PIERRE's PHOTO IMPRESSIONS of the WESTERN FRONT
1914-1918
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              Pierre Grande Guerre
              shows his
              photo impressions
              of his trips along
              the Western Front
              with his selfmade photo's,
              historic pictures,
              and maps.
              Few words,
              many pictures,
              and many links.
               
              Pierre
               
               
              Warning: Sometimes on the battlefield
              you will still find relics of explosives.
              All these shells, hand grenades, and
              mortar rounds can even nowadays still
              be very dangerous.
              Some of the artillery bombs may contain
              poison gas, which can cause severe
              blistering or worse injuries.
              In France it is by law forbidden to
              remove relics from the battlefield.
              So, it is for your own safety:
              take a picture of the steel harvest,
              but leave these relics untouched!
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              Pierre is a Dutch member
              of the Canadian
              Central Ontario Branch
              of the Western Front
              Association,
              In 2015 awarded with
              a lifetime membership!
               
              And a member of:
               
               
              The Western Front
              Association Nederland
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              LINKS TO THE SPECIAL

              PHOTO IMPRESSIONS

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              Pierre's Illustrated

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              'UNCLE HANSI" - (Dutch)

              Pierre's Illustrated

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              Pierre's illustrated

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              The Difficult Start

              of the L.I.R. 123 - (Eng)

              De Moeizame Start van

              het L.I.R. 123 - (Dutch)

              De Rode Duivels

              op de Hartmannswillerkopf (Dutch)

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              in de Vogezen (Dutch)

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              More Special

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              Armistice Clearing Compiègne

              Kaiser's Exile Huis Doorn

              Cambrai

              Fort de Mutzig - Feste Kaiser Wilhelm II

              Colmar and Hansi, the Illustrator 

              The Red Baron's Crash Site

              Canadian National Vimy Memorial

              SOMME 1918 The Australians

              Fricourt Archeological Excavations

              Traces of Bairnsfather  - Xmas Truce

              Yorkshire Trench and Dugout

              Bayernwald Trenches Inside 

              LINKS TO ALL
              BATTLEFIELD
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              in the CORRECT SEQUENCE

              AISNE 

              Chemin des Dames part 1 

              Chemin des Dames part 2 - Dragon's Cave

              Chemin des Dames part 3     

              ALSACE LORRAINE

              The Gap of Charmes - La Trouée de C.

              Avricourt - Leintrey - Reillon - Montreux - Parux 

              Montreux German Front Walk

              The Battle of Morhange - 1914

              French Bunkers - Mnt. Grand Couronné 

              South of Metz - German Bunkers -

              Feste Wagner 

              ALSACE VOSGES NORTH

              Tête du Violu - Bernhardstein

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              Tête de Faux - Buchenkopf 

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              Lingekopf - le Linge  

