Behind German first lines

Behind German first lines

German Military Cemetery, Beaucamps-Ligny

The importance of this cemetery is explained by the presence of boarding school Ste Marie that was transformed into German hospital during the war. Created in May 1915, the German Military Cemetery contains 2628 bodies of German soldiers: 2,070 in individual tombs and 558 in 12 common graves, in particular those of the Battle of Fromelles on 19–20 July 1916

German Military Cemetery, Fournes-en-Weppes

The cemetery contains 1,916 bodies of German soldiers and five bodies of French soldiers of the First World War. 1,739 Germans and 190 lie in unknown special graves. The other 177 who are all unknown, are buried in 3 mass graves. 6 soldiers’ graves of the Jewish faith have a natural stone stele with inscriptions in Hebrew. The cemetery was created by German troops in October 1914.

German Military Cemetery, Haubourdin

More than 1,000 german soldiers are buried here.

It testifies the will of the German and the French military authorities to join the victims together in the same place, by gathering the bodies of other cemeteries.

We invite you to find it out....

German Military Cemetery, Illies

This German cemetery was created by German troops at the real beginning of First World War, in 1914.The cemetery contains 2,886 bodies of German soldiers and 4 bodies of Austro-Hungarian soldiers dead during the First World War.
2,075 bodies have been buried in five mass graves that are limited with carved stones. Among these, only 56 have been identified.

In the grave 2/78, a father and his son are buried near one another : Captain Augustus Balthasar who died on 25 October 1914 and his son William who died during Second World War, on 3rd July 1941 near Aire-sur-la-Lys.
It was enlarged after the war when the French military authorities transferred the bodies from 17 other burial sites.
In 1930, plane trees and shrubs have been planted and an entry has been built with pillars and a wrought iron gate
In July 1966, the Deutsche Volksbund Kriegsgräberfürsorge finally got the management of cemeteries and German government’s funding.
Landscaping was then improved with the planting of shrubs; temporary wooden crosses were replaced by metal or stoneware crosses with the names and dates of the victims ; a large steel cross was erected in the centre of the cemetery. This new space planning was achieved in 1980 in this cemetery.

German Military Cemetery, Salomé

The German cemetery of Salomé created in January 1916 contains 3,548 bodies of German soldiers, 2 bodies of Austro-Hungarian soldiers and 2 bodies of Portuguese soldiers placed in its center.

German Military Cemetery, Wicres RN

This cemetery contains 584 bodies of German soldiers of the First World War buried in individual graves. 30 of them are unknown. The grave of a Jewish soldier carries a different stone stele with inscriptions in Hebrew. This cemetery was established in March 1916, most of the soldiers buried (about 470) were killed in the battle that began and ended in 1915 during the Allied offensive, but also during the war of positions until early 1916.

German Military Cemetery, Wicres village

The German military cemetery of Wicres-Village was established in September 1915 by the Prussian Infanterie Regiment Nr.13 (1.Westfälisches) from Münster for those fallen in battle in the area between La Bassée and Neuve Chapelle. After the departure of I.R. 13 to other front sectors, successive German troops also buried their dead here. More than 900 soldiers were buried here during the second half of 1915, and nearly 1,000 burials in 1918 during the major German offensive in May and the Allied counter-offensive of September / October 1918. After the war the French military authorities extended the cemetery, burying here the remains of German soldiers from the fields of 12 surrounding communities. The soldiers buried here, were members of military units from their home garrisons in Westphalia, West Prussia, Posen, Silesia, Thuringia, Hesse, Saxony, Brandenburg, Baden, Bavaria, Lorraine and the Rhineland. - Source: Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge 

German bunkers

An impregnable fortress

In order to strengthen and stabilize its defense line, the German army put up an offensive and defensive system making the Hindenburg Line an impregnable fortress.

The "observatoire", Illies

The largest bunker used to be an observation post because of its unusual height. It was built on the foundation of an ancient house; red bricks are still visible in the concrete mass.

Next to it lie several smaller bunkers that were probably used as shelter bunkers and ammunition depot bunkers.

Vestiges of an observation tower, Aubers

The engineers of the Bavarian 7th Pioniere Kompanie constructed this concrete observation tower in 1916. The inhabitants of Aubers nicknamed this bunker “Le Kaiser”. Legend has it that the Kaiser himself or Kronprinz Wilhelm (“Little Willie”) visited this bunker. Hence this nickname, “Le Kaiser”.

A command bunker, Fromelles

In Pays de Weppes, we also have a Command bunker in Fromelles near a position named Teufel Graben, which literally means the Devil Trenches. It is semi buried and blind on the Front line side. It has been built by the Bavarian 13th pioneer company which was attached to the division posted here.

Its French name is Abbiette bunker or Hitler bunker.  At that time, Adolf Hitler was a Caporal and he used to come daily there, from March 1915 to September 1616. He was a messenger and was responsible for delivering the Command Post orders.