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3rd batch photos added: Ieperboog - Ypres Salient

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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: 3rd batch photos added: Ieperboog - Ypres Salient
    Posted: 09 June 2021 at 16:13
Last week friday and saturday I visited Ieper (Ypres)

Saturday one of our local photography friends put together a tour of less known WW1 landmarks. The iconic sites like the Menin gate, Tyne Cot Cemetery and the German Studentenfriedhof were not on the program. But the other 10 sites he showed us all came with interesting stories and I'll take you along this day trip in this thread over the next couple of days.

The whole area in West Flanders was totally destroyed by a three year trench war between the German and Allied armies while the actual front line moved very little. Today, more than 100 years later, still remains of the war are found in the fields. Not only bullets and grenades but also other materials used by the soldiers. Most people just keep a stock next to their home or combine them into "works of art".

The first site we visited was "Frontline d'Hooge" consisting of a giant crater caused by the British blowing up a part of a German trench/bunker system by digging a tunnel underneath and exploding the whole structure. However two bunkers remained and the owner of the area later "reconstructed" some of the trenches just outside the crater (which is now a pond)

1: Bunker at the side of the crater/pond



2: "Reconstructed" trenches


Btw, there were very few actual trenches with corrugated steel plates like here, mostly the Allied troups used sandbags while the Germans used sheets of woven willow branches to reinforce the trench walls.


3: The current inhabitants of the trench area looking at the early morning intruders (i.e. me and the other photographers)



4: Assembly of "found" war items


On both sides of the front the armies had built a primitive rail system to transport supplies and ammunition to the front and carry wounded people back to the hospital tents further away from the front.


5: German bunker


The bunkers at the front line were actually constructed from pre-fab concrete blocks where after stacking them (with mortar inbetween) steel rods were stuck through holes in the blocks such that a very strong construction was achieved. Only the bunkers further behind the front were poored concrete "in one piece".


6: A look inside the bunker


Also in wartime these bunkers were cold and damp inside with only 1,2 meter standing room. The idea behind this was that it was only to be a shelter during heavy artillary fire and that the soldiers sheltering inside wouldn't be too comfortable and come out to shoot at the enemy as soon as possible after the artillery fire became less intense

7: A light in the bunker (Don't think it's original but I liked the rusty patina and shadow on the wall)



8: A fieldgun also found back in the mud many years after the war ended



9: A look from behind the field gun. There's a little shield protecting the men operating the gun, but not too much


6&7: A7Rii + E10-18/4 (APS-C crop), others A7ii + Tamron 28-200 Di III RXD

Comments and questions welcome and more to come (from the other 9 places we visited)
You can see the April Foolishness 2021 exhibition here Another great show of the talent we have on Dyxum
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 June 2021 at 22:31
A fascinating location, Pieter - thank you for the images and the story.

The rather serene scene of #1 gets a completely different meaning after reading your description. I found #1, #4 and #6 most impressive - and #3, giving the set a nice twist (would have also worked as a coda).

Looking forward to see more!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 4paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 June 2021 at 13:41
Thanks for the descriptions! Good idea carrying the ultrawide, I guess since the ceiling is so low you really needed it! Good eye for the rusty light and shadow
There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks. - Schrödinger
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 June 2021 at 21:07
Good series and the stories really add to it.
Also good to hear that photo excurions like this are possible agian
TFS Pieter.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dopol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 06:37
A very nice set Pieter. And a good read as well.
I’ve been there several times, but missed most of these sites.
The crater-pond is a great shot, but all the ‘finds’ in the area make for great shots as well.
TFS
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aavo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 07:18
Great series!
a6500 & some nice e-mount af lenses 20/24/56/17-70/18-135 mm
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 14:53
Thanks for the comments gentlemen, it indeed feels peaceful and quiet there but when you start imagining what caused the crater and what life in these trenches and bunkers was like you get a totally different picture.


Next stop was near Railway Wood in Zillebeke, just north of Frontline d'Hooge. It holds two memorials very close together.

