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Hellfire Corner, Menin Road, Ypres

Just down the Menin Road from Birr Cross Roads Cemetery lies what was once the most dangerous place on Earth. The Great War’s Hellfire Corner is now the site of a roundabout on the outskirsts of Ypres.

Hellfire Corner, Ypres, From East

Hellfire Corner From North

Hellfire Corner From South

Hellfire Corner From West

Like most of the countryside around Ypres it’s relatively peaceful now (apart from traffic) but during the Great War the corner was a cross-roads over which troops going up to the front line of the Menin Road had to pass, running the gauntlet of German artillery zeroed-in on the site.

I found these videos online showing the canvas screens erected to obscure the view of the German observers as well as how the corner looks today:-

The voice-over artist on this one pronounces Hooge (Hooghe) as “Hooj”. I’m sure it’s really “Hoo-gih”:-

Away Days

My most recent posts have been rather focused on photographs. This is because I’ve been away. Myself and the good lady have been in The Netherlands again and this time also in Belgium.

We drove down through England (and back up again) to and from the ferry and through the Netherlands and Belgium top to bottom and back. I’m a bit knackered.

But…… I have seen Ypres (nowadays spelled Ieper) and the Menin Gate where we witnessed the nightly Last Post. We walked along the Menin Road, a place I had only ever read about or seen in photographs in a shell shattered state, passing Hellfire Corner on the way.

The hotel we stayed in was right beside the Hooghe Crater and across the Menin Road from the Hooge Crater Commonwealth War Cemetery (note the British spelling.) Right by the hotel there was an open air Great War Museum which encompassed the crater and some trench remnants. The Front Line straddled that part of the Menin Road from 1915-1917. Hooghe was where the first use of flame throwers in a concerted action took place when the Germans made an attack on July 30th 1915. The trenches were apparently only 4.5 metres (4.9 yards) apart there. The flamethrower’s maximum range was 18 metres (20 yards.)

Strange to think I slept only a few more metres away from the spot. It’s all so peaceful there now but reminders of that war are everywhere as the area is covered in War Cemeteries and Memorial sites – too many for us to visit them all.

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