This photograph was taken from the edge of Sanctuary Wood and depicts the extensive British cemetery -Hooge Crater-on the Menin Road.
The British Army suffered an alarming loss when Headquarter Staffs of both the 1st and 2nd Divisions were practically wiped out by a German shell landing on the Hooge Chateau and the adjacent annexe on 31st October 1914.
The Hooge Chateau lay behind the trees in the centre of the picture. Shortly after an enemy aeroplane had flown over the Chateau it came under heavy German artillery fire. Within a few minutes a shell had fallen in the annexe killing six staff officers immediately, wounding four others including Major-General Lomax. General Monro who had been standing in a doorway was badly shaken but continued to direct operations. By now the Menin Road was full of retreating troops, steadily falling back from Gheluvelt against overwhelming odds. Sir Douglas Haig went forward along the Menin Road to Hooge accompanied by some of his staff to assess the position. By 3 p.m. the 1st Division had rallied and re-taken Gheluvelt. (So often we read that Haig was "miles behind the lines", but here we have an example of his personal bravery which is not always recognised by the media as it should be.)
Copyright © www.1914-18.co.uk, 2002. All Rights Reserved