’. It commemorates 383 officers and men of the New Zealand Division. On top of the the ’butte’ (hill) you will find the Memorial of the 5th Australian Division. In Polygon Wood there are still remains of several shelters. Each year on ANZAC Day (25 April), the efforts of the ANZAC soldiers are commemorated during a service called ’Dawn Service’. Polygon Wood Cemetery lies on the other side of the road.

Tyne Cot Cemetery See page 118

Crest Farm Canadian Memorial

This monument commemorates the commitment of the Canadian Corps which during the Battle of Passchendaele suffered heavy losses here, but eventually managed to take Passchendaele church though. Crest Farm is situated on high ground, offering an excellent view over the battlefield. Passchendaele church is barely 700 metres off. However, it took the Canadian troops almost 10 days to get that far. The road between the monument and the church is called Canadalaan. Every year on the evening of the 10th November, there is a ceremony with torch parade to the church. Location: Canadalaan, Passendale - Free admission

Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

84


LANGEMARK POELKAPELLE

87

ZONNEBEKE

POPERINGE

IEPER

In Flanders Fields Museum HEUVELLAND

Ieper (YPRES)

WERVIK MESEN

Symbol of sacrifice In the Middle Ages Ypres became world famous because of its cloth trade. Commercial relations flourished, particularly with England, which provided much of the wool on which the town’s great prosperity was based. The most obvious symbol of this prosperity was the magnificent Cloth Hall, built during the 13th century.Ypres was occupied by the German army for one night at the beginning of the Great War. It was recaptured on 14 October 1914 - and remained in Allied hands until the end of hostilities. Some five million British and Commonwealth soldiers passed through Ypres on their way to the Salient. Reduced to rubble by constant bombardment, the town came to symbolise the meaningless slaughter of the Great War. After the Armistice, the British government wished to acquire the ruins of Ypres as a permanent memorial to the sacrifices of its army between 1914 and 1918. However, the returning refugees wanted to rebuild their homes and the wishes of the local population finally prevailed. Now restored to its former grandeur, Ypres - now Ieper - still contains numerous poignant sites and monuments linked to the war.

e

all under fir

The Cloth H

Ypres after the war

In Flanders Fields Museum

Between the opening in April 1998 and the closing in November 2011, the In Flanders Fields museum could welcome more than 2.850.000 visitors. The new version of the museum opens its doors to the public on 11 June 2012 to tell the story of the Great War in Flanders again: 50% larger, with a completely new scenography and with numerous new angles. As the last witnesses have now passed away, the museum is more than ever the portal to the First World War in Flanders. On top of this, visitors will also have the opportunity to climb the belfry tower and to enjoy the exceptional views of the once so heavily troubled region. Hence, the renovation of the museum goes much further than a new presentation and embellishment only. It is not only larger, but the interactive aspect of the museum visit has been extended even more to enable the visitor to discover and experience the WWI stories more intensively. Coth Hall, Market Place 34 - 8900 Ypres - Info : +32 (0)57 239 220 www.inflandersfields.be - Open : 11 June 2012 - 15 November : daily from 10.00 to 18.00. 16 November - 31 March: until 17.00 only, and also closed on Mondays and 3 weeks after the Christmas holidays. Ticket sale stops 1 hour before closing time. Entrance fees: € 8,00 - < 26 y. ; € 1,00 - visit belfry tower: € 2,00 - The visitor pays 1,00 EUR on top of the admission fee for the poppybracelet with micro chip. After the visit he or she can keep the bracelet or hand it in and redeem 1,00 EUR at the museum reception.

Yorkshire Trench & Dug-Out

Boezinge The war is still ever-present in the Ieper area. Not only in the landscape, with its hundreds of cemeteries, monuments and relics, but also underground. This underground war can still be found at a depth of between 60 and 70 cm, something the local population quickly learned, when from 1997 onwards a new industrial site was developed along the Ieper - Ijzer canal. Numerous vestiges of the war were soon discovered: unexploded ammunition, constructions, human remains… Since then, the bodies of some 205 soldiers of three different nation-alities have been recovered. The city acquired a small plot of land, for the creation of a memorial site by the In Flanders Fields Museum. This plot marks the location of ’Yorkshire Trench’, originally dug by the British in 1915. In close consultation with the archaeological team, the trench was restored along its original route, including the entrance and exit of a deep dug-out from 1917. At the IFF Museum, a film, a scale model and an interactive stand, including an exhibition of the objects found in the dug-out, give a deeper insight into this fascinating and little-known aspect of the war ”in the wet, wet Flanders’ plain.” Industrial estate along the Ieper -Ijzer canal - Bargiestraat, 8904 Boezinge The site is permanently open (sunrise to sunset) and entrance is free

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

86


89

Essex farm

Ypres, the Menin Gate in 1928

Canal Bank - site John McCrae

One of the best known sites in the Ypres Salient is Essex Farm Cemetery and A.D.S. (Advanced Dressing Station), where John McCrae wrote his world-famous poem ’In Flanders Fields’ at the beginning of May 1915. In addition to the cemetery and the adjacent concrete shelters of the old dressing station, the bank of the canal has also recently been opened to the public over a distance of 450 metres. It was here that the guns of the 1st Canadian Artillery Brigade stood in April 1915 and it was on this spot shortly afterwards that the Royal Engineers built a number of shelters and dugouts for the protection of the troops in the high canal bank. This bank had originally been dug in the 17th century by the French military architect Vauban as a ’retranchement’, a large fortification alongside the canal, which for more than 50 years constituted the northern border of Louis XIV’s French empire. Shortly after the 1918 armistice, the numerous bunkers in the bank also served as temporary accommodation for many of the refugees returning home. High on the canal bank stands a monument to the 49th West Riding Division, which was first deployed here in the summer of 1915 and suffered heavy losses. next to Diksmuidseweg 148, 8900 Ypres

Mine craters

In comparison with many other offensives, the Mine Battle of 7 June 1917 - also known as the Battle of Messines Ridge - was one of the most successful British operations on the Western Front during the war. This offensive was opened with the explosion of 19 large mines and traces of 16 craters are still visible to this day, almost all in the shape of deep ponds. Until recently, only the famous Lone Tree Crater in Wijtschate (commonly known as the Pool of Peace) was open to the public. However, in 2001 the Province of West Flanders also acquired the ’Domain De Vierlingen’ (near Hill 60), which contains the Caterpillar Crater. Due to the proximity of the nearby railway cutting, this crater is the only one in Flanders that is not filled with water. Since mid 2003, it has also been possible to visit the mine crater at St. Eloi, which was the result of the largest deep mine (50 tons of ammonal) detonated during the war. The crater is flanked by an intact British bunker from 1917 and stands just 100 metres from another crater (on the opposite side of the road), the result of one of the six mines exploded on 27 March 1916 during the Attack on St. Eloi. next to Rijselseweg 214, 8902 Voormezele from 10.00 to 17.00. Access code available at the Ypres tourist office.

The Menin Gate

The Menin Gate is the most famous Commonwealth war memorial in Flanders. It was designed in classical style by Sir Reginald Blomfield and stands on the site of one of the old town gates. Tens of thousands of soldiers passed through this gate on the way to the front, many of them never to return. Opened in 1927, the memorial bears the names of 54.896 soldiers who were reported missing in the Ypres Salient between the outbreak of war and 15 August 1917. Because the gate was too small to hold the names of all the missing, those who were lost after this date (a further 34,000) are commemorated on the panels of the Tyne Cot Memorial in Passendale. The Last Post Ceremony takes place each day under the Menin Gate at 20.00. Info: T. 0032(0)-57 48 66 10 - www.lastpost.be

John McCrae

In 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres, this military doctor worked in an aid post near the Ieperlee Canal in Boezinge. Born in Canada in 1872, McCrae originally saw active service as a volunteer during the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902). He resigned from the army in 1901, but re-enlisted again on the outbreak of war in August 1914. On 22 April 1915 he was amongst the first to treat the casualties of the terrible chlorine gas attack. Deeply affected by what he had seen, at the beginning of May 1915 he wrote his famous poem, ’In Flanders Fields’. McCrae died of a cerebral haemorrhage (brought on by pneumonia) at Wimereux (France) on 28 January 1918. The poppy, which his poem had made so famous, eventually became the symbol for the sacrifice of war: perhaps because its thrives in devastation and grows where everything else is dead. ”Red is the leaf and the blood, black is the heart of sorrow…”

In Flanders fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly, Scarce heard amid the guns below.

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

88


91

Hill 60

A trench landscape

St. George’s Memorial Church

St. George’s Memorial Church was built in 1929 in honour of the soldiers and units of the British army who served in the Ypres Salient during the war. Designed by Reginald Blomfield in the style of an English parish church, it contains many poignant memorials to both individuals and regiments. The small school next to the church was known as the Eton College School. For many years, it provided education for the children of the many British employees of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This British community was forced to flee Ieper during the Second World War. Few returned after 1945 and the school was eventually closed. It now serves as the church hall. Elverdingsestraat 1 - Open daily.

’In Flanders Fields’ Knowlegde Centre

This centre is a repository for more than 13,000 books, 500 topographic maps, an extensive photographic library and hundreds of newspapers and magazines about the First World War. Temporarily closed to the public. From 11 June 2012 on: Sint-Maartensplein 3 - 8900 Ypres +32 (0)57 239 450 - stedelijke.musea@ieper.be Open: from Monday to Friday, between 10.00 and 17.00

Hill 62 - Sanctuary Wood

Zillebeke At Hill 62 in Zillebeke, there is an impressive memorial to commemorate the Canadian forces who served in the Ypres Salient. ’Maple Avenue’ - the road which now leads to this memorial - once formed part of the Canadian front line. After the war, the avenue was planted with maple trees as a mark of respect for the Canadian sacrifice (the maple leaf is the national symbol of Canada). The memorial stands on top of the hill, surrounded by a pleasant park. It was the scene of fierce fighting in June 1916, but now offers peaceful views of the spires of Ieper.

Other museums

Ramparts War Museum - Ieper Private museum. Models and tableau's depicting scenes from the war, using original material and artefacts recovered from the battlefields. Rijselsestraat 208 - Info: T. 0032(0)-57 20 02 36 - Entrance fee: € 3 Access via Café ”t Klein Rijsel”. Open from 10.30 to 20.00. Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Sanctuary Wood Museum - Zillebeke Private museum with original wartime trenches. Interesting collection of war photographs on original glass plates.

