Mont Kemmel – An Introduction

Autumn leaves litter a Flanders cemetery.  It’s been a while coming, I admit, but it’s time to set off on another tour.  This time we shall be visiting the Great War cemeteries and memorials to be found in the area between Vierstraat and Kemmel, followed by Loker, and then Dranouter.

And we shall finally visit Mont Kemmel, or the Kemmelberg, if you prefer, in the background of this shot of Locre Hospice Cemetery, and reveal its bloody history.

The area we shall be exploring is shaded on this map, and to get your bearings, the Poperinge – Ypres road crosses the top of the map; note the proximity of the German lines (in red), as they were for much of the war, on the far right.

And here’s the larger Lys battlefield, with the same area highlighted.

Although the Kemmel area saw action in the early months of the war, in the days before the static front line of the next four years had formed,…

…it was the fighting here from late April through the summer of 1918 that would leave the landscape devastated,…

…and today, the numerous cemeteries and memorials scattered across the countryside still tell their sad tale.  You up for this one?

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11 Responses to Mont Kemmel – An Introduction

  1. Steve Monk says:

    Oh Yes! I’m up for it.

  2. sendergreen says:

    I’m in !

  3. Daisy in Indonesia says:

    Hey Magicfingers,
    My great-uncle was gassed at La Clytte in 1918 when a HE shell landed in the middle of 250 blokes from the 14th Battalion, ‘Jacka’s Mob’, while they were resting behind the lines. Over 100 were hospitalized including my uncle. He died from lung disease in 1961 with the doctor telling him ‘the mustard gas is finally killing you’…
    La Clytte Cemetery is really interesting and I look forward to your visit.
    Daisy.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Oh dear………….I hate to disappoint, especially before I even get started, but, er, how shall I put this, well, er, you mention La Clytte, and I am, er, told it’s ever such a nice place and I really should visit blah blah blah.
      Long story short. Daylight ran out before we got there.

  4. Chris Wouters says:

    HI,
    I haven’t been commenting for a long time, but did read all your posts!
    Some trivia about the Kemmelberg; during the Cold War, a bunker was constructed (in secret, workers were regularly replaced others to keep them in the dark of what they were building) by deep down under the surface. That bunker was supposed to house the General Command of the Belgian Army in case of a “hot”, nuclear war. It was permanently occupied by shifts of about 200 persons. Only those in the military who worked there or had the need to know, knew about it. It was last used in 1996 and is now open to the general public (I believe on appointment). Here’s a site with some info in English:
    https://top.vlaanderen/en/bezoekers/10k-bezoekers/commandobunker-kemmel-belgie/

    Cheers,

    Chris

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Chris. Funnily enough I was checking a conversation we had a couple of years back the other week – don’t ask what, memory like a sieve. Thanks for the link, glad you are still checking in regularly!

  5. Margaret Draycott says:

    Ready and waiting M.
    Fascinating link Chris, we don’t know what’s beneath our feet. There are a number of Cold War underground bunkers like that in Britain visited one once, entry through an inconspicuous house in some woodland. Absolutely fascinating.

  6. Nick Kilner says:

    Excellent, my bags are packed and ready. Drive on, drive on hehehe

  7. Joseph Orgar says:

    Let’s go.

    Joe

  8. Jon T says:

    Ready and waiting ! Am certain that this will be another set of posts that will fill in some large gaps in my knowledge and inspire me to learn more about the area and events subsequently. (No pressure MF !)

  9. Magicfingers says:

    Excellent. Buckle up then. We shall be off in the morning……

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