WWI: Plugstreet Wood and Messines

Updated July 22 2007, March 28 2011, December 19 2016.
©2008 T. Cools

Plugstreed Wood was a relative quite place around 1914.  It was captured by the British  1st Cavalry Division.
Later on the Germans took part of it again and during April 10-11 1918 it was totaly recaptured by the Germans.
Only during september 1918 during their advance it was in British hands again.

Ploegsteert Wood is a very interesing place and walking through the wood you can see various cemetaries but also remains of bunkers, trenches and craters although most
are difficult to find.  This is the place were Antony Eden, Winston Churchill and A. Hitler served part of there military career together !  Not by coïncidence they will meet again some years later.  A.Hitler got his Iron Cross nearby...  Plugstreed Wood got his name as a 'save heaven' during WWI.
Walking though the woods and cemetaries, I've got a slightly different idea of it.

Messines is well known for its battle on june 7 1917 and nearby mining operations.  19 of the 21 exploded with one somewhat late on 17 June 1955 at a result of lightning.
There are several monuments at Messines and two are described with pictures here.

Google Earth image of the location; click on it and you can manipulate it with Google Earth.

Ploegsteert Wood February 16 1998


British bunkers near Hyde Park Corner(001)

The road leading to regent street next to The Strand Cemetery.  It is not exactly a ancient trench or road.


Front and backside of one a  British (Vickers)machine gun bunker at Gloster House(002).
(This is not a German bunker as I wrote earlier - thanks to the correspondent for telling me this.
However according to the exellent book 'Before Endeavours Fade by Rose E.B. Cooms p 55, these are German machine
gun posts - untill now I do not have any convincing confirmation).


View inside the bunker, the wooden shutterings are still there and dry !

Painting of soldiers walking in 'Regent Street'.
(originaly from http://www.firstworldwar.com/photos/sketches2.htm)

Mud Corner Cemetery(004)

Toronto Avenue Cemetery(006).

All victims are Australian, most of them fell on the first day of the Mine Battle of Mesen on June 17 1917


Between Toronto Avenue and Plugstreet Wood there are the remains of a British bunker(008)

Rifle House Cemetary(011)


Machine gun bunker(013) at the crosspoint between Hunter Avenue and The Strand.  It got no specific name.  It is not far away from Rigle House Cemetery.


Inside it is nicely preserved but full of mosquitoes which can really harm you !

Destroyed bunker(015) not far from Somerset House.


Well preserved crew bunker near Somerset House(018)


Mud Lane from Mud Corner Cemetary to Browse Point Cemetery.


Bomb crater near Mud Lane.  This is what I believe is the same location of the crater.  It still exists today.  The picture left was taken from Mud Corner Cemetery. Ideal was to take a picture with wide angle closer to the pool.  This should have shown the more steeper hill as shown in the WWI picture.


Left: Roof of a small shelter at Browse Point Cemetery.
Right: Grave of Private H.Wilkinson which was buried here in October 2001 after beeing found on January 3 2000.  He was killed on November 10 1914.

A bunker and (fake) trenches have been placed her.  The bunker comes from another place
(I don't know its previous location) and has been cut in half and joined together again.

Explanation plague of the cemetary.

Ploegsteert Memorial at Hyde Park Corner.(024)



Memorial plaque of Winston Churchill at the Town Hall of Ploegsteert.


Tower of the  Island of Ireland Peace Park, Mesen

Nearby bunker in Flanders Fields.

Beautifull landscape at The New Zealand Memorial.
Two WWI bunkers are flanking this picture.


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