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British: Hill 60

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

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Hill 60 is now a quiet, pockmarked piece of land that is in as an unaltered state as is practicable. This is one of the most visited and famous sites of the First World War. Created from the spoil dug from the nearby railway cutting Hill 60 is hallowed ground which saw four VC’s won and countless other bravery awards during the four years of fighting in the Salient. The ground changed hands many times and many courageous deeds were done here on both sides.

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The ground is full of numerous craters and the remains of concrete shelters. The Germans built many concrete shelters and machine gun posts here. The Pioneers of the 204th and 116th Battalions were manly responsible for this work. On the 7 June 1917, the British blew nineteen mines along the Messines ridge, one of which was beneath Hill 60, this mine devastated the positions.

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The bunker, located beneath the observation post you can see today, was one of those destroyed and it made an excellent base and lower chamber for the new bunker above. The OP gave good views over the German positions and it was strengthened by the 2nd Australian Field Artillery Brigade who used it to watch over the German lines and direct fire onto the German lines between Zillebeke and Gheluvelt. The Op was in direct communication with the headquarters at Lock 7. The OP was also used by Australian machine gun companies, they also had other positions located on the Hill.

The OP also action in the Second World War, a German anti-tank round is wedged in the structure.

Authors image showing German anti-tank round

Remains of other German and other British and Commonwealth concrete shelters are visible on the Hill.

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