Hill 60

Canadalaan 26 - Info: T. 0032(0)-57 46 63 73 - Entrance fee: € 10

Zillebeke This hill was created by the earth excavated from the adjacent railway cutting. In 1914 it was captured by the Germans from the French. Later, this sector was taken over by the British, who began an underground war of mines and counter-mines. The first British ”deep’ mine was exploded on 17 February 1915. Following a second detonation on 17 April 1915, the British were able to temporarily seize the hill, but it was soon lost. The underground war continued until the beginning of June 1917 (Third Battle of Ypres). Countless soldiers worked in the cold and the dark of the mine tunnels. Some of them died there and are still buried beneath the clay. In this sense, Hill 60 is their cemetery. Site preserved in its original wartime state, complete with craters, bunkers,memorials, etc. Zwarteleenstraat 8902, Zillebeke

Hooge Crater Museum - Zillebeke Private museum with photographs, weapons, equipment and life-size reconstructions of scenes from the war years. A stained-glass window portrays the burning of the Cloth Hall in Ieper on 22 November 1914. Meenseweg 467 - Info: T. 0032(0)-57 46 84 46 - Entrance fee: € 4.50 Open from 1 February to 23 December. Closed on Mondays.

Menin Road Museum - Zillebeke Private museum with life-like displays, original artefacts and reconstructions of trenches and dug-outs. Meenseweg 470 - Info: T. 0032(0)-57 20 11 36 www.meninroadmuseum.com - Admission: € 3.50 - Closed on Tuesdays.

Site ’t Hooghe - Kasteelhof ’t Hooghe Remnants of the numerous mine impacts near the strategically important Hooge can be seen in the garden of the Kasteelhof ’t Hooghe hotel. An original trench has been exposed here in 1995. Meenseweg 481 - 8902 Ieper +32 (0)57 468 787 - www.hotelkasteelhofthooghe.be The site can be visited at a donation of € 1,00 in the collecting box.

Saint Charles de Potyze French Military Cemetery See page 122

Commonwealth War Graves Commission See page 121 Hill 60

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

90


ZONNEBEKE

92 IEPER

HEUVELLAND WERVIK MESEN

British soldiers moving a gun into position

Heuvelland

THE LAST POST

Every evening at 8 pm, a deeply moving ceremony takes place under the vast arch of the Menin Gate: the traffic stops and buglers from the local fire brigade play ’The Last Post’. The ceremony was begun in 1928 and the buglers have performed it faithfully ever since, although they were banned from playing during the German occupation of 1940-44. Brookwood Barracks in England took over the ceremony during the war, but the tradition was immediately re-established on the first day after the liberation in September 1944. Sometimes the ceremony is attended by just a few spectators; on more formal occasions, hundreds can be present. Irrespective of numbers, the Last Post remains a unique and moving experience. Daily at 20.00 under the Menin Gate Info: T. 0032(0)-57 48 66 10 - www.lastpost.be

During the ceremony a verse from the poem ’For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon is usually read out:

’They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them’.

Francis Ledwidge

Despite his strong Irish nationalist sentiments, this poet enlisted in the British Army during the Great War. Born in 1887 at Slane, deep in the old heartlands of Ireland, he was killed near the Carrefour des Roses (Rose Crossroad) on 31 July 1917 - the opening day of the Third Battle of Ypres. He is buried nearby in ArtilleryWood Military Cemetery.His poems are mainly about Ireland,buthealsowrotesomefinepiecesabouthiswartimeexperiences: Soliloquy, A Soldier’s Grave, Home, Ascension Thursday:1917. His most famous poem was his Lament for Thomas MacDonagh, who was shot by the British following the abortive Easter Uprising in Dublin in 1916. Ledwidge was a man dedicated to the poet’s art and a memorial in his honour now stands near the spot where he was killed, alongside the cycle path on the site of the old railway line to Torhout.

y ar the bittern cr He shall not he where he is lain, In the wild sky, e sweeter birds, Nor voices of th g of the rain. lin Above the wai Donagh’) ac

t for Thomas M

(From ’Lamen

Heuvelland Tourist Office

Kemmel The Tourist Office at Kemmel is the ideal starting point for your journey of discovery through the history of the First World War in Heuvelland. In the Tourist Office, it is also possible to view the documentary ’Zero Hour’ - the story of the mine battles of 1917. This documentary is a combination of aerial photography, live recordings, archive material and re-enacting. For more information about the mine battles, please consult the website www.zerohour.be Sint-Laurentiusplein 1 - 8950 Kemmel (Heuvelland) Info: T. 0032(0)-57 45 04 55 - www.heuvelland.be Open on workdays from 9.00 to 12.00 and from 13.15 to 17.00. On Saturday from 9.30 to 17.00 and on Sunday from 10.00 to 12.00. Closed on holidays. From 1 April to 14 November also open on Sunday from 14.00 to 17.00 and on holdiays from 10.00 to 12.00 and from 14.00 to 17.00.

Pool of Peace

Wijtschate The Pool of Peace (or Lone Tree Crater) in Wijtschate is a now peaceful reminder of the great Mine Battle of 1917. On 7 June 1917, the British attempted to capture Messines Ridge, a strategically important area of high ground around the villages of Wijtschate and Mesen (Messines). The opening of the offensive was marked by the detonation of 19 deep mines under the German lines between Ploegsteert and Hill 60. The explosions formed enormous craters in the landscape. The largest and most impressive crater is the Pool of Peace. It is 12 metres deep and has a diameter of 129 metres. The site is administered by the provincial government of West Flanders. Kruisstraat - Info: T. 0032(0)-57 45 04 55 - www.heuvelland.be Permanent free access, from sunrise to sunset.

The Pool of Peace

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

POPERINGE

93


95

Bayernwald from the air

Bunkers on the Lettenberg

Bayernwald (Bayern Wood)

Wijtschate This unique German site is located between the villages of Wijtschate and Voormezele. The site consists of two mine galleries, a mine shaft, a trench system and five bunkers. It is accessed via a footpath which passes through the restored network of trenches. A series of information panels give details of the events which took place here and explain what life at the front was really like. Tickets only for sale in the Tourist Office in Kemmel. Voormezelestraat, near Croonaert Wood Info: T. 0032(0)-57 45 04 55 www.heuvelland.be Entrance fee: individual € 5 pp, -26 years € 1 pp, groups € 2,5 pp

The Lettenberg Hill

Kemmel The ’Lettenberg’ hill (79 m) is a spur of the much larger Kemmel Hill, which dominates its position. Towards the end of 1916, the British engineers and tunnellers started to excavate an underground headquarters complex at Kemmel Hill, which was the most important British observation post in the sector. Between 4 April and the end of May 1917, the 175th Tunnelling Company worked on the construction of a new brigade headquarters under the Lettenberg. The concrete bunkers which gave access to this headquarters have now been restored. There are four shelters, built in reinforced concrete, which was poured in moulds of corrugated sheeting. Each shelter has an entrance and a window on the western side. Access to the site is via a footpath with explanatory information panels. Lokerstraat - Info: T. 0032(0)-57 45 04 55 - www.heuvelland.be Permanent free access, from sunrise to sunset.

French Monument

Kemmel On the summit of Kemmel Hill there is an impressive French memorial which commemorates the heavy fighting which took place here in April 1918. The memorial is known popularly as ’The Angel’.

French Ossuary See page 122

French Soldiers

Achiel van Walleghem

Achiel van Walleghem was curate in the village of Dikkebus during the war and kept a diary of events in his parish. He noted what people experienced and felt. The manuscript, which testifies to his great humanity, was edited and re-written by Achiel himself after the war.

”In the morning, an English soldier was shot against the wall of the convent because he refused to go to the trenches. His own pals were forced to do it. Many soldiers have told me how terrible it is to have to shoot a mate. Some of them cry from guilt and remorse…” In these words, the curate described the execution of Private William Smith in a field behind the convent in Reningelst on 14 November 1917. ’Shot at dawn’.

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

94


97 HEUVELLAND WERVIK MESEN

The Irish Peace Park and Peace Tower

Messines (Mesen) The Irish Peace Park and Peace Tower

In the Irish Peace Park in Mesen (Messines), a round tower serves as a memorial in honour of Irishmen of all denominations who died during the First World War. The tower transcends religious and political differences, aspiring to be a symbol of reconciliation, not only for the past, but also for the present and the future. During the Battle of Messines, which started on 7 June 1917, the Catholic and Protestant Irish divisions (the 16th Irish and the 36th Ulster) fought side by side to gain the ridge on which the villages of Wijtschate and Mesen stand. Armentiersesteenweg Free access from Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 17.00. Guided visits are possible, also on Saturday. Please contact the Tourist Office.

The New Zealand Monument

The New Zealand Division was also heavily engaged in the Battle of Messines in 1917. Each year, on 25 April, the New Zealand and Australian dead are commemorated on ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). Mesen (Messines) is twinned with the town of Featherston in New Zealand: quite literally on the other side of the world. Nieuw-Zeelanderstraat Free access from Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 17.00. Guided visits are possible, also on Saturday. Please contact the Tourist Office.

Messines Ridge Memorial to the Missing

This memorial is located at the entrance to Messines Ridge British Cemetery and bears the names of 839 New Zealand soldiers who died during the Battle of Messines and have no known grave. There are similar memorials to New Zealand’s war dead in Tyne Cot Cemetery and Buttes New British Cemetery. Nieuwkerkestraat

The International Peace School

The Peace School is an initiative launched by the Catholic and Protestant communities of Northern Ireland. In addition to being an educational project, the school is also intended as a place of contemplation, where it is possible to reflect on the madness of war.The fully renovated complex contains everything necessary for lectures and group debates on the subject of peace. In 2006 the Messines Peace Village opened its doors, offering no fewer than 128 sleeping places in 32 separate accommodation units. Nieuwkerkestraat 9A Only by appointment, please contact the Tourist Office.

Peace Carillon

The belfry of the St. Nicolas Church houses a carillon of no fewer than 61 bells, donated as symbols of peace by individuals and organisations from more than 15 different countries. Sint-Niklaas Church Free access from Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 17.00. Guided visits are possible, also on Saturday. Please contact the Tourist Office.