10: Royal Engineers Grave Memorial



11: The inscription


It's a memorial for 12 men that were buried in the tunnel they were digging towards the German trenches around this place when it collapsed due to an explosion caused by the German army, who found out they were digging there. Their bodies were never recovered, their names are engraved on the back of the monument and the 12 white pillars around the memorial are a reference to the number of people killed in this event.

12: The seals of the companies they belonged to



Very close to the above monument there's a memorial for the Liverpool Scottish regiment that lost 13 of 23 officers and 341 of 519 men in the battle of Bellewaarde on June 16th 1915. Of the people that survived 11 more officers and 201 men were wounded.

13:


The memorial stone behind the plaque is the original closing stone from above the entry gate of their Liverpool barracks.


Every British soldier got among their rations a ceramic bottle containing about a pint of rum, probably "to keep their spirits up". Lots of these bottles (broken and intact) are still found in the fields today and the openings are still used as insulators in the electric wire fencing around the fields. That's the advantage of a local guide as he can point out these very small but interesting details.

14: Bottle opening/Insulator 1



15: Bottle opening/Insulator 2


All A7ii + Tamron 28-200Di III RXD

TFL and 8 more locations to follow
You can see the April Foolishness 2021 exhibition here Another great show of the talent we have on Dyxum
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MichelvA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 17:32
Originally posted by pegelli pegelli wrote:

TFL and 8 more locations to follow


Keep the great work coming Pieter.
Respect. Observe. Capture. Enjoy.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 16:10
Our third stop was the French WW1 cemetery Saint-Charles de Potyse.

A very different atmosphere vs the Commonwealth cemeteries, but still a sobering place with ~5000 French casualties.


16: Statue overlooking the site



17: Mort pour la France, he didn't even make it through the first year



18: Crosses for the Christians and a different headstone for Muslim casualties



19: And the Jewish also got a different headstone



20: Fallen cross



21: Behind the cemetery an old farmhouse, probably built ~100 years ago after the hostilities ended and it seems the time stood still there


All A7ii + Tamron 28-200 Di III RXD
You can see the April Foolishness 2021 exhibition here Another great show of the talent we have on Dyxum
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Roger Rex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 16:20
Originally posted by pegelli pegelli wrote:

peaceful and quiet there but when you start imagining what caused the crater and what life in these trenches and bunkers was like you get a totally different picture.


     Suicide in the Trenches

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumbs and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

      Siegfried Sassoon
Hatred corrodes the container it is carried in. http://rogerrex.zenfolio.com/
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dopol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 hours 41 minutes ago at 19:35
And another great set Pieter.
Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 hours 44 minutes ago at 20:32
Originally posted by Dopol Dopol wrote:

And another great set Pieter.
Thanks

+1. Respectfully captured.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 6 hours 46 minutes ago at 10:30
Hi Pieter,

Thanks for taking the time to share such a moving and emotive set of images from around this (in)famous location.

You have shown attention to detail throughout and, especially, a care in displaying the more sensitive locations and scenes across these three sections.

It seems that in the UK, the 'Great War' (if there was ever such a misnomer, that has to be one) was long pushed back into the darker parts of people's memories; it was never the topic of documentaries, films, articles etc. for so long - long enough, perhaps, that all those touched by it were no more, and by then it was possibly too late for the most recent generations to understand why it was seemingly ignored in the wider public arena. Images and historical sites such as these are, therefore, so important for the modern generation - to understand the true horrors of life through that period and to put into stark context the life that was reflected in lines such as those shared so well by Roger above; clearly, a reflection of the realities of trench life.

You have managed to create images that capture much of the starkness, even now, of the area, but also some of the strange beauty that this has produced after many years of nature taking control and mellowing the environment - which is why, for me, the combination of the story and the resulting effect of 100 years being left to gently grow old means that your very first image combines the story and the final outcome so perfectly.

Thanks for sharing these and for taking us on such a carefully crafted tour round the area.

Take care and best regards, Neil.
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