              Kleinkopf - Barrenkopf 

              Hohrodberg-Giragoutte-Trois Epis  

              Reichackerkopf  

              Munster Valley Petit Ballon  

              Le Tanet - Bichtstein - Villa Sidi-Brahim

              Route des Crêtes - Hohneck -

              Gr. Ballon - Sudelkopf 

              Hartmannswillerkopf - Vieil Armand  

              Guebwiller - Rimbach - Hirzstein  

              Moosch Nécropole Nationale  

              ALSACE SUNDGAU  

              Zillisheim Illfurth Largitzen Pfetterhouse 

              Burnhaupt-le-Bas Bunker Path     

              ARGONNE

              Mort Homme Côte 304

              Montfaucon- Romagne s/s Montfaucon

              Butte de Vauquois

              Haute Chevauchée

              The Bunker of the German Crownprince

              ARTOIS

              Illies - Wicres    

              Neuve Chapelle - Richebourg

              Aubers - 1915 

              Fromelles - 1916  

              Neuville-St. Vaast - Souchez

              Notre Dame de Lorette 

              Loos

              Arras Wellington Quarry

              Vimy Ridge

              Lichfield Crater

              CHAMPAGNE

              St. Hilaire le Grand Russian Cmty  Mont Navarin

              Sommepy Mont de Blanc Mont

              La Main des Massiges

              MARNE 

              Verberie Néry Villers Cotterêts  

              First Battle of the Marne   

              Belleau Wood - Château Thierry  

              Second Battle of the Marne

              SAINT MIHIEL

              Les Eparges Ridge

              Calonne Trenches Tranchée

              Fort de Troyon

              Apremont Forest Trenches

              Butte de Montsec

              Rémenauville Destroyed Village

              le Bois le Prêtre / das Priesterwald 

              SOMME British Sector

              SOMME INTRODUCTION

              Auchonvillers Trench

              Mine Craters Lochnagar Hawthorn

              Thiepval Memorial Mouquet Farm  

              Thiepval Wood - Ulster Tower

              Ovillers La Boiselle

              Hawthorn Ridge Beaumont Hamel

              Redan Ridge 

              Newfoundland Memorial Park  

              Serre Hébuterne 

              Sheffield Memorial Park Serre

              Gommecourt 

              Fricourt Deutsche Kriegsgräberstatte 

              Contalmaison 

              Mametz Wood 

              Trones Wood Montauban Guillemont

              Caterpillar Valley Longueval 

              High Wood Longueval

              Delville Wood Longueval

              Pozières  

              Martinpuich

              le Sars Butte de Warlencourt

              Flers Gueudecourt

              Adanac Canadian Cmty. Mireaumont

              SOMME French Sector 

              Bouchavesnes

              Rancourt Cimetière National

              Rancourt Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof

              Dompierre - Becquincourt Fay Soyécourt

              Flaucourt Biaches

              VERDUN

              VERDUN Citadel 

              Thiaumont - PC 118 & 119 - A 320

              Road To Fort Douaumont       

              Fort de Douaumont

              Douaumont Nécropole Nationale  

              Côte Froideterre - Les 4 Chéminées 

              Fort de Souville 

              Fort de Vaux 

              Tunnel de Tavannes Fort

              La Voie Sacrée

              Bois des Caures - Col. Driant's C.P. 

              Flabas German Reprisals Camp

              The German Camp Marguerre 

              Duzey German 380mm Artillery Base

              Destroyed Villages Bezonvaux - Ornes

              Azannes - Damvillers - La Grande Montagne 

              YPRES

              Menin Road Railway Wood

              Maple Copse - Hill 62 - Hooge

              Clapham Junction Zandvoorde Bunker

              Polygon Wood Zonnebeke

              Hill 60 - Hollebeke -

              St. Elooi - Lankhof Farm

              Messines Ridge

              Pilkem Ridge

              Boezinge Essex Farm Ziegler Bunker

              Langemark Poelkapelle St. Juliaan

              Passchendaele Ridge

              Mount Kemmel Lettenberg Bunkers

              Ploegsteert Wood

              YZER

              Nieuport Ramskapelle

              Pervijze  Stuijvekenskerke

              Diksmuide Trench of Death 

              Leke Vladslo Houthulst

              OTHER GREAT WAR LINKS

              Pierre's Nederlandstalige
              artikelen en columns
              over de Grote Oorlog
               
              (Copy & Paste de titel in de
              zoekmachine!) 
               
              Bochkareva en haar Vrouwenbataljon
              Bretonse Bécassine tijdens de Oorlog
              De Vanceboro Bridge Bomaanslag
              Beneath Hill 60
              Tijdreizen Op Internet
              Leutnant Von Forstner Koopt Chocolade
              Duitslands Oudste Oorlogsvrijwilliger
              Marcel's Bajonet
              Souvenir de Bezonvaux
              Namibië-Etnische Zuivering-1904-1908
              Het Beleg van Fort de Vaux
              Explosiecatastrofe In Fort Douaumont 
              Franse Aas der Azen: René Fonck
              Chasseurs Alpins, Franse Alpenjagers
              Prowse Point Cemetery
              Hoe Sgt. Kunze Fort Douaumont
                 veroverde op 25-02-1916.
              Frank Hurley: Fotoshoppen In 1917
              De Kaiserschlacht,
                 een beknopte samenvatting.
              Herdenking Op Douaumont 2008
              Wapenstilstand 1918 -90 Jaar Geleden
              Vijfde Lustrum WFA Nederland,
                 11-10-2008.
              Geur van Drukinkt
              De Vallei van Munster
              Der Rote Baron Versus Flyboys 
              De Fantomen van Landowski
              Louise de Bettignies -
                 Queen of English Spies
              Monument Op Vimy Ridge
              De Erewacht van
                 Notre Dame de Lorette
              Tank Tegen Tank 90 Jaar Terug
              Von Richthofen's Laatste Noodlanding
              Generaal Von Lettow Vorbeck
              Grafschennis Notre Dame de Lorette
              Google Earth 
              De Kaiserschlacht 90 Jaar Geleden 
              De Wolfsberg - le Hamel
              Overleden Veteranen
              Franse Sector Aan De Somme
              Kerstbestand 1914
              Raadselachtig Graf
              Caporetto; Kiem Van Fascisme
              Lenin's Treinreis
              Tsjechen Aan Het Westelijk Front
              Mata Hari
              325 Miljoen Voor 12 Zeppelins
              Slagvelden Van de Somme
              Schroot
              Op de Lingekopf
              Weinig Duitse Monumenten
                  Somme
              Soldaten Standbeelden
              Mosterdgas 1917
              Schwaben Redoubt
              Oogst Van Roest
              Mortier
              De Tekenaar Hansi
              Gifgas Bij Vancouver Corner
              Nationaliteit Kwijt?
              Beloond Geduld
              Prins Harry Naar Irak
              Thiepval
              De Arm Van De Kaiser
              Artilleriebunkers Nabij Duzey
              Kamp Flabas
              Eerherstel voor "Deserteurs"
              Vredig plekje?
              Moslimmonument in Verdun 
              Bayernwald
              De Slag aan de Somme
              De Tunnel van Tavannes
              Kapitein Joost van Vollenhoven
              Huis Doorn
              Update
                 “Raadselachtig Ansichtkaartje II
              Raadselachtig Ansichtkaartje I 