Monument to Samuel Frickleton

Erected to the memory of this New Zealand winner of the Victoria Cross (V.C.). Featherstonplein - next to the church

Samuel Frickleton

Born in Scotland in 1891 but with Irish blood also in his veins, Samuel Frickleton emigrated to New Zealand with his mother in 1913, following the death of his father. He was the tenth of eleven children and went to work in the Blackball Mine. When war broke out, he enlisted in the army and returned to Europe as a non-commissioned officer in the New Zealand Rifle Brigade. On 7 June 1917 - the opening day of the great mine offensive against the Messines Ridge - he was wounded during the early stages of the advance. Even so, he was able to knock out two German machine gun posts and subsequently defended them against repeated counter-attack, notwithstanding two further wounds. For his great bravery, Samuel Frickleton was awarded the Victoria Cross. Instigated by Queen Victoria in 1856, the VC has only been awarded 1,355 times in its 150 year history. Sam Frickleton’s medal can still be seen at the Army Memorial Museum at Waiouru in New Zealand.

The front in the ’Westhoek’

The front in the ’Westhoek’

96


DE PANNE

99 VEURNE

DIKSMUIDE ALVERINGEM

HOUTHULST

Behind the front:

unoccupied Belgium Alveringem

LANGEMARK POELKAPELLE

Kapelanij (The Chaplain’s House)

ZONNEBEKE

From 1911 until 1939 the priest-poet Cyriel Verschaeve (18741949) was the chaplain here. During the First World War, the chapPOPERINGE IEPERsympathlain’s house was a meeting place for Flemish nationalist isers. Verschaeve was one of the prime movers of the so-called Front Movement, which fought for the rights of Flemish-speaking soldiers against the French-speaking High Command. During the Second World War Verschaeve chose resolutely for collaboration with the Germans. In 1946 he was sentenced to death in absentia by Court HEUVELLAND Martial. He died in exile in Austria in 1949. As a result of secret action by the Flemish Militant Order (VMO), he was exhumed from his original grave at Soldbad Hall and reburied in the MESEN churchyard at Alveringem. Since 1987, the mortal remains of eight other Flemish veterans have been buried around Verschaeve’s last resting place. To commemorate the Great War Centenary the Chaplain’s House becomes a museum which concentrates on the subject ‘war and peace’ and everyday life behind the front in unoccupied Belgium. Sint-Rijkersstraat 22

Belgian Military Cemetery Oeren

See page 114

Belgian Military Cemetery Hoogstade

See page 114

Behind the front. British soldiers befriend the children of Poperinge

Behind the front: unoccupied Belgium

Behind the front: unoccupied Belgium

98

Observation post Pervijze

WERVIK


101

4th Division Memorial Koksijde

Veurne, Town Hall

De Panne L’Océan

On 21 December 1914, the ’Grand Hôtel de L’Océan’ was opened as a front-line hospital. A number of wooden barracks were also built around this sea-front hotel, which had no fewer than 16 operating tables and beds for more than 1,800 patients. The ingenuity and organisation of its director, Dr. Antoine Depage - who worked closely with the Red Cross - soon became legendary. During WWI the Royal Family was accommodated in De Panne for a long time. Queen Elisabeth - a Bavarian princess who had married King Albert in 1900 (when he was still a prince) - was also involved in the found-ation and development of the hospital. She visited it regularly and sometimes helped to tend the wounded. Nothing now remains of this once-famous site, but is location on the promenade is marked by a commemorative plaque. For reasons of safety, a large part of the hospital was transferred in 1917 to Vinkem, which is now part of the municipality of Beauvoorde, near Veurne. Zeedijk (Promenade) 70-74 in De Panne

Koksijde

ve - koksijde © dirk van ho

Zouave Memorial

These crack troops were part of the French Army of Africa. During the First World War the Zouaves served in 9 different regiments, which fought at various locations in Belgium. The Zouave units which saw action on the IJzer front often came to Koksijde for rest and recuperation. The camps known as ’Jeannot’ and Jean-Bart’ stood near the location of the present day barracks on both sides of the Robert Vandammestraat. In 2009 the town of Koksijde celebrated the 75th anniversary of the inauguration of the Zouave Memorial. Zoeavenplein (Zouave Square) in Koksijde

4th Division Memorial

Following the fall of Antwerp, the 4th Division played an important role in the defence of the IJzer Front. As early as 1916, Corporal Georges Hendrickx and Private Louis Jacquemotte of the 8th Line Regiment designed a memorial to commemorate the actions of their comrades in the 4th Division. The first blocks of marble were laid during the war and were brought specially from the ruined Cloth Hall in Ieper. In 1919 the Ministry of War authorised the completion of this memorial in Wulpen. Veurnekeiweg in Wulpen, near the Nieuwpoort-Diksmuide Canal

VEURNE Town Hall

The headquarters of the Belgian Army was located in the town hall during the crucial Battle of the IJzer. King Albert I also had his command post in the building between 15 October 1914 and 23 January 1915. King George V of England, the French president Poincaré, the British commander-in-chief Marshall French and the French general Foch all visited him during this period. In October 1914 the poss ible flooding of the IJzer plain was also discussed here with Karel Cogge. From the spring of 1915 until 1919 the headquarters of the army was located in the parsonage at Houtem. Grote Markt - Info: T. 0032(0)-58 33 55 31 - Entrance fee: € 3 / € 2 pp 1 April - 15 November: daily guided visists - Closed: 21, 28 October & 1, 4 en 12 November

Bust of Karel Cogge

Karel Cogge, (1855-1922) was the superintendent of the Northern Waterways. He played an important role in the flooding of the IJzer plain at the end of October 1914. This bust was made by Jules Lagae. Noordstraat

Headquarters of the Belgian Army

Houtem From 23 January 1915 until October 1918, the Belgian Army had its headquarters in the vicarage next to the church in Houtem. It was from this building that Lieutenant-General Wielemans conducted operations. It was here that King Albert visited him three or four times a week, meeting other Allied commanders and decorating soldiers for gallantry. General Wielemans died on 5 January 1917 and was buried in Houtem cemetery. His grave, with its column of pink granite, can still be seen today. Kerkhoek

Joe English

Vinkem Joe English was born in Bruges in 1882. He is above all known for his design of the so-called ’fallen hero’ tombstones. This Celtic-style cross, with a seagull or stormy petrel as emblem and the letters AVV-VVK (’Alles Voor Vlaanderen, Vlaanderen Voor Kristus’, meaning ’All for Flanders, Flanders for Christ’) was erected over the graves of many Flemish soldiers. English died on 31 August 1918 in the ’L’Océan 2’ military hospital as a result of a badly treated appendicitis. A simple stone in Vinkem is

Behind the front: unoccupied Belgium

Behind the front: unoccupied Belgium

100


103

Headquarters of the Belgian Army in Houtem

the only indication of where this hospital once stood. In the summer of 1917 the original hospital at the Hotel l’Ocean in De Panne was forced by continuous shellfire to move to a tented village in Vinkem. Joe Englishstraat

Cachot (Prison Cell)

Wulveringem Near the old village school it is still possible to see a well-preserved ’cachot’ or prison cell. This simple vaulted room is just 1.80 m high and 2.10 m wide. It was surrounded with barbed wire and was used to keep recalcitrant soldiers under lock and key. Here they had to survive the day on just a chunk of bread and a bowl of water. Wulveringemstraat 14

Belgian Military Cemetery Steenkerke

See page 116

French military cemetery Veurne

See page 122

Lo-Reninge Visitor centre Destrooper

Biscuit factory Destrooper has a brand new visitor centre where you can discover the family history and the history of the famous biscuits. A part of the visitor centre is dedicated to the First World War. The son of founder Jules Destrooper, Jules Destrooper Junior, was discharged due to illness and returned to his hometown Lo. The biscuit factory was closed due to scarcity and he decided to issue postcards. These postcards showed regional landscapes and typical war scenes. Soldiers were eager to collect these cards and used them to write to their families back home. This collection contained about 150 different postcards. A part of this collection can be seen in the visitor centre Destrooper. Gravestraat 5, 8647 Lo Info: T 058/28 09 33 - bezoekerscentrum@destrooper.be Open on weekdays and Saturday from 09.00 to 12.30 and from 13.30 to 17.30 (Fridays to 16.30). Closed on Friday morning, Sunday and public holidays and from 27/02 to 03/03/2012. Last admission one hour before closing time. Entrance fee: €4 pp, -12 years € 2pp, -6 years free

Poperinge: Talbot House

Poperinge Poperinge is a charming small town, surrounded by 200 hectares of hop fields. Known universally during the war years as ’Pop’s’, it was the place behind the front where soldiers came to rest from the trenches. In Undertones of War Edmund Blunden wrote: ”Poperinge was a fantastic city at that time, one of the seven wonders of the world - although the other six were temporarily out of competition!” The town was a haven of shops, restaurants, hotels, hostels, coffee houses, cinemas, theatres and dancing halls - all of which were frequently visited by the troops. Market Square Poperinge 1917

Behind the front: unoccupied Belgium

Behind the front: unoccupied Belgium

102


105

Talbot House: The Upper Room

Talbot House & Concert Hall

Talbot House in Poperinge is one of the most evocative sites from the Great War era. It was here that two army chaplains, Philip ’Tubby’ Clayton and Neville Talbot, opened a club for soldiers. Named in honour of Gilbert Talbot, who was killed at Hooge in 1915, it became known as Toc H after the army signal code used in the war. More than half a million soldiers visited the club, which was housed in the mansion of a local hop trader, who had fled the country. It was a place where everyone was welcome; where military rank did not count; and where the troops could play the piano or borrow books (simply by leaving their cap as a deposit!). In short, it was a place where soldiers could become human again. The authentic interior has been largely preserved and the unique spirit of the place can perhaps best be experienced in the chapel - simply called the ’upper room’ - which has remained untouched since 1918. The adjoining hop store (better known during the war as the Concert Hall) and the former bathhouse (referred to as the ’Slessorium’, after its creator, Major Paul Slessor) were both restored in 2004. A life-sized ’album’ about ’Life Behind the Front’ and a filmed reenactment of a ’Concert Party’ are now on permanent display. This allows visitors to experience the true atmosphere of Talbot House during the war years and shows how soldiers spent their time away from the trenches. And if you are looking for a really special place to stay the night, why not try Talbot House? You shouldn’t expect four-star luxury but the authenticity of this unique setting will more than make up for any lack of worldly comfort. Gasthuisstraat - Info: T. 0032(0)-57 33 32 28 - +44 2035 149 826 www.talbothouse.be Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10.00 to 17.30. Last admittance at 16.30. Closed between Christmas and New Year. - Entrance fee: € 8

