A Tour of Boesinghe Part Eleven – Lizerne: The Cross of Reconciliation

Happy New Year folks.  Time to return to our tour of Boesinghe.  Fifty feet high and made of aluminium, the Cross of Reconciliation stands where once upon a time a French memorial remembered the first French victims of the German gas attacks.

The Cross was dedicated in 1961,…

…after the original memorial had been destroyed…

…by German troops some twenty years earlier.

Apparently the original inscription offended their sensibilities.

Today, the Cross remembers both French & Belgian casualties, and all is explained, in Flemish,…

…and French on the base at the front of the memorial, where it says: ‘Erected in 1929 on the initiative of 418e Régiment d’Infanterie the monument to the first victims of gas launched by the Germans on 22nd April 1915 was destroyed by them in 1942. Belgian and French veterans raised this cross in its place with the wish for peace and reconciliation in the world.’

The first memorial depicted three French soldiers, two already overcome by gas fumes, the third clutching at his throat, the inscription referring to the invading Germans as ‘barbarians’.

Further inscriptions surround the base of the memorial, French units who fought here on this side (above & below).

These pictures will, of course, all enlarge enough for the inscriptions to be read.

The reverse inscription appears to be all about the men who designed and built the new memorial (obviously very important gentlemen),…

…and then on this side, Belgian regiments and battalions involved in the 1915 fighting and, I believe, other regiments who fought in this area at other times (above & below).

Just opposite the Cross, guess what, its the Ieperlee again, for the final time this tour, now quite a bit wider, and therefore considerably more difficult for an infantryman to cross, than when we first encountered it flowing – well, trickling – along the boundary of Essex Farm Cemetery at the start of the tour – and now with an official sign to boot.

And so we head off north once more,…

…leaving the Cross behind.  Next stop, a much smaller roadside memorial just a couple of hundred yards away, and then a walk along the canal bank to visit one of the more unusual memorials we shall encounter on this, or frankly any, tour.  Click here for Part Twelve.

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