               

               












              Hooge
              Ypres Salient:
               
              Hooge 

              Menin Road, Stage 2

              The Canadian Corps and  

              The Battle of Mount Sorrel and Hill 62 

              Maple Copse Cemetery 

              Sanctuary Wood Cemetery 

              Sanctuary Wood Trenches

              Hill 62 Canadian Memorial

              Hooge Crater Cemetery 

              Hooge German Trenches - Bunkers - Craters 

               Years of visit: 2005 - 2006 - 2016
               
              Revised and re-edited in March 2017

              The former photo impression of “Menin Road, Stage 1” explored the northern side of the Menin Road. This impression, Stage 2, explores the southern side of the N 8 and finishes at Hooge along the Menin Road. During this trip we focus on an area of approximately 2.5 x 2.5 kilometres; the former battlefield of the Battle of Mount Sorrel and Hill 62 of June 1916 involving the Canadian Corps and the German XIII (Royal Württemberg) Army Corps.

              In this second stage of our Menin Road explorations we start again at the junction of “Hellfire Corner”, south-east of Ypres. This time we turn right on the N 8 at the junction of Birr Cross Roads Cemetery to continue southward to our first stop, the Maple Copse Cemetery. From there we return to the Menin Road to continue eastward and turn right at the Canadalaan to visit the Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, the Sanctuary Wood Trenches, and the Hill 62 Canadian Memorial. From the Memorial we return again to the N 8 to continue eastward to visit at the hamlet of Hooge the Hooge Crater Cemetery and the German trenches, bunkers and mine craters. In between I will explain briefly in several illustrated frames the background of these sites.

              As in the former photo impression of “Menin Road, Stage 1” we start at the traffic roundabout of “Hellfire Corner”, south-east of Ypres.

              We follow the N 8 Menin Road eastward until “Het Kanon” and Birr Cross Roads Cemetery to turn southward to the Wulvestraat. At the T-junction with the Slachteweidestraat we turn left to continue over a very narrow road south-eastward for some 1,900 metres, passing the Hof Platteelwalle Farm, to stop at the gate of the Maple Copse Cemetery.

              A tele view from the Hof Platteelwalle Farm at the Slachteweidestraat north-eastward to Hooge Cemetery and Hooge. 

               
              From the same spot a tele view southward over the fields to Maple Copse.
               
               
              We continue southward. On the west side of the road we see some 500 m. away the peak of the Cross of Sacrifice of the Sanctuary Wood Cemetery. 
               
               
              Arriving at our first stop, in front of Maple Copse Cemetery we spot on the east side of the road Hill 62.
               
               
              Before we continue our trip, I shall briefly explain in the frame below the situation around Hill 62 and Hooge in June 1916. 
               

              The Battle of Mount Sorrel and Hill 62 (2 - 14 June 1916)

              The Battlefield

              During the first 3 months of the war, the Germans were eager to occupy as much of the hills in the fields of Flanders as possible. The military advantage from the possession of even a modest hill of 45 m. amidst the lower fields is obvious: a better observation of the enemy, a better position for fortifications, and a better position for defence actions. The possession of a hill in Flanders fields offered any occupying force an excellent advantage for control over the lower grounds.