Talbot house and garden

Talbot House

Philip Thomas Byard Clayton

Better known as ’Tubby’ (because of his size and shape), the Reverend Philip Clayton will forever be associated with Talbot House. He was born in Queensland (Australia) in 1885 but returned to England with his parents just two years later. After studying theology at Oxford, he went to France in 1915 as an army chaplain. In December of the same year, he opened Talbot House, together with his friend Neville Talbot. It was located in the 18th century mansion of Maurice Coevoet, a rich banker and hop merchant. The ’Upper Room’ (as it was later known) has scarcely changed since 1915. Aided by his batman Arthur Pettifer, who was a master ’scrounger’, Tubby made sure that the troops lacked for nothing. He was even able to start a library. His sense of humour made him extremely popular and Talbot House was soon known and loved throughout the British Army. After the war, Tubby Clayton returned to London, where he opened a second Talbot House in 1920. In 1922 he became vicar of All-Hallows-by-the-Tower Church, where he remained until 1962. For the last ten years of his life he devoted himself to the work of the Toc H movement - a worldwide charitable organisation which had grown from the original Talbot House idea. He died in 1972 at the age of 87. In a rare tribute, BBC radio and television held a minute’s silence in honour of his memory.

Behind the front: unoccupied Belgium

Behind the front: unoccupied Belgium

104


107

Death cell

Reningelst during the war

Condemned - or death - cells

The authentic execution pole, located in the inner courtyard of the town hall, is a painful reminder of the fate which awaited many socalled ’deserters’ during the Great War. Most of these frightened men were suffering from ’shell shock’ - a psychological condition which was largely unrecognised at the time. Soldiers, who were sometimes bombarded for days on end, became near senseless and simply did not know what they were doing, abandoning their trenches without apparent reason. Instead of receiving compassion and understanding, a terrifying example was made of them. Often, they were executed by men from their own regiment. The British army shot or hanged 349 of its own troops between 1914 and 1918. Most were convicted after ’trials’ lasting less than 20 minutes. In Great Britain a movement has now succeeded in obtaining pardons and rehabilitation for almost all of these soldiers. The condemned men spent their last night in the death cell before being shot at dawn (www.shotatdawn.info). Seventeen of those executed in Poperinge were buried at Poperinghe New Military Cemetery, just a stone’s throw from the city centre. A complete new set up with a direct link between the cells and the pole and with multimedia info will make this site more accessible. Stadhuis - Guido Gezellestraat - Info: T. 0032(0)-57 34 66 76 www.toerismepoperinge.be - Daily free access from 09.00 to 17.00.

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery See page 119

Vleteren Belgian Military Cemetery Westvleteren See page 116

Searching for the fallen

It is possible to search for soldiers killed in action by nationality. n For Great Britain and the Commonwealth, please go to www.cwgc.org n Enquiries relating to German dead can be answered at www.volksbund.de n A database, including a search engine, for Belgian casualties is available at www.inflandersfields.be n Information on French soldiers who died in the Westhoek can also be found on this same site.

During the war, the station in Poperinge a focal point for the transportation of troops to and from the front

Behind the front: unoccupied Belgium

Behind the front: unoccupied Belgium

106


NIEUWPOORT-BAD

108

109

DE PANNE

VEURNE

DIKSMUIDE ALVERINGEM

Behind the front:

the occupied territory

HOUTHULST

Middelkerke

Behind the front: the occupied territory

Behind the front: the occupied territory

NIEUWPOORT

Leffinge

German mausoleum

LANGEMARK

POELKAPELLE This mausoleum in the cemetery on the Dorpstraat in Leffinge (near Middelkerke) was built by German soldiers in 1915 to a design by Hauptman (Captain) LĂśwenstein. During the war years some 1,700 ZONNEBEKE of their fallen comrades were buried here. In 1958 their remains were transferred to the Soldatenfriedhof in Vladslo and the Leffinge site was converted local commuPOPERINGE into a civilian cemetery for the IEPER nity. In 2002, the mausoleum - which is a rare example of nonmilitary war architecture - was granted the status of a protected monument.

Dorpsstraat in Leffinge (Middelkerke) HEUVELLAND Ostend (Oostende)

The lively port and seaside resort of Ostend remained in German MESEN hands throughout the Great War. The Vindictive Monument commemorates a daring British naval attack which blocked the port in 1918.

Raversijde Domain

The Atlantic Wall Museum at Raversijde (just outside Ostend) boasts an impressive collection of German bunkers and coastal defences from the First and the Second World War. Nieuwpoortsesteenweg 636 - Info: T. 0032(0)-59 70 22 85 Open from 1 April to 11 November, from 14.00 to 17.00. From 1 July to 31 August, from 10.30 to 18.30. Entrance fee: â&#x201A;Ź 9

German cavalry in Menin (Photo: Eric Debeir - Menin)

British prisoners of war on the Market square in Menin

WERVIK


111

Long Max

Wervik

Koekelare The Käthe Kollwitz Tower

In the drying kiln of a renovated brewery in the village of Koekelare, graphic works of art by Käthe Kollwitz are on permanent display in the Käthe Kollwitz Tower. This exceptional woman (a native of Berlin) is considered to be one of Germany’s most important Expressionist artists. Her best-known work of sculpture - the ’Grieving Parents’ is to be found in the German cemetery at Vladslo, where her son Peter is buried. Old brewery site - Sint-Maartensplein 15b Info: T. 0032(0)-51 58 92 01 www. koekelare.be Open from Tuesday to Friday, from 09.30 to 12.00 and from 14.00 to 17.00. From 15 June to 31 August, also Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 14.00 to 17.00. Entrance fee € 2.50 (including the entrance to the museum next door)

’Lange Max’ (Long Max)

This huge 38 cm cannon was mounted near the ’Leugenboom’ (Liar's Tree) in the village of Koekelare. It weighed 75,500 kilograms, had a 17 metre-long barrel and could fire a shell over a distance of 40 itz Tower kilometres. The cannon was part Käthe Kollw of the Pommern Battery, which belonged to the German Marine Corps - Flanders. Amongst its many targets was the harbour at Dunkirk. After the Armistice in 1918, ’Lange Max’ was something of an attraction in the Koekelare region, until the Germans dismantled it in 1940 during the Second World War. The Lange Max committee intends to restore the firing site in the Clevenstraat. At the moment, it is possible to view the original gun platform and to visit a small museum. Clevenstraat 4 Open from Easter to 30 September on Sundays, from 14.00 to 18.00. Info: T. 0032(0)497 33 58 35. Entrance fee: € 3

Staden

During the early months of the war the small town of Staden and its neighbouring village of Westrozebeke were almost completely destroyed, although nearby Oostnieuwkerke was partially spared. In 1917 the castle in Staden was demolished by a British bombardment. It was never rebuilt.

Monument to Lt. Juul De Winde

Westrozebeke Born in Merkem in 1893, he was drafted into the Belgian Army in 1913. He was prompted to the rank of lieutenant in 1917 - which was something of an exception for a soldier with clear Flemish nationalist sympathies. He was killed during the attack on Westrozebeke on 28 September 1918. In 1937 his remains were transferred to the crypt of the Ijzer Tower in Diksmuide. The monument in the Poelkapellestraat in Westrozebeke was unveiled in 1938. It was designed by Karel Aubroeck, the designer of the King Albert Monument in Nieuwpoort. This is perhaps most clearly seen in the use of yellow Nieuwpoort brick. Crossroad Poelkapellestraat - Hyndryckxbosstraat in Westrozebeke

Wervik

For the four years of the war, the town of Wervik almost became a German ’colony’. Curiously enough, this occupation also led to a kind of ’reunification’: for the duration of hostilities, the old distinction between Wervicq Sud (on the French side of the River Leie) and Wervik (on the Belgian side of the Leie) ceased to exist. As one of the nearest towns behind the German lines, Wervik was the scene of frenetic military activity. Many German troops were quartered there. Different units arrived and departed almost every day. Prisoners of war passed through on a regular basis, as did military convoys. There were dumps of every kind, almost too numerous to mention. Inevitably, there were

William Leggett

William Leggett was born in Australia in 1891. When he was 21 years old he left for England and joined the King’s Life Guards. William was elevated to Corporal of the 1st Life Guards. At the beginning of World War 1 he arrived in Geluwe. On 14 October 1914, five days before the First Battle of Ypres, he was killed during a brief skirmish with German troops. Corporal William Leggett is believed to be the first Australian who fell in WW1. He was buried in Geluwe but later transferred to New British Cemetery in Harelbeke. Next to the church of Geluwe, a plaque and work of art commemorates William Leggett.

Behind the front: the occupied territory

Behind the front: the occupied territory

110


113

German military cemetery (Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof) in Wervicq-Sud

also cemeteries: funeral processions and mass burials were frequent occurrences. In his letters home, the German artist Max Beckmann described the almost surrealistic life of German troops stationed in Wervik in 1915. Not that things were much better for the local inhabitants, who faced all the dangers of war but who were also subject to strict German rules, with heavy fines for any infringements. The civilian population was finally evacuated in the summer of 1917, when the plans for a major Allied offensive against this sector of the front became clear.

Memorial plaque to John Eden

Kruiseke During the first clashes between British and German forward units near the hamlet of Kruiseke in October 1914, one of the casualties was Lieutenant John Eden of the 12th Lancers. He was the brother of Anthony Eden, who later became prime minister of Great Britain. A memorial plaque to Lieutenant Eden is bricked into the wall of the Sacred Heart Church. The hamlet is also the starting point for the Kruiseke provincial walking route, which leads visitors across the rolling terrain over which the opening actions of the First Battle of Ypres were fought.

