Boinet family from France
Hill 60, located about 5 kilometres (3 miles) from Ypres, was made from the spoil removed during the construction of the nearby railway line in the 1850s. In the First World War this man-made hill was of strategic importance for both armies as it offered an excellent view on the area around Zillebeke and Ypres.
It is a sunny afternoon in Flanders Fields and the Boinet family is on a historical quiz rally across the battlefields of the Great War. Together with a big group of friends, they are visiting historical WWI sites and memorials to gather answers to questions that a friend of theirs has compiled. “It’s a playful way to get to know the area and to find out about what happened here. The kids really like it,” Mrs Boinet explains. Of all the sites they have visited in Flanders Fields so far, the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 in particular intrigued them: “It allows the children to experience history hands-on by visiting trenches and trying on uniforms and helmets.”
While the children explore the surroundings, Mrs Boinet carries on: “It’s important for our children to learn about history. While there are of course many WWI sites and memorials in France as well, it is equally important to visit Belgium to see and understand the Belgian side of the conflict.”
Looking over the wide open fields in front of him and Hill 60 behind him, Mr Boinet adds: “When you see today’s landscape, you just cannot imagine the destruction and devastation that was inflicted on Flanders Fields during the war.”
Because of the underground war that took place at and around Hill 60, there are still bodies of countless soldiers buried beneath the clay today. In this sense Hill 60 is more than a memorial, it is also a cemetery for soldiers of both sides of the conflict.
Story created on April 11, 2016