The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size Photo © John East

War memorials

Belgium: Mont Kemmel

Owners: Le Ministère des Pensions
Location: Kemmelberg, Flanders

Mont Kemmel [Kemmelberg] along with the Mont des Cats to the south-west of Ypres forms the “Flemish Switzerland”, the only really high ground in Flanders. It was therefore of immense strategic importance. In April 1918, in the second wave of Ludendorff’s offensive, it was taken by the Germans but they failed to get further and therefore did not necessitate the withdrawal of the British from Ypres, which had been a possibility. On the top of the hill is the French Memorial to the French troops who died in Belgium, unveiled in 1932 by Marshal Pétain. Originally, there was a poilu’s helmet on the top. Not far away, on the western slope, is an Ossuaire containing the bones of 5,294 unknown French soldiers who died in the German assault in 1918.

Gavin Stamp

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