The ’French Hill’ in Wervicq-Sud (France)

During the period of German occupation between 1914 and 1918, the towns of Wervik (in Belgium) and Wervicq-Sud (in France) were temporarily reunited, to form a single community (as had often been the case in the past). This community was largely German and largely military. Evidence of this occupation can still be found at the so-called French Hill in Wervicq-Sud. The ’Wit Kasteel’ (White Chateau) in the grounds of the Dalle-Dumont park served as a field hospital for much of the war, and

German military cemetery, Hooglede

there are still the remains of military shelters and a memorial to the XVth Army Corps dating from 1915. There is also a German military cemetery (Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof) in Wervicq-Sud, which was transferred from its original location in the Dalle-Dumont park and was extended by the concentration of graves from elsewhere in 1974.

hooglede

Hooglede and Gits did not emerge unscathed from the First World War. For both villages, the German occupation was a period of relative calm. Even so, they were still in the ’Etappengebiet’ (Reserve Zone) and therefore close to the front. Many wounded soldiers were brought here for medical care. Some of them never recovered and are now buried in the Soldatenfriedhof (military cemetery). During the Liberation Offensive in September 1918, both villages were badly damaged.

War museum

The museum focuses its attention largely on local history during the First and Second World Wars. Marktplaats 24 - 8830 Hooglede Free admittance. Guided tour available on request. Info: T. 0032(0)-51 20 30 30 - www.hooglede.be

German Military Cemetery Hooglede

See page 124

Menin (Menen)

During the First World War, Menin was occupied by the German Army from October 1914 until October 1918. The town was just a stone’s throw behind the fighting zone and became a supply centre for the German front-line troops. It was equipped with field kitchens, bakeries, supply depots, ammunition depots, wagon parks and even airfields. Menin also contained a number of field hospitals to care for the growing numbers of wounded. Wounded prisoners-of-war were also treated here. Until 1917, the soldiers who died of their wounds were buried in the civil cemetery (behind the station). However, as a result of the huge casualties during the Third Battle of Ypres a new purpose-built cemetery was begun in the fields near the boundary between Menen and the neighbouring village of Wevelgem. By the end of the war, the ’Ehrenfriedhof Meenen Wald N° 62’ contained more than 6.000 German burials.

German Military Cemetery Menen-Wevelgem See page 124 German soldiers in their shelter

Behind the front: the occupied territory

Behind the front: the occupied territory

112


115

Belgian cemetery in Houthulst

Ijzer crypt in Diksmuide

Belgian

Diksmuide

military cemeteries Alveringem Oeren

510 Belgian soldiers lie buried around the church in Oeren, many of whom are unknown. In 1923 the village was the setting for the fourth Ijzer Pilgrimage. Oerenstraat

Hoogstade

The Belgian military cemetery at Hoogstade contains 825 graves, of which 35 are unknown. 20 British soldiers are also buried here. Since 2004 it has been possible to ’adopt’ the grave of a Belgian soldier. This was an idea of Rik Scherpenberg from Tongeren, who was also founder of the War Relics Archive. Brouwerijstraat

De Panne

The military cemetery is situated alongside the civil cemetery in De Panne. In total the site contains 3,748 graves, of which 3,152 are Belgian war casualties. De Panne is therefore the largest of all Belgian military cemeteries. It was begun by fighting units during the First World War. Later, graves from a number of smaller burial sites in the Westhoek were transferred here. Nearby, there is also a British military plot which contains 282 graves from the Second World War. Kerkstraat in De Panne

Adinkerke

This cemetery behind the church contains the graves of 1,658 Belgian, 67 British and 2 French soldiers, who all died during the First World War. The cemetery was constructed in 1925 and contains six Flemish ’fallen hero’ crosses designed by Joe English. Heldenweg in Adinkerke

Keiem

This cemetery is the last resting place of 628 soldiers from the 8th and 13th Line Regiments of the Belgian Army. During the Battle of the Ijzer (October 1914) an attempt to capture the village of Keiem was repulsed with heavy losses. Many were killed during the confusion of the subsequent retreat to the hamlet of Tervaete, on the other side of the River Ijzer. Keiemdorpstraat 143A

Edward and Frans Van Raemdonck

More commonly referred to as the Van Raemdonck Brothers, Edward and Frans came to be seen as a Flemish symbol for sacrifice and brotherly love. Tragic as their deaths were, their story was later romanticised in the interest of the Flemish cause - and was immortalised in a moving drawing by the artist Joe English. The brothers were born in Temse - Edward in 1895 and Frans in 1897 - and both were sergeants in the 24th Line Regiment. Tradition claims that they died in each other’s arms in No Man’s Land, following an attack on the Stampkot position near Steenstraete in March 1917. We will never know exactly what happened on that fateful night, but it seems that Frans was wounded on his way back to the Belgian trenches. A French-speaking comrade, Aimé Fiévez, went to his aid, but both were killed by a German shell. When Edward discovered that this brother had not returned, he went back out into No Man’s Land to look for him, but was mown down by machine gun fire, just yards from where Frans and Fiévez were lying. During subsequent bombardments, the bodies were disturbed, so that Edward and Frans were found side by side, when their remains were eventually recovered after the war. In 1932, the brothers - together with Aimé Fiévez - were interred in a single coffin in the crypt of the Ijzer Tower in Diksmuide. A year later a memorial was built over the spot near Steenstraete where their bodies had been discovered. Drawing by Joe English of the brothers Van Raemdonck

Belgian military cemeteries

Belgian miltary cemeteries

114


117

’If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field That is forever England.’ From ’Th e Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke

Belgian cemetery in Steenkerke

Houthulst

The most well-known Belgian military cemetery is located in the heart of Houthulst forest and contains the graves of 1,855 soldiers, most of whom were killed during the so-called Liberation Offensive of September-October 1918. 81 Italian soldiers are also buried here. Italian prisoners of war were used by the Germans for work behind the front, especially in the region Roeselare-Izegem. Most of those who died fell victim to illness or disease. Their remains were later transferred to Houthulst, where they now lay along the forest’s edge in this star-shaped cemetery. Poelkapellestraat

Nieuwpoort Ramskapelle

This concentration cemetery contains the graves of 634 Belgian soldiers, 400 of whom are unidentified. Most of these men were killed during the Battle of the Ijzer in October 1914.

Commonwealth

military cemeteries Between 1914 and 1918, the fertile fields around the city of Ypres were the setting for one of the most frightful wars the world has ever known. Soldiers from more than 50 nations fought and died here. Time has inevitably erased many traces of the Great War, but the many military cemeteries and memorials which dot the landscape still speak to our imagination and say much about the terrible nature of the ’war to end all wars’. Commonwealth war cemeteries which contain more than 40 graves each have a Cross of Sacrifice. Cemeteries with more than 1,000 graves also have a Stone of Remembrance, which bears the inscription: ’Their Name Liveth For Evermore’ - a text chosen from the Bible by Rudyard Kipling.

Ramskapellestraat in Ramskapelle

Veurne Steenkerke

Some 500 Belgian soldiers are buried behind the St. Laurentius Church in Steenstrate. Joe English was the first casualty to be buried here, but his remains were later transferred to the crypt of the Ijzer Tower. He died from his wounds in the military hospital at Vinkem, where a street was named after him. A small monument was also erected in the same village in honour of this well-known Flemish soldier, a leading figure in the so-called Front Movement. Behind the St. Laurentius Church

Vleteren Westvleteren

1,208 soldiers found their last resting-place in the Belgian military cemetery in the village of Westvleteren. Sint-Maartensstraat

Monument in commemoration of adjutant A.V. Van Eecke, Iepersteenweg 53 in Merkem (Houthulst)

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

Commonwealth military cemeteries

Belgian miltary cemeteries

116


119

Queen Elisabeth II and Queen Paola in 2007

De Panne Adinkerke Military Cemetery

168 British casualties from the First World War are buried at this site. A further 197 graves were added during and after the Second World War. Kromfortstraat in Adinkerke

Koksijde Coxyde Military Cemetery

This British military cemetery occupies a unique location in the sand dunes. The site was originally opened by French troops in 1917 and now contains 1,507 Commonwealth graves from the First World War. The cemetery was also used during the Second World War, when a further 155 burials were added (mainly from the Dunkirk campaign in May 1940). R. Vandammestraat in Koksijde village

Zonnebeke Passendale Tyne Cot Cemetery and visitors centre

The name Passendale is indelibly etched on the collective consciousness of Great Britain and her Commonwealth. During the Third Battle of Ypres (1917) the British Army lost nearly 300,000 men to capture this ruined village and a few kilometres of shell-blasted mud. The British called the village ’Passion Dale’ - the Valley of Suffering. The cost in human life to achieve this ’victory’ is all too evident in Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest British war cemetery on mainland Europe. Originally, ’Tyne Cot’ was a strong point in the German Flandern I Line. Australian troops set up an aid post in one of its bunkers, following its capture in October 1917. A cemetery of 340 graves quickly grew up a round this bunker - men who had died in the aid post or nearby. Between 1919 and 1921 specialised Exhumation Companies brought in many thousands of bodies from the surrounding battlefields. Only 3,800 of the victims could be identified by name. The cemetery - which also contains a memorial to the missing - was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and was inaugurated in 1927. 11,956 soldiers of the Commonwealth are buried here, together with a number of German prisoners of war who died in Allied hands. The screen wall at the back of the cemetery commemorates a further 34,957 mis-

Tyne Cot Cemetery

sing soldiers, who died after 15 August 1917. The more than 55,000 missing who died before this date are honoured by name on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper (this memorial, designed during the war, was intended to commemorate all the missing, but simply proved to be too small to take the terrible number of names). The uniform headstones are made of white Portland stone, as are the impressive Cross of Sacrifice, with its bronze sword, and the altar-like Stone of Remembrance. At the specific request of King George V, the Cross of Sacrifice was constructed above a German bunker captured on 4 October 1917, which later served as an aid post (see above). On 12 July 2007 a whole new infrastructure for visitors was opened by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Queen Paola of Belgium. The modern visitors centre looks out over the old battlefields and contains much information about the terrible fighting which took place here. There is also a large parking area with sanitary facilities behind the cemetery. The cemetery is linked to the Memorial Museum ’Passchendaele 1917’ by a 3 kilometre-long walking and cycling route. This route is also known as ’The Road to Passchendaele’. Tyne Cot Cemetery - Tynecotstraat The Visitors Centre is open daily from 1 February to 30 November, from 10.00 to 18.00.

