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British: St Eloi

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

This is a fine example of a British observation bunker. The embrasure is at the wrong height for it to have been used for anything else. Possibly built by Australian engineers in the winter of 1917/18. It would have had good views towards the German lines at Warneton and towards the Ypres-Comines railway line near Hollebeke. Today, the views are obscured by housing and trees.

Authors image

It is sited in the grounds of a private house next to the largest crater blown by the British on 7 June 1917, there were nineteen blown at 3.10am that morning. Both the crater and the bunker are open to the public in the summer months with the gate code obtainable from the Tourist office in Ieper.

Mine crater blown on 7 June 1917. Authors image

The village of St Eloi was fought over throughout the four years of the fighting in the Salient and the trenches ran through the houses and streets of the village.

IWM Q 52004 A British trench in the ruins of St. Eloi, May 1915.

In April 1918, the village was held by the 9th (Scottish) Division when it was taken by the German Fourth Army in their spring offensive. The 5th Battalion Cameron Highlanders held the village until they were forced to retire.

The bunker does not show any visible signs of damage and the iron framework lining on the inside is intact with the imprint of the corrugated iron sheeting clearly visible on the exterior.

Authors image

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