'Yorkshire Trench' was the name given to a front line position dug by units of the 49th (West Riding) Division near the Yser canal at Boesinghe in 1915/16. The Belgian archaeology group The Diggers worked on this site over many years and recovered much material and many human remains from the area. Their work was featured on The Forgotten Battlefield, a documentary made by BBC Producer John Hayes-Fisher. The publicity following this programme made the local authorities in the Ypres area keen on preserving some part of what The Diggers had uncovered, and in May 2003 the Yorkshire Trench & Dugout site was opened following much hard work on the part of the Diggers themselves.
What can be seen at this site is a whole section of the trench, at its original depth, with fire-steps and loopholes, and the entrances to two sections of tunnels and dugouts. The dugouts probably date from a later period, 1916/17, and due to the water level in this area are flooded and cannot be entered. However, on the surface level light stone 'paths' mark out the plan of the system below ground, which at one point is more than thirty feet below the surface.
The site is permanently open and free to visit. There are information panels in Flemish, English and French, and a reconstruction of the 'A Frame' duck-board supports. Livens projectors, British trench mortar weapons, have also been placed on the site, as many were found in the area beyond the trench towards the canal.
Inside one of the trenches (click to enlarge)
HOW TO GET THERE
Click on the map for directions: thanks to Hooge Crater museum & The Diggers for the map.
ŠPaul Reed 2004-2006