Poperinge Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

The soberly beautiful Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery is the largest of the hospital cemeteries which grew up around the casualty clearing stations to the east and west of Poperinge. Soldiers devised amusing names for these CCSs, which sounded curiously Flemish, but still had a grim meaning: Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem. Lijssenthoek was also popularly known as Remi Cemetery, from the name of the farmer who lived behind the clearing station’s complex of tents. This farm can still be seen today. Members of the Chinese Labour Corps were also buried at Lijssenthoek. The cemetery now contains a total of 9,904 Commonwealth war dead (including the Chinese) and 884 graves of other nationalities (mainly German and French). A fully equipped visitor’s centre will increase the experience of a compulsory stop at this remarkable site as of September 21st 2012. Boescheepseweg www.lijssenthoek.be

Commonwealth military cemeteries

Commonwealth military cemeteries

118


121

Komen-Waasten - Ploegsteert (Province Hainaut)

Ploegsteert Memorial

Just over the provincial (and linguistic) border, not far from Messines, lies the burial ground known as Berks Cemetery Extension. The most striking feature of this cemetery is the memorial to more than 11,000 missing soldiers from Great Britain and South Africa, who died as a result of ’routine’ trench warfare or in one of the minor operations designed to support major offensives elsewhere. On the first Friday of every month the Last Post is sounded here at 1900 hours. Rue de Messines

BLOOD RED IS THE BLOOM OF THE POPPY...

”In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row that mark our place”, John McCrae in 1915.

Countless other British cemeteries of various sizes

Apart from the imposing cemeteries at Tyne Cot and Lijssenthoek, there are more than 170 smaller and more intimate Commonwealth cemeteries scattered across the landscape of the Westhoek. The Scots have their own cemetery (No Man’s Cot on Pilkem Ridge), as do the Welsh (Caesar’s Nose Cemetery, also on Pilkem Ridge) and the Irish (Locre Hospice Cemetery, near Loker in Heuvelland). Near to Locre Hospice Cemetery, in what was once the garden of a convent, stands the grave of Major William Redmond. He was an important Catholic political leader before the war and helped to force the British government to pass a bill granting Home Rule for Ireland. To ensure that the bill would be honoured after the war, he encouraged many Catholics to join the British army (where they served in the 16th Irish Division). Redmond was bitterly disappointed by the Easter Rising of 1916 and its harsh suppression. He was killed on 7 June 1917, the opening day of the Battle of Messines Ridge: a battle in which, appropriately enough, Irish Catholics and Protestants fought side by side. In Buttes New British Cemetery in Polygon Wood, a memorial to the 5th Australian Division now stands astride what was once a pre-war rifle range of the Belgian army. At the opposite side of the cemetery, there is a memorial to missing soldiers from New Zealand, who died here in the winter of 1917-1918. No Man’s Cot - Moortelweg in Boezinge (Ieper) Caesar's Nose - Moortelweg in Boezinge Locre Hospice Cemetery - Godtschalckstraat in Loker (Heuvelland) Buttes New British Cemetery - Lange Dreve in Zonnebeke

The red poppy was destined to become a symbol for the inhuman suffering and loss caused by the war. Even 90 years later, traces of this war are still to be found in the landscape. The Bomb Disposal Unit of the Belgian Army, based at Houthulst, still detonates old munitions from the war twice each day. Shells are regularly brought to the surface, as a result of farming or building works. Each year in the Westhoek more than 200 tons of old munitions are collected, 10% of which contain chemical weapons.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission The Imperial War Graves Commission was founded in 1917 and is responsible for the maintenance of graves and memorials in some 150 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe. The Commission commemorates more than 1,700,000 members of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars and who now lie buried in more than 23,000 cemeteries world-wide. In 1960 the organisation changed its name in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The regional headquarters for Northern Europe is located in Ieper at Elverdingsestraat 82. - T. 0032(0)-57 22 36 36 (neaoffice@cwgc.org - www.cwgc.org)

Commonwealth military cemeteries

Commonwealth military cemeteries

120


123

The ’angel’ on Kemmel Hill

’Tod mit Eichenlaub’

French

military cemeteries YPRES (Ieper) Saint-Charles de Potyze

More than 4,000 French soldiers are buried in Saint-Charles de Potyze Cemetery near Ieper (on the road to Zonnebeke). A further 600 unknown soldiers were interred in a mass grave. A Breton Pieta by the sculptor J. Fréour is located at the front of the site, mourning over the lost dead. Zonnebeekseweg

Heuvelland French ossuary

Kemmel This mass grave at the foot of Kemmel Hill contains the remains of 5,294 French soldiers, of whom just 57 are identified. Most of these men died during the battle for Kemmel Hill in April 1918. Higher up the slopes of the same hill stands the ’Monument aux Soldats Français’, also known as ’The Angel’.This 18 metre-high memorial column was erected in 1932 and looks out wistfully over the battlefield where so many died. Kemmelbergweg

Koksijde French military plot of honour

The French plot of honour contains the graves of marines from the Grossetti Division, which was part of the marine brigade commanded by Vice-Admiral Prince Alexis Ronar’ch.These troops - most of whom were Bretons - died in defence of the sector around Nieuwpoort. There are 123 burials from the First World War and a further 11 from the Second World War. Seven of the headstones commemorate Muslim casualties.

German

military cemeteries In total, 134,000 German soldiers from the First World War are buried in Belgium. In 1954, hundreds of smaller German cemeteries in Flanders were concentrated into four major sites. There are still a dozen or so smaller burial grounds in the French-speaking part of Belgium. In contrast to the British cemeteries, the German cemeteries appear to be very sombre. The British deliberately tried to make their cemeteries look like traditional English gardens, full of the flowers of spring and autumn. It is almost as if the British have accepted death and the cemetery has become a small part of England or a little piece of heaven on earth. This ’acceptance’ is lacking in German cemeteries, where death in all its monstrous forms still lingers between the massive oaks. The basalt crosses are scars on ’God’s green acre’. In autumn, dead leaves fall from the giant trees, covering the thousands of fallen soldiers. ”Tod... mit Eichenlaub”.

Langemark

This sombreness is very much in evidence at the German military cemetery - Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof - in Langemark. However, its powerful simplicity lends a poignant air to this haunting burial ground. Behind the monumental entrance building in pink Weserberg sandstone lie 44,304 soldiers, 24,917 of them in a mass grave. Over 3,000 cadets and student volunteers, serving in the 22nd - 27th Reserve Corps, are amongst the dead. They were killed in October 1914 during futile attempts to break through in the direction of Ypres. For this reason, the cemetery is also known as the Studentenfriedhof.The sculpture of four bronze soldiers by the Munich sculptor Emil Krieger seem to reflect the sorrow of these bleak statistics. Klerkenstraat

Cemetery in Koksijde village

Veurne French Military Cemetery and ossuary

This cemetery contains the mass grave - or ossuary - of 78 French soldiers. A further 186 French casualties are buried in individual graves, including 8 soldiers of the Muslim faith. Oude Vestingstraat Langemark, sculpture by Emil Krieger

German military cemeteries

French military cemeteries

122


125 Memories

German military cemeteries

124

Vladslo

Poppies in the Westhoek: the Flanders Fields Country

Diksmuide

Vladslo The German military cemetery at Vladslo is the last resting place of Peter Kollwitz, a young student volunteer who was just 17 years of age when he was killed in October 1914. Deeply affected by her son’s death, Käthe Kollwitz created her world-famous sculpture ’The Grieving Parents’. The sculpture was many years in the making and was only displayed for the first time in 1932 at the Roggeveld military cemetery near Esen. The grave marker in front of the sculpture group, bore the following inscription: ’Peter Kollwitz Musketier + 23.10.14’. This cemetery - and the statue group - were moved to their current site at the Praetbos near Vladslo in 1957. 25,638 German soldiers are buried here. Käthe Kollwitz was a famous Expressionist artist from Berlin. Her work was considered to be an example of Entartete Kunst (perverted art) by the Nazis and was removed from most museums and public buildings. Her grandson Peter was killed on the Eastern Front in 1942. Surprisingly, the sculpture survived the Nazi occupation of Belgium during Second World War. Houtlandstraat 3, 8600 Vladslo (Diksmuide)

Hooglede

Hooglede German Military Cemetery is located some 6 km from the town of Roeselare. It is the smallest of the four German ’concentration’ cemeteries and contains 8,247 burials. The cemetery was first created in 1917. The ’Ehrenhalle’ (Hall of Honour) was later built with stones from the German pavilion at the 1928 World Exhibition in Paris. On fine days, the panorama of the surrounding countryside is impressive. Beverenstraat - 8830 Hooglede

Menen-Wevelgem

Memories Poetry

In addition to the large cemeteries and memorials, there are numerous other, smaller (and perhaps more intimate) reminders of the Great War in the Westhoek. Several poems by Edmund Blunden are displayed on panels at various locations. There are also monuments for Indian soldiers and for poets, such as Francis Ledwidge and Hedd Wynn. There is also a poem by the Belgian poet Herman Deconinck at the Menin Gate.

Name stones

At various places, diamond-shaped commemorative plaques in white stone mark ’Belgian’ locations, which were of importance during the First World War and of which nothing remains today. These 24 name stones were erected during the 1980s at the instigation of the Province of West Flanders.

Demarcation stones

Granite demarcation stones can also be seen at various locations throughout the Westhoek. First erected during the 1920s at the initiative of the Touring Club of Belgium, these one metre-high stones are usually crowned with a military-style-helmet and bear the inscription (in three languages): ”Here the invader was brought to a halt”. During the Second World War this inscription was often defaced by the Germans. Nineteen of these stones still remain in the Westhoek, often to be found at the corner of a street and sometimes on the edge of a field.

The German military cemetery at Menen-Wevelgem (also in the Leie region) is the largest German war cemetery in Western Europe, commemorating no fewer than 47,864 fallen soldiers. In the centre of the burial plots stands a chapel, decorated with sombre grey mosaics.The interior has an arched vault with a central supporting column, resting on a Greek cross decorated with carved lion’s heads in stone. Menen - Groenestraat - Wevelgem - Kruisstraat Karl and Käthe Kollwitz at the ’Roggeveld’ cemetery in Esen for the placing of the statues in 1932

Name stone

Demarcation stone


127

Tourist routes 14-18 the ’Pannendorp’ site

Landscape art projects

As part of a land consolidation scheme in Fortem and Pervijze, various landscape art projects have been integrated into the natural surroundings at these locations, where the last traces of the First World War are threatening to disappear.

