BOIS de PLOEGSTEERT

HOME
dawn at ploegsteert

dawn at ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

shattered british bunker

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

German bunker

mud corner

mud corner

mud corner

bois de ploegsteert

bois de ploegsteert

site of chateau de la hutte

summer evening at bois de ploegsteert

ploegsteert memorial

fields at ploegsteert

Apart from the cemeteries and the faint trace of trenches it is easy to forget that anything significant has ever happened here. The wood is now an area of managed woodland, with areas regularly coppiced, occupied by deer and other game which is once again managed by the keeper. The area was reasonably sheltered and offered some protection but due to the high water table the troops constructed timber roads to move on and timber cabins for shelter. The wood was largely destroyed by the end of the War, part of it having fallen to the Germans in 1918, in their spring offensive.

Ploegsteert, or to the British Plugstreet, remained in British hands for most of the War. The autumn and winter of 1914 saw fierce fighting along the northern edge of Plugstreet Wood but German pressure was resisted. Lanacashire Cottage Cemetery at the southern side of the wood has many casualties of the 1st Battn. Hampshire Regiment from a young drummer through to an older sergeant. All these men were irreplaceable trained professional soldiers from Britain's small prewar army. The undergrowth both here and in the adjacent Bois de la Hutte, hide many old bunkers. Some are little more than reinforced shelters giving protection from bullets and shrapnel but unlikely to survive a direct hit fromheavy artillery, while others are hardened fighting positions from the later period of German occupation.

The line in this area was a centre for the Christmas 1914 truce when soldiers from both sides joined one another in no-man's land to celebrate the season of peace. Unfortunately, it did not last and the fighting lasted another four years. The nearby village of Ploegsteert, once briefly home to Winston Churchill, is now a large and busy community on the border with France. The continuous ribbon of development along the road merges almost imperceptibly with the border and Armentieres.

The Memorial to the Missing at Ploegsteert was designed by H. Charlton Bradshaw with sculptures by Sir Gilbert Ledward and is typical of the style of some of the larger British memorials throughout the old Western Front. The panels within the memorial list the names of 11,447 men listed as missing in the battles to the south of this region: Armentieres; Aubers Ridge; Loos; Fromelles; Hazebrouck; Scherpenberg; Outtersteene Ridge. The monument was opened in 1931.

HOME