FLANDERS - Yser, Ypres, Messines and Ploegsteert
MESSINES RIDGE - 1917
The 7th June 1917 was the day "there gushed out and up enormous volumes of scarlet flames from the exploding mines". Over 600 tons of explosive was used in 19 mines whose craters today lie still amidst this quiet corner of Belgium.
Known to the British as "Plugstreet", it was notoriously boggy - "the trenches were absolute quagmires...knee-deep in slime and filth".
YPRES: 1914 - 1918
Just as Verdun became the epitome of the real horror of unremitting trench warfare for the French, so Ypres became a symbol of the horror of war for the British.
The prevent the German advance in 1914 the Belgians allowed the the sea to flood the low-lying plains of the Yser and then held the line for the next four years.