Alveringem - Fortem

At the ’Pannendorp’ site - a design by Stijn Claikens - the brightly coloured stone walls in brick represent the Belgian and German front lines in the Westhoek.

Diksmuide - Pervijze

Along the old railway line between Diksmuide and Nieuwpoort which served as the Belgian front line for much of the war - the artist Lucas Coeman has used 104 identical concrete blocks to depict the dates on which the war was started and ended.

Provincial parks

Several parks in provincial ownership, such as the ’Palingbeek’ (Eel Brook Woods) and the ’Gasthuisbossen’ (Hospice Woods) near Ieper (Zillebeke) and Kemmel Hill in Heuvelland also contain traces from the Great War. Between 1914 and 1918, the land around the ’Palingbeek’ formed part of the front line. The highest point in this area was known by the British as ’The Bluff’, whereas the Germans called it ’Die grosse Bastion’. The ’Zwarte Molenbos’ (Black Mill Woods) was renamed ’The Ravine’, the ’Vierlingen’ Forest became ’Battle Wood’, while the long, low hill around which it stood was christened ’The Caterpillar’. The six British cemeteries in this neighbourhood testify to the severity of the fighting which took place here. The ’Palingbeek’ provincial park is close to the Hill 60 battlefield site. Hill 60 still retains its original wartime landscape, with clear traces of old trenches, mine craters, shell holes, concrete pillboxes, etc. A number of memorials recall the savage struggle for control of this strategic position. In particular, Hill 60 and its surroundings are notorious for their important role in the underground mining war - a war which claimed countless lives. This subterranean battle reached its climax on 7 June 1917 with the opening of the Messines Hill 60 in Offensive, when 19 mines the 1920 s were exploded simultaneously under German trenches in the Ypres and Wijtschate salients. The mine craters at Hill 60 and on the Caterpillar still scar the landscape, even today.

Six new tourist routes by car on the theme WW1 will be developed as a result of The Great War Centenary. Those routes will highlight different perspectives. The first route ’Ypres Salient’ will be launched this autumn. The other tourist routes will open in 2013 and 2014. The present ’In Flanders Fields’ route will remain until autumn 2012. The present ’IJzer front’ route will disappear in 2013.

The ’In Flanders Fields’ route

(82 km) The In Flanders Fields route, which begins and ends in Ieper, is an ideal way to reconnoitre the Salient for the first time. You will become acquainted with the most important cemeteries and monuments in the southern part of the Westhoek. Essex Farm in Boezinge, the German military cemetery at Langemark, the Guynemer Memorial in Poelkapelle, the Canadian Memorial in Sint-Juliaan, Tyne Cot, Hill 62, Mesen, Kemmel Hill, Poperinge: all these key war sites are included. The route also offers you a pleasing introduction to the nature and landscape of the region: Heuvelland, in particular, will charm you with its gentle contours and beautiful panoramic views.

The IJzer Front route

(79 km) The IJzer Front route leads you through the polder landscape between Nieuwpoort, Koekelare, Kortemark, Houthulst and Diksmuide. The route starts in Diksmuide, famous for the IJzer Tower, the Peace Gate and the Trench of Death. Via Stuivekenskerke and Ramskapelle, you will drive to the King Albert I Monument in Nieuwpoort. Other highlights along the route are the Belgian military cemeteries at Keiem and Houthulst, the Käthe Kollwitz Tower in Koekelare and the German military cemetery at Vladslo.

Tourist routes 14-18

Memories

126


129

Lone Tree Cemetery

Bike

Thematic cycle route: ’No More War’

The Peace Route

(45 km) The Peace Route is a bicycle route which offers an ideal introduction to the Ypres Salient. It starts in Ieper and first leads to the ’Palingbeek’ provincial park, Hill 60 and Hill 62 - three locations of great strategic significance for the armies of both sides. The route continues through pleasant countryside and passes a number of impressive military burial sites, including Tyne Cot Cemetery in Passendale, the German Soldatenfriedhof in Langemark and Essex Farm near Boezinge.

Thematic cycle route: ’POProute’

(34 km) The POProute is a thematic journey through the daily life of the soldiers behind the front. The town of Poperinge was a key cog in the British war machine. The local population conducted a prosperous trade with the well-paid British soldiers. For these soldiers, this was a place of carefree enjoyment away from the trenches but also a place of military justice and law. So-called ’deserters’ were often executed here by firing squad at first light of dawn. Pressure of military traffic forced the British to introduce a oneway system in the town and they also built a ring road. This ’Switch Road’ still exists today. During the war (and afterwards) it was often referred to by local inhabitants as the ’Swiss Road’, since they had trouble coping with the Anglo-Saxon pronunciation!

(37.5 km) Using the numbered junction points of the Westhoek cycling network, this route will lead visitors on a themed tour around the First World War battlefields of Diksmuide. The cycle-friendly roads and pathways pass various historic sites, such as Diksmuide town centre, the IJzer Tower, the Trench of Death, Onze-Lieve-Vrouwhoekje (Our Lady’s Corner), the River IJzer and the military cemeteries at Keiem and Vladslo.

Thematic cycle route: ’Mine Warfare: Messines Ridge 1917’

(28.6 km) This thematic route allows the visitor to make acquaintance with the scars on the landscape caused by this cataclysmic battle. On 7 June 1917 the Allies exploded 19 ’deep’ mines under the German lines. The route starts at Hill 60 and runs south towards Wijtschate and Messines, before returning to Zillebeke.

Thematic cycle route: ’The Ypres Salient’

(35 km) Using the numbered junction points of the Westhoek cycling network, this route will lead visitors on a themed tour around the First World War battlefields of Ypres (Ieper) and its famous Salient. A route map and explanation can be obtained from the Tourist Office in Ieper. Park, Irish Peace Messines

An Allied camp in Loker

Tourist routes 14-18

Tourist routes 14-18

128


131 Tourist routes 14-18

Tourist routes 14-18

130

Diksmuide

Walking Craters and Mines walking route

(7 or 9 km) This walking route starts in Wijtschate (Heuvelland) and is 7 or 9 kilometres long, depending upon the circuit followed. The route links a German mine shaft, the crater at the ’Petit Bois’ and the crater at ’Peckham’ (with the Pool of Peace). These sites are mainly associated with the great mine offensive against the Messines Ridge in 1917.

Messines Ridge Peace Path

(3.5 km) The Messines Ridge Peace Path leads past the most important First World War sites in and around the town of Messines (Mesen). A brochure for this themed walk can be obtained at the local Tourist Office.

From ’The Bluff’ to ’die grosse Bastion’

(10, 7.5 or 4.3 km) This route charts the history of the ’Palingbeek’ provincial park during the First World War. An unsignposted theme walk in the series ’Folklore and History Along the Way’.

Albert Baert and Poperinge in WWI ’We imagined that we were in Paris’

(6.2 km) An unsignposted theme walk in the series ’Folklore and History Along the Way’. Extracts from the diary of Albert Baert are interspersed with songs and music of the period (using an MP3 player obtained from Talbot House in Poperinge). A treasure hunt for children is linked to this route.

The Battle of Mount Kemmel 1918

(10 or 5 km) A signposted theme walk following the Heuvelland junction network, in the series ’Folklore and History Along the Way’. The route follows the footsteps of the French Army between the villages of Kemmel and Loker.

The brochures for these routes, can be purchased from the various tourist offices in the Westhoek. These tourist offices can also inform you about temporary exhibitions and events related to the theme of the First World War. Similar information can be obtained from the visitors’ centre in Ieper. Most brochures are in Dutch, but maps inside the brochure can still be a great help.


O.L.V. ter Duinen Vlissegem Bredene aan Zee Klemskerke BREDENE

OOSTENDE ’THE GREAT WAR’ IN THE FLANDERS FIELDS COUNTRY

p. 1 p. 4 p. 6 p. 9

0km BRUGGE

Konterdam

Zandvoorde

Middelkerke MIDDELKERKE Bad

Wilskerke Westende

10km

Sint-Kruis

Sint’War and Peace in the Westhoek’Sijsele Andries Assebroek links together various museums, Varsenare Sint-Michiels cemeteries, monuments and puSteenbrugge blic sites which together seek to Oedelem tell the story of the Great War in our region. (See map)

E40

OUDENBURG Ettelgem

Leffinge

5km

Stalhille

Raversijde

NOORDZEE

DAMME Moerkerke

Meetkerke

Sas Slijkens

Mariakerke

Koolkerke

Houthave

Snaaskerke

JABBEKE

E40

IJz

Zerkegem Bad 10 Roksem Snellegem Slijpe Brug GISTEL 11 Westkerke Westende Bekegem Slijpe Nieuwpoort 11 Loppem OOSTKAMP Lombardsijde aan zee Heidelberg 13 IJzer Oostduinkerke E40 ZEDELGEM Zevekote 3 BEERNEM aan zee 1 Ieper Sint-Joris Moerdijk 14 St. Pieters NIEUWPOORT Eernegem In Flanders Fields Museum N33 Kapelle Moere Koksijde 14 Oostduinkerke Mannekensvere aan zee Visitor Waardamme Centre rt Spermalie Molendorp poo Zande Aartrijke St.-Idesbald 15 Ramskapelle ieuw Schore rne-N Veu Sparappelhoek Diksmuide Veldegem 17 Hertsberge Engel KOKSIJDE DE PANNE Wulpen Kruishoek Leke 2a Yzer Tower Schoorbakke 18 Geuzenbos KOEKELARE Ruddervoorde N35 2b Trench of Death Wildenburg Mokker 19 Duinhoek Booitshoeke ICHTEGEM Stuivekenskerke Wynendaele Pervijze Keiem 19 Bray-Dunes 3 Nieuwpoort Adinkerke 13 20 rque Avekapelle Ganzenpoot (Goose’s Foot) Dunke al De Beerst VEURNE TORHOUT E40 dcoote 21 Can Veldhoek Albert I Monument Steenkerke Bovekerke Scheewege 2b Ghyvelde Zoutenaaie WINGENE 22 Edewalle Bredensweger Vladslo 4 KemmelHille De Moeren Eggewaartskapelle 22 Kaaskerke RUIS Hand Oostkerke French Ossuary DIKSMUIDE zamevaart Bulskamp effrinckoucke Zwevezele LICHTERVELDE 23 Esen KORTEMARK Handzame Werken Schuiferska Lampernisse l aa 5 Merkem 2a rt Kan aa 25 Rijken Oeren Sint-Jakobs r ne atv Fortem Haantje Les Moëres Veu pg kapelle Wulveringem N35 Drie Grachten Egem Slo 26 Uxem Vinkem Zarren Houtem Oudekapelle N32 (Three Brooks) TIELT Nieuwe ALVERINGEM Zarren Driekapellen Woumen herberg 28 beek Nieuwkapelle ’De Boot’ PITTEM Geite Doorntje Koolskamp Klerken Izenberge Sint-Rijkers Gits Colme 32 la Basse Canal de 6 Zonnebeke