              The Battle of Mount Sorrel took place along a ridge between Hooge in the north and Hill 60 at Zwarteleen in the south. During the battle the opponents focused their attacks on the hills of Hooge (45 m.), Hill 62 named after its height, in 1916 also called “Torr Top” or “Tor Top”, and nearby Mount Sorrel (60 m.).

              The Opponents - XIII (Royal Württemberg) Army Corps

              In this front sector three divisions were deployed of the German Fourth Army under Albrecht Herzog von Württemberg: the 117. Infanterie Division  (117th Infantry Division), and the 26. (1. Königlich Württembergische) Division and 27. (2. Königlich Württembergische) Division of the XIII. (Königlich Württembergisches) Armee-Korps (XIII (Royal Württemberg) Army Corps) under Generalleutnant Theodor von Watter . Six weeks before the battle the staff of Generalleutnant Theodor von Watter’s XIII. Armee-Korps planned and prepared carefully an attack on the Canadian lines west of Hooge, Hill 62 and Mount Sorrel. The objective was to take definite control of these hills.

              Canadian Corps

              From May there were four divisions of the British Second Army under General Sir Herbert Plumer stationed in this front sector: the three Canadian Divisions of the Canadian Corps under Lieutenant-General the Honourable Sir Julian Byng. Later during the battle, the Canadians were reinforced by an Infantry Brigade from the 20th Light Division.

              Mid May - Aerial Reconnaissance

              During the second half of May, observers of the Royal Flying Corps detected behind the German lines near Mount Sorrel the existence of trench networks resembling the Canadian positions. The Württemberg soldiers dug these copied trenches for field training of their troops among others to improve their orientation for the coming attack. The aerial reconnaissance detected also that the Germans were digging new sap trenches towards the Canadian lines, in June 1916 - a known sign of a future attack.

              Preparations Battle

              From 29 May 1916 Lieutenant-General Byng inspected the positions of the Canadian Corps. Byng observed that the Germans on their higher positions overlooked the Canadian troops. The positions of the Canadian Corps were under constant danger of fire.

              Byng assigned Major-General Malcolm Mercer of the 3rd Canadian Division to design an attack plan to overrun the German positions. While the Canadian Major-General Mercer began preparations for an attack, the German Generalleutnant Theodor von Watter deployed his own plan of attack and released his three Divisions.

              German Preliminary Artillery Bombardment

              On 2 June 1916 at 6.00 AM, the artillery of the XIII Army Corps opened a bombardment on the Canadian positions. When the bombardment began, Major-General Mercer and Brigadier-General Arthur Williams of 8th Canadian Brigade were inspecting the front line. Stunned and deafened by a shell burst Major-General Mercer still found his way to an aid post. He insisted immediately on leaving to rejoin his Headquarters. Mercer was hit next and his leg was broken. Next he was struck again, this time by shrapnel, and killed. Brigadier-General Williams was wounded in the head and taken prisoner during the later following infantry attack. Of course, the loss of two key commanders at the onset of the operations was a critical setback. The bombardment wounded and killed 90 percent of the Canadian forward troops.

              Detonation Mines Mount Sorrel - Infantry Attack

              At 1:00 PM, German pioneers detonated four mines near the Canadian forward trenches of Mount Sorrel, followed immediately by an infantry attack.

              With six battalions the Württemberg 26th and 27th Infantry Divisions attacked the positions held by the 8th Canadian Brigade. At Sanctuary Wood the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry held off the attack sustaining high casualties.

              The main force of the Württembergs attacked the 1st and 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles and a Company of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. The Germans captured Hill 62 and Mount Sorrel. After advancing up to 1,100 metres the Württemberg soldiers dug in to consolidate their new positions.

              3 June - Failed Counterattack

              In the night of 3 June Lieutenant-General Byng hastily organized a counterattack. Brigadier-General Hoare Nairne of the Lahore Divisional Artillery, took temporarily command of the 3rd Canadian Division. Because of the high casualty numbers in the 3rd Division, two brigades of the 1st Canadian Division were temporarily attached to the command of Brigadier-General Hoare Nairne. Mount Sorrel was the objective for Brigadier-General Lipsett’s 2nd Brigade. Brigadier-General Tuxford’s 3rd Brigade would attack Torr Top or Hill 62. In the southern attack sector the 7th Brigade would attack Hill 60.

