Flanders Mud

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
 
       

This morning we woke to a beautiful red sky and birds singing in Plugstreet wood, with the temperature a few degrees higher than it has been since we arrived. The site was still very wet, giving us an authentic experience of Flanders mud, which clings to everything, weighing down every step.

Site of the Interpretive Centre

Despite the difficulties of moving about on site and having to bail out the trenches before work could begin, by mid morning we were looking at some distinct features and work was progressing well.

Trench 6

The onset of steady rain forced a retreat to L’Auberge for an early lunch, which turned into an extended lunch as the rain became heavier. When it eventually stopped, we struggled back into our soggy waterproofs and headed back onto site. As expected the trenches were once again flooded and so reluctantly we had to declare that rain had stopped play.

Flanders Mud

Lets hope the weather forecast is correct and tomorrow will be a drier day.

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Plugstreet 14-18 Interpretation Centre

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
 
       

This week we have a small team in Flanders, undertaking an evaluation of the site for the new interpretation centre prior to building works beginning.

Starting the evaluation trenches

Starting the evaluation trenches



We will be looking at the area of the main building and the car park.

More photos are available at:
www.ploegsteert.info

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Plugstreet on the Wireless

Monday, January 16th, 2012
 
       

Tonight Martin will be talking to Win Scutt about our work on Vic Morgan’s Late Show ,on BBC radio at 22.30. Those of you in Devon, Cornwall and the Channel Islands will be able to receive the wireless broadcast via your local BBC radio station on 103.4FM and 95.7FM, if you live elsewhere, you can tune in via DAB or listen on-line at http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/devon
The broadcast will be available via the iPlayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001d7fn until next Monday and a selection of Win’s archaeology podcasts are available at www.archaeology.ws

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The Last Post Ceremony in Ploegsteert, 11 November 2011

Friday, November 11th, 2011
 
       

We would like to share with you this video of the Armistice Ceremony at the Plugstreet Memorial on 11-11-2011, in memory of all those who served.

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England v Germany

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
 
       

Having received a challenge from a group of young Germans who are working in Flanders with the VDK, a football match was held in the field across the road from the Plugstreet Memorial. Despite the age disadvantage, our team scored first! Three cheese (yellow) cards were issued by the referee and one ham (red) to our cameraman for joining in play from the sideline. Alastair made some fantastic saves against the excellent skills of the opposition. Thanks to Claude from the Plugstreet Auberge for arranging the match and providing half time beers for our team (sorry Germany your players were too young to drink)

Final score was 7-4 to Germany.

A good goal!

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Plugstreet 2011

Monday, July 25th, 2011
 
       

The 2011 season begins today, it’s good to be back on site with old friends and new. This year we are continuing investigations near Ultimo crater, hoping to resolve the 3 year long puzzle of Team Nosferatu’s epic excavations, Avril’s team will be looking at an area ajoining last year’s trench and Kirsty’s team will be looking at the German third line.

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Drink Pink for Heroes

Friday, July 8th, 2011
 
       

Last year the team did their bit for current service personnel. In addition to drinking various Belgian beers the team drank pink for Heroes.

Kirsty, who runs the bar at the Peace Village, as well as supervising a team, had a brainwave. If we sold pints of squash we could raise money got Help for Heroes. That’s what we did and we made 150 Euros or £135 for H4H.

We will be doing the same thing again this year, this time for the Army Benevolent Fund.

What better feeling than a cooling drink after a hot day on site AND knowing the investigations of yesterday’s soldiers are helping today’s!

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Messines Anniversary

Friday, June 17th, 2011
 
       

Richard spent 7th June 2011 marking the anniversary of the Battle of Messines working on a piece of New Zealand military heritage.

In 1919 a giant kiwi was carved into the chalk of Salisbury Plain by troops from NZ waiting to be shipped home. Today that kiwi still survives, glowing white above Bulford but it only looks nice because each year it is maintained by volunteers who include serving soldiers, staff from the New Zealand High Commission, local Scouts and other volunteers.

In recent years another of the NML team has been assisting. Bev is a kiwi in exile and has strong family links with the military.

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Messines in Miniature

Friday, June 17th, 2011
 
       

Readers of the latest edition of Military Times will be able to read an article by Martin about the model of Messines and its defences that was constructed by men of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade at their training camp on Cannock Chase (Staffordshire).

The model is made of cement and brickends and depicts the town and the German trenches defending it. The NZRB model is a copy of the tactical model of the wider battlefield created at Petit Pont. This example was used as a briefing tool for troops ahead of the Messines action and film shows the Australian 3rd Div studying it.

We believe we have identified the site of the model and hope to search for remains this summer.

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94th Anniversary of the Battle of Messines

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
 
       

Ninety Four Years ago today the Allied forces launched the opening attack of the Battle of Messines. Many months of hard dangerous work by the Tunnelling Companies of the Royal Engineers along with careful planning and preparation by all involved led to a successful attack.
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Ultimo Crater, the result of the explosion of just one of the mines beneath the German Front Line.

Ultimo Crater, the result of the explosion of just one of the mines beneath the German Front Line.

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The objective of the battle was to push back the enemy from a curving front line, which had barely moved since the trenches were established in the later stages of the Battle of Ypres in late summer of 1914. By straightening the front line between Ypres and Armentieres, the Allies gained control of the higher ground of the Messines Ridge, including the towns of Messines and Wytschaete and the infamous Hill 60, leaving them in a strong position for the planned Third Battle of Ypres, more commonly known as Passchendaele.
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Objectives of The Battle of Messines

Objectives of The Battle of Messines

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This map shows the curving front line, with the objective shown in black dots.

Although the Battle was a success, many casualties were suffered on both sides. The tactic of exploding massive mines beneath the German front lines, inevitably caused thousands of deaths, and many more were injured or killed as the infantry advanced to capture objectives.

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As the Team prepares for the 2011 field work, we remember on this day those who took part in the battle.
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The Cross of Sacrifice at Prowse Point

The Cross of Sacrifice at Prowse Point

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Please see our History Section for more details of the battle and those who fought in these fields.

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