er

Lo

va

ar

t

IJzer

Woesten

Brielen

POPERINGE N38 ek lbe

ote

Ke

Sint-Jan

De Klijte

Loker Loker Dranouter

St. Jans Cappel

4

Meteren

BAILLEUL

Beselare

10

Zandvoorde

Houthem

WERVIK

Lys

Wervicq-Sud

Frelinghien Outersteene

Nieppe

Bousbecque

Bas Warneton

Sint-Eloois

Winkel 10 Zillebeke Hill 60

Desse

Beveren

KUURNE

DEERL

11 Langemark HARELBEKE German military cemetery e Lei KORTRIJK 12 Mesen Bissegem A19 Irish Peace Park Gullegem

Heule

14 HouthulstAalbeke Rekkem Belgian military cemetery Bellegem 15 HoogledeRollegem Ruddervoorde German military cemetery

The Westhoek Linselle

± Frontline (1915-1917)

Ploegsteert

Merris

WI Ooigem

WEVELGEM

Halluin

COMINES

Warneton

9 Passendale LENDELEDE Hulste Tyne Cot Cemetery Bavikhove

ZWEVEGEM 13 Vladslo Marke Lauwe German military cemetery

ebeek

MENEN

Deulemont Strazeele

Geluw

Geluwe

Comines

Nieuwkerke

LEDEGEM

Geluveld

Zwarte Leen

MESEN Douve

ek

8 Boezinge CanalIZEGEM bank site John McCrae

Moorsele

Oosttaverne

12

lebe

Dadizele Terhand

Hollebeke

HEUVELLAND Kemmel

RollegemKapelle

Heu

A19

Sint-Eloois

Vierstraat

Wulvergem

MOORSLEDE

Verloren Hoek

Potyze

Borre

HAZEBROUCK

6

Zillebeekse vijver Zillebeke

Wijtschate Berthen

Beitem

1

Dikkebusse vijver

Vossemolen

Passendale

Keiberg

Ouderdom Dikkebus

Gr

Monts des Cats

9

OOSTROZEB

INGELMUNSTER

Oekene

ZONNEBEKE

IEPER

Kruisstraat

Flêtre

aple

Sint-Juliaan

e mm

Emelgem Cemetery

Poelkapelle

Voormezele

Westouter

Manegem Poperinge

De Ruiter

11 Canadien

Vlamertinge

Brandhoek

Beveren

Zilverberg

ee

Caestre

8

Elverdinge

St. Sylvestre Cappel

Hondeghem

Boezinge

t

ARDOOIE Memorial Museum Passchendaele

Het Veld 7a Kuipendaarde Talbot House ROESELARE MEULEBEKE 7b Lijssenthoek Military Rumbeke Kachtem

Oostnieuwkerke

Westrozebeke

erl

Eecke

ek

Iep

Godewaersvelde

sbe

LANGEMARKPOELKAPELLE

Zuidschote

Reningelst Boeschepe

Terdeghem

Jan

al

STEENVOORDE

88) CASSEL

Ste Marie Cappel

eek

7b

kana

Hardifort

r ete Vl N38

IJzer

melb

Abele

Kem

A25

St.

a

e

Sleihage

Vijfwege

Bikschote

N8

k

Wijnendale

Tasse

5 Merkem

Luzerne

Winnezeele

e be

Oxelaere

VLETEREN Oostvleteren

P o pe r i n g e v

Oudezeele

STADEN

Noordschote

Reninge

ar

14

Jonkershove

Kapellehoek

HOOGLEDE

del

Killem Killem

54 Killem-Linde 56 Beveren Stavele Rexpoede aëdypre 62 Les 5 Chemins Westvleteren r e West 73 Cappel IJz RoesbruggeHaringe Oost Cappel 99 Wylder Krombeke 09 Haringe 14 Bambecque Proven 17 Herzeele Houtkerque 22 WORMHOUT 23 Sint-Jan-ter Biezen 25 7a Watou 27 Droogland

UM HIS

HOUTHULST

Pollinkhove

52

e

15

Spaarbekken De Blankaart

LO-RENINGE

Gijverinkhove

Man

Hoogstade

t

Leisele

HONDSCHOOTE

Warhem

Lovaar

38

oymille

QUESNOY sur deule

Bondues


www.tourismflandersfields.be

• www.greatwar.be about the war in the Westhoek • www.inflandersfields.be about the museum in Ypres • www.cwgc.org about British military cemeteries • www.talbothouse.be about Talbot House in Poperinge • www.lijssenthoek.be about the hospital cemetery Lijssenthoek in Poperinge • www.ijzertoren.org about the IJzer Tower in Diksmuide • www.passchendaele.be about the museum in Zonnebeke • www.awm.gov.au about Australia in the war • www.collectionscanada.ca about Canada in the war • www.abmc.gov about America in the war • www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defense.gouv.fr about French soldiers in the war • www.historial.org about France in the war and the museum in Péronne • www.volksbund.de about German military cemeteries • www.deulys.com about Deulys, a cross-border remembrance program about WWI

TOURISM INFO WEBSITES • www.tourismflandersfields.be about the Flanders Fields Country • www.visitflanders.co.uk & www.visitflanders.us about Flanders-Belgium

Tourism Office for Flanders, Belgium New York Times Building 620 Eight Avenue, 44th Floor New York, NY10018 T. (212)584-2336 www.visitflanders.us

The Flanders Fields Countr y

Tourism Flanders-Brussels Flanders House 1a Cavendish Square London, W1G OLD T. (020)7307-7738 www.visitflanders.co.uk

• VISITORS CENTRE

• LO-RENINGE

for Ypres & Westhoek Grote Markt 34 8900 Ieper T. 0032(0)-57 23 92 20 toerisme@ieper.be www.visitypres.be

Markt 17a, Lauka 8647 Lo-Reninge T. 0032(0)-58 28 91 66 info@lauka.be www.lauka.be

• ALVERINGEM Sint Rijkersstraat 19 8690 Alveringem T. 0032(0)-58 28 88 81 toerisme.cultuur@alveringem.be www.alveringem.be • DIKSMUIDE Grote Markt 28 8600 Diksmuide T. 0032(0)-51 51 91 46 toerisme@stad.diksmuide.be www.diksmuide.be • HEUVELLAND Sint-Laurentiusplein 1 8950 Kemmel T. 0032(0)-57 45 04 55 toerisme@heuvelland.be www.heuvelland.be • HOOGLEDE Marktplaats 1, 8830 Hooglede T. 0032(0)-51 20 30 30 toerisme@hooglede.be www.hooglede.be • HOUTHULST Markt 17, 8650 Houthulst T. 0032(0)-51 46 08 94 toerisme@houthulst.be www.houthulst.be • KOEKELARE Sint-Maartensplein 15B 8680 Koekelare T. 0032(0)-51 58 92 01 diensttoerisme@koekelare.be www.koekelare.be • KORTEMARK Torhoutstraat 9 8610 Werken (Kortemark) T. 0032(0)-51 56 61 08 T. 0032(0)-51 57 09 15 toerisme@kortemark.be www.kortemark.be

• MESEN Markt 22, 8957 Mesen T. 0032(0)-57 22 17 14 info@mesen.be www.mesen.be • POPERINGE Grote Markt 1, 8970 Poperinge T. 0032(0)-57 34 66 76-77 toerisme@poperinge.be www.toerismepoperinge.be • STADEN Marktplaats 2, 8840 Staden T. 0032(0)-51 70 82 00 toerisme@staden.be www.staden.be • VEURNE Grote Markt 29, 8630 Veurne T. 0032(0)-58 33 55 31 infotoerisme@veurne.be www.veurne.be • VVV VEURNE- AMBACHT Huis de Bryarde 12 8630 Beauvoorde (Veurne) T. 0032(0)-58 29 92 29 • VLETEREN Kasteelstraat 39 8640 Vleteren T. 0032(0)-57 40 00 99 toerisme@vleteren.be www.vleteren.be

new

announCed • WERVIK Koestraat 63, 8940for Wervik suMMer T. 0032(0)-56 95 24 25 toerisme@wervik.be http://toerisme.wervik.be

2012

The Flanders Fields Country & The Great War

INTERESTING FIRST WORLD WAR WEBSITES

• ZONNEBEKE Ieperstraat 7A 8980 Zonnebeke T. 0032(0)-51 77 04 41 toerisme@zonnebeke.be www.zonnebeke.be

the Lijssenthoek MiLitary

• LANGEMARK-POELKAPELLE • NIEUWPOORT Kasteelstraat 1 Marktplein 7, 8620 Nieuwpoort 8920 Langemark T. 0032(0)-58 22 44 44 T. 0032(0)-57 49 09 41 Your smartphone guides info@nieuwpoort.be you through the story of nurse Jane, toerisme@langemark-poelkapelle.be www.nieuwpoort.be www.langemark-poelkapelle.be the research of Guillaume and the work of gardner Tom. It

CeMetery appLiCation

leads you up the cemetery to ten points of interest, each with a historic meaning. The characters are very much alive. Images and sounds increase the experience of the past. The field Westhoek Info: hospital emerges Koning from the surrounding fields. This application Albert I-laan 120, B-8200 Brugge is part of ”Diary T. 14-18”, a series which is linking to five im0032(0)-50 30 55 00 portant WW1-sites. Free download available on the App Store toerismewesthoek@westtoer.be and Android Market. www.tourismflandersfields.be

CAF EVE SITE MEM


Great War