Tuesday, May 20, 2008
World War I bunkers reopened
In the northwest of Belgium, in the 'Westhoek', restored World War I bunkers, machine-gun nests and hideouts were ceremoniously opened on Sunday. The Great War remnantss are located along the old Nieuwpoort-Diksmuide rail line.
The bank along the rail line is known as the 'Frontzate'. This is line where the German advance through Belgium was halted in October 1914.
For strategic reasons the sluices were opened and the whole area was flooded to the banks of the Ijzer River.
For most of the war the area between the railway bedding and the Ijzer River was 'no man's land' forming a front between the Germans on the one hand and the Belgian troops on the other.
From 1914 to 1918 the 'Westhoek', the western part the Province of West-Flanders (the area of Nieuwpoort, Diksmuide, Ypres, and Poperinge) was the scene of the Great War. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers of more than 20 nationalities fell in this conflict. The area is full of cemeteries and other remnants of World War.