Nineteen of these Demarcation Stones still exist across Belgium, originally erected in the 1920s to either mark the extent of the last German offensive that finally petered out in July 1918, or the point of departure from which the Allies launched their final, successful, onslaught against the Germans in August, depending on which point of view you prefer to take. Perhaps the most famous is this one at the roundabout that was once the crossroads known as Hellfire Corner. Note the sign to the right of the road showing that we are just leaving the outskirts of Ieper.
The stone stands beside the Menin Road just west of the roundabout. Not quite in its original position, due to road widening, but near enough,
Each stone is one metre high, topped with a laurel wreath and a British, as in this case, French, or Belgian helmet, depending on which troops were holding the line at the point where each stone was later erected.
A British gas mask case adorns one of the sides (above), with a water bottle on the opposite side (below).
All the stones have four exploding grenades carved at each corner, and all have the name of the town or city being defended/attacked inscribed on the laurel wreath. The six stones, including this one, that still exist between Boezinge, to the north of Ieper, and Voormezele, to the south, are all inscribed ‘Ypres’.
Originally three sides of the stones bore the same inscription in French, Flemish and English respectively; “Ici fut repoussé l’envahisseur” or “Ici fut arrete l’envahisseur”, “Hier werd de overweldiger tot staangebracht”, and “Here the invader was brought to a standstill”, but in later years many, although by no means all, of these inscriptions have been removed.
Not far from the demarcation stone,…
…there’s a British bunker by the side of the road,…
…but it’s not an easy place to stop, so these shots were taken from the car as we flashed past.