Visitng WW1 Battlefields, Ypres
Touring the historic Battlefields, Trenches and Cemeteries of WW1 - Hooge
WW1 Hooge Crater and Museum, Menin Road
A natural setting of Trenches and a fine WW1 Museum
The above photograph shows a beautiful lake in front of a fine building, but it hides a very different picture.
The Lake is in fact two enormous craters which are the result of Mines laid by the 175 Tunnelling Company during World War 1 in 1915 in their attempt to regain the position they had earlier lost. Nearly 100 years of natural evolution has changed what was a bare and muddy landscape into a haven for wildlife.
The building in the background is a Hotel which was constructed out of the Stables of the Chateau which once stood there.
But, turn the camera around and you see the view of the second photo down on the right. This was absolute front line trench warfare during WW1, not 100 years ago this was a scene of mayhem beyond belief.
Just to the north of the Site is a large flat earth area. This was where Hooge Chateau once stood, but never re-built after it was completely destroyed by shells. In fact. this area now marks the start of a huge FunFair and it's quite a mixture of thoughts when you see the trenches as they are to a background noise of Rollercoasters and kids screaming. But at least they are having a good time and this part of Hooge has been kept as a memorial to those who served there.
Hooge Village itself is just a few houses beside the Menin Road, about two miles east of Ypres. The WW1 Museum / Cafe is in an old converted Chapel and privately owned. Although it's a small museum, it's well worth the money to have a look round. WW1 memorabilia and artefacts still being found in the surrounding fields today and displayed here.
Immediately opposite the Museum is Hooge Cemetery and offers a good view of the land leading accross to Hill 62 and beyond.
Hooge was always centre of heavy fighting, being only a short distance from 'Hellfire Corner' (now the roundabout you take to get onto the Menin Road).
On your way to Hooge and travelling along the Menin Road, if you look left you will see a small memorial at the top of a Hill next to 'Railway Wood'.
Just next to the Memorial and on the edge of the wood is another stone memorial dedicated to those who fell there from the Liverpool Scottish Regiment
Most, if not all, Battlefield Tour Companies visit Hooge. It is well worth the visit - the food is good in the Restaurant. and the local ale is off the tap !
The Chateau and Divisional Headquarters at Hooge were the scene of terrible conflict throughout World War One. 31st. October 1914, the Chateau was heavily shelled and wiped out the 1st and 2nd Divisions; from 24th. May to 3rd. June 1915, heavy defensies from German attacks and in July 1915, the crater was made by a mine set off by the 3rd Division. On 30th. July, the Germans took it over and on the 9th. August, it was regained by the 6th Division. The Germans once again took over Hooge on 6 June 1916 and on 31 July 1917, the 8th Division advanced 2 miles beyond it. It was then lost again in April 1918, but regained by the 9th (Scottish) and 29th Divisions on 28 September. 'It was never silent