              Owing to heavy German artillery fire on troops on their way to the jump-off lines, the Canadian counterattack, scheduled to begin on 3 June 1916 at 2:00 AM, was postponed until 7:00 AM. From the beginning the attack started with general confusion, when the chosen start signal of six simultaneous launched green rockets failed. Some rockets misfired and did not burst. As a consequence the three attacks did not start simultaneously but began at different times enabling the Germans to concentrate their fire.

              As the troops had to advance in broad daylight and over open ground, the Canadians suffered heavy losses. Some small parties managed to penetrate parts of the German front line trenches. But the Canadians were not able to capture or hold the trenches. At about 1.00 PM they had to retreat to their jump-off positions. The attack failed to regain any lost territory. But on some locations the Canadians managed to advance the front line about 900 – 1,500 metres from the positions they were forced to retreat to on 2 June.

              British Reinforcements and Second German Attack

              General Plumer sent reinforcements to Byng: an infantry brigade from the 20th Light Division and a number of additional artillery units; two South African Howitzer Batteries, 89th Siege Battery, 51st Howitzer Battery and the artillery of the 9th Infantry Brigade of 3rd Division. The artillery batteries immediately started shelling the German batteries, the forward trenches, support trenches and reserve trenches.

              6 June – 4 Mine Explosions at Hooge

              The Germans were not impressed. On 6 June at 3.00 PM they surprised the Canadians by exploding four large mines under the forward trenches of the 2nd Canadian Division at the outskirts of the ruins of Hooge.

              A company of the Canadian 28th (North West) Battalion was wiped out by the explosions. In despite of these mines and the follow-up of an infantry attack the Canadians managed to hold their positions for a while.

              But ultimately Byng decided to leave the Hooge trenches to the Germans. From then on Byng focused on the capture of Mount Sorrel and Hill 62.

              Byng ordered Major-General Arthur Currie of the 1st Canadian Division to plan an attack on the German positions at Mount Sorrel and Hill 62. Owing to the casualties of the unsuccessful counterattack of 3 June, Currie was forced to re-organize his battalions into two composite brigades.

              From 4 June the already bad weather deteriorated. Air reconnaissance became impossible. Both parties postponed larger actions. Until 8 June the Württembergs gained some terrain westward up to Maple Copse (dark brown line Canadian Trench Map).

              9-12 - June Preliminary Bombardments

              Between 9 and 12 June Currie’s artillery launched four intense bombardments of thirty minutes each in an effort to deceive the Germans into expecting immediate attacks, which did not take place.

              On 12 June the artillery shelled for ten hours all the German positions between Sanctuary Wood, south of Hooge, and Hill 60 at Zwarteleen.

              13 June – Canadian Success at Hill 62 and Mount Sorrel

              On 13 June the Germans suffered an additional 45 minutes of a heavy artillery bombardment. After this preliminary bombardment at 1.30 PM, the Canadian troops advanced behind a smoke screen. On the left Brigadier-General Tuxford’s 2nd, 4th, 13th, 15th and 16th Battalions attacked Hill 62. On the right Brigadier-General Lipsett’s 1st, 3rd, and 8th Battalions attacked Mount Sorrel. In the south the 7th Brigade attacked Hill 60.

              Notice in the map detail above the Canadian names of the trenches.

              This time the infantry attack completely surprised the Württembergs. The Germans offered little resistance. The Canadians were able to take some 200 prisoners. With exception of the trenches at Hooge, the Germans fell back to their original jump-off trenches. In less than an hour the attack was over.

              The Aftermath - Casualties

              On 14 June the Germans launched two counterattacks to no avail. On the other hand, they managed to advance their trenches to a distance within 150 metres of the Canadian lines, but they made no further attempts to attack.

              Although the battle ended in a Canadian victory, securing Mount Sorrel and Hill 62, the Canadian casualty numbers were much higher than the German numbers, in particular the significant numbers of men wounded or Missing In Action.

              Between 2 June and 14 June 1916, the Canadian Corps lost a total of 73 officers and 1,053 soldiers killed; 257 officers and 5,010 men wounded; 57 officers and 1,980 men missing, a total of 8,430.

              German losses were 32 officers and 1,191 soldiers killed; 71 officers and 3,911 men wounded; 6 officers and 554 men missing, a total of 5,765.

              The Canadian Corps would stay in the Ypres Salient until the beginning of September, when the corps was transferred to the Somme. 

