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British: Onraet Farm

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

This shelter was built into the farmhouse that originally stood on this spot, the farm was rebuilt one hundred meters to the south, evidence of the original farmhouse is still visible, and was originally a German command post.

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This had been fortified by the Germans to make it shell proof. The shelter was constructed as a Brigade headquarters by 153rd Company Royal Engineers, 37th Division, in August 1917 and they reinforced the German shelter with reinforced concrete and the opening was changed to face away from the German lines.

The hearth and chimney of the farmhouse were incorporated into the shelter and brick work from the farmhouse can still be seen. Further inside the shelter evidence of a tar lining can be seen this was applied to make it waterproof and was probably applied by the 14th Australian Field Company who refurbished the shelter in January 1918. The 56th Battalion AIF had their headquarters here in March 1918 and record issuing 400 pairs of clean socks.

Linesman map showing the location of the shelter

On the edge of the wood can be seen the remains of the German headquarters shelter that was used by the British for a while. Further shelters and bunkers are located within the wood however, this is private land.

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