This was inspired by a recent visit to the Hooge Crater, scene of terrific fighting during the First World War, in Belgium, about four kilometres from the town of Ypres. Originally the grounds were part of a chateau at Hooge which was used by the Allies a a divisional headquarters. Several senior British officers were killed when it was shelled and destroyed. The land was mined and blown up several times, resulting in a deep crater. This changed hands several times, as it was won and then lost, resulting in great loss of life. There was intense and sustained fighting in this area during three years and as well as the chateau being destroyed, the village was also wiped out. Today, in the Hooge Crater, there are reminders of the fighting, such as trenches and shells, but today, it is a tranquil place.
A century ago, mines exploded in the Belgian countryside, leaving a deep crater. Men died here in their thousands as it repeatedly changed hands.
The price of ownership paid in men’s lives.
Today, Nature is reclaiming the crater, painting it her signature colours of green and brown. The harsh lines of the concrete bunkers are softened with moss and a pond lies at the base of the crater. Nearby, discarded shells lie rusting and blue tits live in the barrel of a field gun.
Eventually, Nature will erase all traces of devastation.
LET US NOT FORGET.