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Retracing the Worcesters Charge at Gheluvelt


Mark Hone
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I take it that I'm right in thinking, from examination of maps and walking in the area a few years ago, that the presence of the dreaded A19 prevents approximating the route of the famous charge on foot? I'm going to do stands at Black Watch Corner and Gheluvelt itself and had vague hopes of connecting them with a walk rather than ferrying the troops between the two sites in the coach.

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Unfortunately, you are absolutely correct. However a walk to Geluveld is entirely feasible and enables you to make a virtue of necessity by traversing, or at least viewing, much of the ground which was the scene of the final 11 November fighting. Walk to the western end of the motorway bridge by BWC and take the minor road which tracks SSE alongside the A19. You can then follow your nose south, arriving at the Menin road about 500 metres from the centre of Geluveld. There are various places where you can look at the ground where the ad hoc German guards were stopped, but you can also pick up on parts of the Worcesters' route, despite the fact that quite a lot of it is in dead ground. There are a couple of places where you can get a good look into the grounds of Geluveld Chateau. I have had the odd quick look inside the park, but I would not take a large group in and draw attention to my presence. There is an option right at the start to do a lap of Nonnebossen where the artillery finally halted the deepest GE thrust on 11 Nov and to visit Capt Brodie's memorial. You would have to allow another twenty minutes or so, if you want to include this, but his cross is a direct link to 11 Nov 14.

Jack

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I have done this (partly, starting from the Poezelhoekstraat) during my 2002 book launch in Geluveld (with some people from the regiment at that point). It is very well possible, there is even a small track which takes you directly into Geluveld

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I'm inclined to give it a go. We're pretty resourceful: I'll put my TA officer colleague in charge of navigation!. I should also be able to fit in a recce before next year's trip. I would like to include the Brodie Memorial which I don't think I've ever seen in my numerous private visits to the Salient. I included Gheluvelt as a stand in my first ever school tour in 1994. I'll bear in mind your advice about the park, Jack.

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Mark, just as a matter of interest I visited gheluveld for the 90th anniversary, in a building at the car park near the gates to the chateau there was an excellent collection of artifacts that had been dug up In the grounds and also there were guided tours of the Chateau grounds, all put on by the local authority ......I wonder if anything was planned for next year? At least I think it was the 90th...May have been the 85th, time flies....Colin

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From BWC walk west about 500 metres looking for openings on your right into the wood. Strictly speaking this part of the wooded area was Glencorse Wood. When you get to Sprookjesbosdreef turn right past a few holiday chalets. Having passed a section with high chain link fencing, go straight on until you reach a sign outside a property which reads (in translation) 'Private road; keep the entrance clear' If you look forward past the house you can see where the British gun lines were just on the southern edge of Westhoek on 11 Nov 14. Back track to the junction and Brodie's memorial is about 25 metres further on, on the right. On foot you can carry straight on, then turn right and complete the circuit.

Jack

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was in Ypres this year but did not get time to go to the Chateu, I was informed today that the Chateu is no longer there?

Is this correct, surely not!

Many Thanks

Dean

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football pitch is on the opposite side of de Kasteelstraat.

Chateau is still there. Privately owned, but the owner is a very reasonable man.

So I imagine that with polite asking, permission should be given to enter the grounds.

If he does refuse entrance, you can still easily see the side on how the Worcesters entered the grounds. If you stand at the side entrance (Kasteelstraat), you can see the slope on which they came down from. That partially follows the track towards de Poezelhoekstraat, earlier mentionned by Jan.

The only part of the carge you can't follow are about 200m where the A19 is now. But the rest you can follow by the Polygonestraat, Poezelhoekstraat towards the chateau.

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  • 7 months later...

I may have a chance to recce the area before October but can anyone tip me off for the best places to park a normal single-decker coach for i.) Black Watch Corner and II.) Gheluvelt Village? It's a few years since I visited Gheluvelt and I've never taken a coach up to that side of Polygon Wood. The lads won't mind a bit of walking.

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I visited Gheluvelt in May as part of a Leger tour.

We parked the coach in the main square by the Church, and walked to the Chateau and then to the memorials. Our Guide (Vic Puik) stopped us just inside the entrance to the park and described the scene from there. He said that he wouldn't take us right down to the chateau as it was private, but also said that he'd visited the site many times and had never seem anyone in the chateau. There were some vehicles parked next to the chateau, but there were no signs of life anywhere and the windows appeared to be shuttered. There didn't seem to be much sign of life in the outbuildings on the left of the driveway either.

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The bloke owning the chateau is an industrial manager, and very little at home.

The outbuilding is a rental place and as such the people living there don't have any saying wether a group can visit tje chateau grounds.

However, as the local archery club uses the meadow there for their practise and tournaments, the first couple hundred meter of the driveway is easily accessible.

And if someone comes to ask why, with some polite explanation you get a .ong way over here.

Parking is indeed easiest on the main square of Geluveld, as you are within walking distance of the chateau and memorials.

Also a possibilty is taking a small path just after the cemetry and go up to the Polderhoekstraat, which is a part of the attack line of the 2nd Bn, from ther you can see the jump off point near Black Watch Corner and Polyvon Wood.

If you can ask the coach driver to drop you off on the main square of Geluveld, the track and subsequentley the small road towards Polygon Wood will take about 20 to 30minutes, with some explanation in between counted in.

That takes you on a part of the attack line (sadly a large part is now taken in by the highway running there)

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