Messines Ridge and ‘Plugstreet’

Messines Ridge. Kruisstraat Craters January 2015 041

Messines Ridge. Kruisstraat Craters January 2015

In 1997 I wrote the introduction for a book called A Walk round Plugstreet  by Tony Spagnoly and Ted Smith.  Since then, I have walked that sacred ground, many times.  In 1970, I read a brilliant book called ‘War Underground – The Tunnellers of the Great War.’ by Alexander Barrie. The best book ever written about the horrific conditions suffered by the tunnellers deep under the battlefield as they tunnelled towards the German lines and prepared gigantic mines to be exploded under the Messines Ridge in June 1917. For the Royal Engineer’s Tunnelling Companies, it was their finest hour and the destruction caused to the German positions and the landscape is still very much in evidence today and the sight of those massive Mine Craters – most of which stand as a stark reminder of  that terrible war – is simply  awesome.  A visit to the Messines Ridge and Plugstreet, where  Sir Winston Churchill once served in the trenches and the legendary Christmas truce took place in 1914, can be done in a day and is a very popular addition to my battlefield itinerary.