On the 22nd of April, 1915, in the late afternoon, between Langemark and Poelkapelle,
the Germans opened 5000 bottles of chlorassic gas. A green cloud of poisonous gas
drifted towards allied forces. The first act of chemical warfare in history was a fact.
Hundreds of soldiers were lost, others, in panic, fled the scene, many got blind and disfigured.
The German gas attack created a gap of 8 km in the front line, but the Germans, taken by surprise
by the success of the attack, didn’t fully take advantage of the opportunity strategically.
In Boezinge, many French soldiers of Breton background were lost. These were farmer-soldiers:
tough and aging men, rough of mentallity but high on honour. After the war, an annual pilgrimage
was undertaken from St Brieuc. In 1927, a 16th century Calvary cross was brought to the site.
In 1929, Jean-Baptiste Lebret, a Breton veteran farmer-soldier, was unhappy with the slow workings
of the French officials in erecting a proper, official monument, so he took a personal initiative.
On his land in Brittany, in the region of Hénonbihen, he dug up a dolmen and several standing stones,
loaded the 8 tons of rock on a horse drawn wagon, and brought it to Boezinge where he rebuilt
the monument which is now known as ‘Carrefour des Roses’.
As the dolmen has an estimated age of at least 5000 years, it is by far
the oldest World War One monument in the world.
Gear: 550D/T2i, Sigma 30mm f1.4, Samyang 14mm f2.8, Canon EF 70-210mm F4, Opteka GDL 400 120cm, Manfrotto tripod with 501HDV video head.
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