              Detail trench map below: The British front line after the battle on 31 August 1916

              The photo of Hill 62 above was taken just from the northeast corner of Maple Copse Cemetery. 

               
              Maple Copse Cemetery
               
              The gate of Maple Copse Cemetery.
               
               

              Maple Copse Cemetery - Maple Copse was the name given by the Army to a small plantation about 900 metres east of the village of Zillebeke, and just west of Sanctuary Wood. The place was used by Advanced Dressing Stations and burials took place there both before and after the Battle of Mount Sorrel in June 1916. The graves were mostly destroyed, however, in that engagement, and in later fighting. The site of the cemetery, on the north side of the copse, was enclosed after the Armistice, but of the graves known to exist there, only a small number could be definitely located.

              The cemetery now contains 308 burials and commemorations of the First World War. Of the 78 burials that could be located, only 26 are identified and special memorials commemorate 230 casualties whose graves in the cemetery had been destroyed.

              The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

              Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

              On almost every gravestone we find this text:
              “KNOWN TO BE BURIED IN THIS CEMETERY”.
               

               
              The grave of a 17 year old Scottish lad, killed on a "ordinary" front day, not during a particular battle.
               
               
              The young men buried here, were soldiers from all kinds of British units, ....
               
               
              ...  fallen in this front sector between 1914 and 1916 near Mount Sorrel and Hill 62.
               
               
              A variety of the gravestone text, a small statement witnessing to the horrifying scenes here, on a grave of a young Canadian soldier, aged 18: "BURIED ELSEWHERE IN THIS CEMETERY". 
               
               
               
              Scottish, English, and Canadian soldiers sharing the same row together.
               
                
                
                
              Before we continue with some photos of our 2016 visit to this cemetery, I show you as a reminder two details of a German trench map of the area of Maple Copse.
               
               
              When we are in the Ypres Salient we always pay 1-2 visits to Maple Copse Cemetery. It is always a very quiet place to rest a little and to contemplate the horrors of the events which have taken place in these nowadays peaceful landscapes.
                
               
              The grave of another young Canadian soldier, only 17, fallen on the most successful day of the Battle of Hill 62.
               
               
              Every visit I choose another set of graves for a closer inspection. In September 2016 I detected this set of headstones of the two brothers Tyreman.
               
               

              The Tyreman Brothers Fallen In 1916

              The brothers were Fred, 18, and William Tyreman, 23, from Brompton near Northallerton. Both were soldiers from "Z" company of the 4th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. Fred fell in Armagh Wood on 27 February 1916 and William died on 2 March 1916, only 4 days apart.

              William had written home on the 28th: 
              "Dear Mother, Sisters, and Brother, It is with a heart nearly broken that I write these few lines home to you to tell you of the sad news of poor Fred being killed on Sunday, the 27th. Mother, I hardly know how to tell you of the dreadful news...... Well Mother, I cannot tell you more, as I am nearly done up and my eyes are nearly closed, but be brave and ask the Lord to help you. Hoping you will write back by return with news from home. Will write more tomorrow telling you all. I remain, Your broken-hearted Son."

              Capt. Sproxton of the 4th Battalion wrote on the 3 March their sister about the circumstances of death of William:
              "B.E.F. - Dear Mrs. Mitchinson, After my letter of two days ago I hardly know how I can tell you that your other brother William George Tyerman (sic), who was in this Company, was fatally wounded in the early hours of the 2nd, and died a short time afterwards in the Dressing Station. He suffered no pain as the bullet went clean through his lung. He is buried side by side with his brother and the Christian Burial Service was read over both. I write to you rather than to his Mother because I understand that she is ill in bed, and I am sure that you will be able to break this news far better than I could in any letter of mine. I cannot say how grieved I am that this double tragedy should have fallen on Mrs. Tyerman at such a time. Please express the most heartfelt sympathy of the Company, Officers and Men - for both boys were very popular. By this time you will have received William's letter on his brother's death. That letter will be proof enough to you that he also died a good Christian and a good soldier. May God be with you all at this awful period."

              Source a.o.: http://4thyorkshires.com/022Bn1916.html

               

              My always patient driver, Christine, takes a moment for contemplation. 

               
              We leave this impressive, beautiful, but mainly sad place in respectful silence.
               
               
              From Maple Copse Cemetery we return via the same Slachteweidestraat back to the Menin Road.
               
               
              At "Het Kanon" we turn right to continue eastward via the Menin Road to turn the first road right, the dead end Canadalaan, in English "Canada Avenue", in war times "Maple Avenue".
               
