A Tour of Boesinghe Addendum – Goumier Farm Bunker & 38th (Welch) Division Plaque

Goumier Farm Bunker is two thirds of a mile across the fields north east of No Man’s Cot Cemetery, a mile and a half east of the Yser Canal and, technically, still in the commune of Boesinghe, hence its appearance as an addendum to that tour.

We are still on the Pilckem Ridge,…

…although some two miles south east of the previous German bunker, the Ziegler Bunker, that we visited during the tour,…

…and as we cross the field to the bunker you will notice a plaque affixed to the southern side,…

…remembering the men of the 38th (Welch) Division who died during the Great War.

The division’s baptism of fire had occurred during the action at Mametz Wood on the Somme in July 1916, where they succeeded in capturing the wood despite losing almost 4000 men.  For reasons that do not concern us here, however, the division’s reputation suffered in the aftermath, and it was their successful assault on the Pilckem Ridge in the first days of Third Ypres, during which time they captured this bunker, that redeemed them in the eyes of Haig and his senior officers.

The eastern side of the bunker features two later British additions to strengthen what had been the reverse side under German occupation,…

…by the looks of it using prefabricated blocks several feet thick that would, I imagine, have been transported here by way of a hastily constructed light railway.

View looking north west along the Pilckem Ridge.

One of the original German bunker entrances, blocked up by the British.

The best views of the bunker today are from the north,…

…where its full size becomes evident.  To construct it the Germans simply enclosed the brick walls of the original farmhouse in thick concrete,…

…the roof covered with earth to prevent observation from the air.

The Germans would recapture the bunker in the spring of 1918 and hold it for several months…

…until it changed hands for the last time as the men of the Black Watch captured it during the final Advance to Armistice*.

*commonly known as the Advance to Victory.  I consider my terminology more accurate.

Incidentally, Les Goumier Marocains were Moroccan soldiers who served with the French Army of Africa – whether this is of any relevance to anything at all, who knows.

The garish red sign tells us that this is part of the Hedd Wyn Walk – and regular readers might like to know that I am still working feverishly on the whole Hedd Wyn story that I unveiled a short time ago.

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2 Responses to A Tour of Boesinghe Addendum – Goumier Farm Bunker & 38th (Welch) Division Plaque

  1. Rick Law says:

    I just wanted to make you aware of a book that I am about to publish. This is a sort of “Centenary Of the Armistice” project for me. The book will called “Flowers of the Forest”. It is a historical/fiction novel about my great uncle, Farquhar McLennan, CEF, who was killed in action at the Battle of Sanctuary Wood, June 13, 1916. I have created a Website; http://www.flowersoftheforest.ca to tell the story behind the story. Please give my site a visit and feel free to comment and share.

    Cheers,
    Rick Law

  2. Magicfingers says:

    Thanks Rick – and named after one of my favourite folk tunes too, written to commemorate the Scottish dead at Flodden in 1513 (http://thebignote.com/2014/04/26/branxton-st-pauls-church/). Will check it all out in due course, trust me.

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