culvert.jpg (17265 bytes)

A GERMAN TRENCH RAID AT HOOGE (YPRES)

This is a present day photograph depicting the location of the "Trench Raid at Hooge" in which a German raiding party in January 1917 entered the British Forward Lines passing through a culvert under the Zonnebeke to Ypres railway line and destroyed a British bombing post near Gully Farm manned by the 11th Royal Sussex.

Towards the end of January 1917 the 11th Royal Sussex were holding the front line opposite Gully Farm beyond which was No Man's Land. Nearby was a British bombing post. By creeping along a ditch by the railway line leading from Zonnebeke to Ypres and then passing under the track embankment by means of a culvert, a German raiding party was able to attack the British outpost near Gully Farm. Royal Sussex casualties were three men missing, five dead and several others who suffered slight wounds.

As battalion Intelligence Officer Blunden went to investigate. He found the bombing post crushed and broken and one of the British dead holding a Lewis gun which he had been firing from the shoulder. A dead German officer was found to have 40 whistles in his pocket, presumably for communication purposes. GHQ required details of the type of underclothing worn by German soldiers in winter and some of the German dead were therefore taken to Potizje Chateau (the 11th Royal Sussex Battn.HQ) where their underclothing was hewn off the frozen bodies.

Later Blunden wrote a poem about his experiences called "Trench Raid at Hooge" a reproduction of the poem is now on the wall of the Museum at Hooge opposite the Hooge Crater cemetery.

Copyright www.1914-18.co.uk, 1999. All rights Reserved