               
              View from the Canadalaan to Hooge.
               
               
              Sanctuary Wood Cemetery
               
              Our first stop on the Canadalaan is the Sanctuary Wood Cemetery.
               

              Sanctuary Wood Cemetery - Sanctuary Wood is one of the larger woods in this area. It was named in November 1914, when it was used to screen troops behind the front line. It was the scene of fighting in September 1915 and was the centre of the Battle of Mount Sorrel and Hill 62.

              There were three Commonwealth cemeteries at Sanctuary Wood before June 1916, all made in May-August 1915. The first two were on the western end of the wood, the third in a clearing further east. All were practically obliterated in the Battle of Mount Sorrel, but traces of the second were found and it became the nucleus of the present Sanctuary Wood Cemetery.

              At the Armistice, the cemetery contained 137 graves. From 1927 to 1932, Plots II-V were added and the cemetery extended, when burials were brought in from the surrounding battlefields. They came mainly from the communes immediately surrounding Ypres, but a few were taken from Nieuport (Flemish: "Nieuwpoort", on the coast) and smaller cemeteries.

              Most of these burials were from the 1914 Battles of Ypres and the Allied offensive of the autumn of 1917.

              There are now 1,989 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. Of these burials 1,353 are unidentified. Many graves, in all five plots, are identified in groups but not individually.

              In Plot I is buried Lieutenant G.W.L. Talbot, in whose memory Talbot House at Poperinghe was established in December 1915. The first list of the graves was made by his brother the Reverend Neville S. Talbot, MC, later Bishop of Pretoria.

              The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

              Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

               

              Trenches of the Sanctuary Wood Museum

              A few hundred metres south of the cemetery we visit the Trenches of the Sanctuary Wood Museum in the backyard of the "Hill 62" Café.  

              These trenches are a contentious reconstruction of Canadian trenches, open for (paying) visitors.  

               

              Anyway the location and the shell holes are authentic. The reconstructions do give an impression of the war situation.
               
               
              From the trenches of Sanctuary Wood a view at the nearby gate and the "Cross of Sacrifice" of Maple Copse Cemetery.
               
               
               
               

              From the Sanctuary Wood trenches we walk to the Canadian Memorial at Hill 62.

              Hill 62 Canadian Memorial

               
               

              The octagonal granite block is similar in shape to the Canadian Memorials on Passendale Ridge, at Bourlon Wood near Cambrai and Courcelettes, Somme.

              The inscription commemorates the Canadian Corps during the defence of Ypres and the Battle of Mount Sorrel and Hill 62.

              View from Hill 62 to Geluveld.

               
              View from Hill 62 to Mount Sorrel.
               
               
              View from Hill 62 to Ypres.
               
               

              We return via the Canadalaan to the Menin Road to turn right to continue to our next stop the Hooge Crater Cemetery. 

               
              Hooge Crater Cemetery
               
               

              Hooge Crater Cemetery was begun by the 7th Division Burial Officer early in October 1917. It contained originally 76 graves, in Rows A to D of Plot I, but was greatly increased after the Armistice when burials were brought in from the battlefields of Zillebeke, Zandvoorde and Geluveld and smaller cemeteries.

              There are now 5,916 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. Although 3,570 of the burials are unidentified, special memorials record the names of a number of casualties either known or believed to be buried among them, or whose graves in other cemeteries were destroyed by shell fire.

              The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

              Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

              Because the inscriptions on the headstones are directed south-westward, we walk downwards to the southern edge of the cemetery. 

               
              The southern edge of the cemetery offers a fine panorama to Sanctuary Wood and the fields surrounding the Canadalaan.
               
              The panorama from Hooge Crater Cemetery south-westward in 3 overlapping steps, starting southward and continuing clockwise.

              View to Sanctuary Wood. 

               
              Two views to the Canadalaan, from left to right.
               
               
               
              We walk upward the slope to look at some of the many graves.
               
               
               
               
               
               
              On the other side of the Menin Road, opposite the cemetery: the recommendable Hooge Crater Museum.
               
               
              Hooge
               
               
              Hooge Chateau and its stables were the scene of very fierce fighting throughout the Great War (see the British trench map detail above). Until November 1914 the Chateau was the divisional headquarters of Major-General Monro. On 31 October 1914, the staff of the British 1st and 2nd Division was wiped out, when the chateau was shelled. Major-General Monro was severely wounded and Lieutenant-General Lomax of the 1st Division was mortally wounded and died of his injuries on 10 April 1915. During the winter of 1914-1915 the front line moved some 1,000 metres eastward. From 24 May to 3 June 1915, the chateau ruins were defended against German attacks. On 2 June 1915 the German Infanterie Regiment 132 captured the chateau ruins and Hooge.
               

