Le carrefour des roses

The Breton Memorial

Location

Coming out of Ieper along the N 369 you will pass Essex Farm Cemetery on your right. Continue towards Boezinge where you will turn right towards Pilkem.

A short distance along the road and just before you turn left at the crossroads for Artillery Wood Cemetery (Green CWGC Sign) you will see this calvary and dolmen on your left at the crossroads. Carrefour is the French word for crossroads.

The Carrefour de la rose

The Carrefour de la rose

 

The group of memorials commemorates the soldiers of the French 45th (Algerian) Division and 87th Territorial Division who fell here during the first gas attack on 22nd April 1915

The First Gas Attack The First Gas Attack
The Memorial Plaque

In French, Breton and Flemish

The 87th Territorial Division hailed from Brittany and was composed of reservists rather than younger conscripts. They were known fondly as Les pépères, or grandads.

Following the war pilgrimages started took place annually from St Brieuc in Brittany and because in the years following 1923 many of those who had fallen were repatriated to their village cemeteries it was thought fitting that a place of memory should be created.

Detail on the Calvaire

Detail on the Calvaire

The 16th century Breton calvaire was brought from Louargat, west of Guingamp.

The dolmen was brought from Hénanbihen, west of St Malo. The capstone weighs 6 tonnes. The word dolmen derives, I believe, from the Breton meaning a stone table. In prehistoric times it would have been part of a communal burial site.

The blocks of stone which surround the garden are also from Brittany and are, for me anyway, somewhat representative of a stone circle and thus complementing the dolmen. Some are engraved with the names of the regiments who fought here.

The orientation table

There is also an orientation table showing where each of the regiments were situated.

 

If you turn left at the crossroads you will come to a small monument to the Irish poet Francis Ledwidge and just behind it Artillery Wood Cemetery where he and the Welsh poet Ellis Evans (Hedd Wyn) are buried.

Artillery Wood Artillery Wood Cemetery

Other French and Belgian memorials to the gas attack can be found at Steenstraat.

Steenstraat Steenstraat

The Canadian Memorial is at Vancouver Corner at Sint Juliaan.

Vancouver Corner Vancouver Corner