Belgium 1917

‘Squadrons of shells howl overhead exploding with blinding fury on Broodseinde Ridge, just forward.’ * ‘General Gough’s offensive up on Gheluvelt Plateau, supposed to be over in seventy-two hours is bogged down, a frightful mess – tens of thousands of casualties!’ * ‘At roll call we grapple with the fiasco that has been Menin Road.’   * ‘All clear in our section, we’re told to surrender felt hats and collect helmets, a return to the front is imminent, the betting, that muddy hell: Passchendaele.’ * “At light you’ll see Zonnebeke on your left and what’s left of Polygon Wood to the rear and right. There’s a dirty big mound up there they call “The Butte”. It’s a hot spot, alright.” * ‘I look across the slag-heap of death and destruction we crossed in the dead of night to reach camp here at Westhoek Ridge and feel a shiver run down my spine.’   * ‘Boarding a column of buses we join an endless parade of overloaded French limbers, troops and artillery convoys jostling through dismal towns back to that city of fear, where you never know what’s going to happen to you or from what direction: Ypres.’ * ‘Filing by sullen Zillebekebund and still miles from the front, the sickly-sour stench of decomposing bodies assails our nostrils.’        * ‘In this grotesque fairyland the ghost town of Zonnebeke hovers like a mirage on silver sheets of water polka-dotted with bodies and I see my comrades heaving forward like yoked beasts of the field, aching for life, fighting back tears or wild with rage.’

‘Squadrons of shells howl overhead exploding with blinding fury on Broodseinde Ridge, just forward.’
*
‘General Gough’s offensive up on Gheluvelt Plateau, supposed to be over in seventy-two hours is bogged down, a frightful mess – tens of thousands of casualties!’
*
‘At roll call we grapple with the fiasco that has been Menin Road.’
*
‘All clear in our section, we’re told to surrender felt hats and collect helmets, a return to the front is imminent, the betting, that muddy hell: Passchendaele.’
*
“At light you’ll see Zonnebeke on your left and what’s left of Polygon Wood to the rear and right. There’s a dirty big mound up there they call “The Butte”. It’s a hot spot, alright.”
*
‘I look across the slag-heap of death and destruction we crossed in the dead of night to reach camp here at Westhoek Ridge and feel a shiver run down my spine.’
*
‘Boarding a column of buses we join an endless parade of overloaded French limbers, troops and artillery convoys jostling through dismal towns back to that city of fear, where you never know what’s going to happen to you or from what direction: Ypres.’
*
‘Filing by sullen Zillebekebund and still miles from the front, the sickly-sour stench of decomposing bodies assails our nostrils.’
*
‘In this grotesque fairyland the ghost town of Zonnebeke hovers like a mirage on silver sheets of water polka-dotted with bodies and I see my comrades heaving forward like yoked beasts of the field, aching for life, fighting back tears or wild with rage.’

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