              The Hooge Crater

              On 19 July 1915 the British 175th Tunnelling Company Royal Engineers detonated a mine with a charge of 3,500 pounds of ammonal under the relics of the former Chateau Wood. The explosion killed about 100 Germans and destroyed completely the German position. When freshly blown, the crater measured 40 metres across and 12 metres deep.

              Photo below: British troops in 1915 in trenches on the lips of the Hooge Crater. 

              Nowadays the Belgian authorities have allowed here the ceation of a mass leisure park, called “Bellewaerde Park”, after the Bellewaerde Lake on its grounds. In the twenties of the 20th century the crater was filled up. So alas, it is not possible to make pictures of this crater nowadays.

              Hooge - August 1915 - September 1918

              On 30 July 1915 the Germans captured the chateau. On 9 August the British 6th Division regained it and the crater. The Germans re-captured Hooge on 6 June 1916. 

              After the 8th Division advanced 1,600 metres beyond Hooge, the Germans captured the hamlet on 31 July 1917.

              In April 1918 it was lost for the last time to the Germans, but on 28 September the 9th (Scottish) and 29th Divisions conquered Hooge.

               
              Bunkers Garden of the Kasteelhof 't Hooghe Hotel
               
              After a visit to the Hooge Crater Museum, on the northern side of the road, we walk some 75 metres to the east. After paying a volunteer fee in a box I entered the wooded terrain of the Kasteelhof 't Hooghe Hotel. At the entrance we find the first German bunker.
               
               
              Some relics of gas shells.
               
               
              The entrance of the bunker. 
               
               
              German launching tubes for gas shells.
               
               
              Relic of a gas container.
               
               
              There are three adjoining water-filled mine craters to be found here.
               
               
              The Germans detonated these 3 mines during the Battle of Hill 62 in June 1916. A sunken bunker on the edge of the crater.
               
               
              Relic of a trench.
               
               
              From the left, the spot in the sunlight on the grass, belonging to the terrain of the leisure park, the Germans launched their first attack with flamethrowers against British troops. 
               
               

              Reddemann’s Flamethrowers at Hooge

              In the early morning of 30 July 1915 at 03.15 AM. two companies (9 and 10) of the III. Garde-Pioneer Battalion under Major Reddemann completely surprised the troops of the 8th Rifle Brigade. During the infantry attack Reddemann’s “Pioniere” used a relative new weapon of 19 flamethrowers launching jets of flames of about 12-15 metres onto the men of the 7th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Under pressure of the attack the riflemen were thrown back to the southern side of the Menin Road, downhill, behind the western wall of Hooge Cemetery. After two days of fighting the 8th Rifle Brigade lost 19 officers and 462 soldiers and the 7th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps lost 12 officers and 289 other ranks.

              French Troops First Victims German Flamethrowers

              The British troops were not the first victims of German flamethrowers. In fact the French troops were the first victims of German flamethrowers. The companies of the III. Garde-Pioneer Battalion were deployed in previous engagements: in February 1915 in the Argonne near Malancourt and Vauquois,  in May 1915 in the Artois at Neuville-St. Vaast (Vimy), and after these deployments, on 30 July 1915, at Hooge. Unfortunately, it is erroneous to say that British troops were the first ever victims of flamethrowers at Hooge, as many British historians claim.

              Read more details about the origins of Reddemann’s flamethrowers elsewhere on this site in my English lecture about the German General Gaede.

              Another sunken bunker on the edge of the crater. The bunkers around the crater haven been built by the Germans in 1916.

              The water-filled trench to the entrance of the bunker.
               
               
              The entrance to the sunken bunker. 
               
               
               
              A last view over the 3 adjoining German craters of Hooge.
               
               
               Continue to the next chapter: further eastward via the Menin Road to Clapham Junction, Shrewsbury Forest Bunkers and the Zandvoorde Command Post Bunker.



              Reacties

              Brett op 19-07-2011 13:02
              Magnificent job Pierre. Simply magnificent!
              Pierre op 19-07-2011 18:35
              @ Brett. Thanks, Brett, thanks!
               
              Pierre
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