Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"There were shells dropping in Poperinghe"

(two postcards of Poperinghe from the war)

"The Huns were shelling Poperinghe! A senseless cruelty...There were two girls who kept a tea shop in Poperinghe...The shells had killed them both...the senseless cruelty of the Hun! - to shell Poperinghe. An innocent town with a tea-shop five miles behind Ypres" (531).

- Poperinghe is a Belgian town situated south of West Flanders, about 10km west of Ypres. The population is estimated to be around 20000 people when the war began, although there were approximately 250000 British soldiers in 1916-17

- The town suffered from frequent air raids and fell into the German hands briefly during August to October 1914 and came close to falling once more during the Spring of 1918.
"the Germans had heard that we were massing men in Poperinghe. It was erasonable to shell a town where men were being assembled...So they shelled Poperinghe in the silent grey day..." (532).

- Poperinghe was the primary military centre for British forces located in Flanders and it had many camps, hospitals, supply depots around town.

- The town established itself as a favoured recreational area for resting soldiers. One of the famous rest place of soldier's is the Talbot House (which still operates today as a museum), populary known as "Toc H" and ran by Tubby Clayton.

- Currently, there is a small military cemetery, Poperinghe New Military Cemetery that contains the burials of many soldiers, and 17 allied soldiers who were executed for military offenses.

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