Hill 60

Hill 60 is an area of ground which remains relatively undisturbed since the end of the Great War. It is located around three miles south-east of Ypres, just off Werviksestraat between Zillebeke and Zandvoorde. Because it was higher ground in an otherwise flat landscape, it obviously had great strategic importance in the battles here. The hill isn’t natural; it was made from the spoil removed during the construction of the railway line nearby. During the Great War there was fierce fighting here, and the hill changed hands between the Germans and the Allies several times. Both sides also dug tunnels and planted mines underneath the hill. Because of this, the remains of many soldiers from both the Allied and German forces still lie here.


There is a small  car parking area, which is just in front of a memorial to the 14th Light Division. This records that the Division landed in France in May 1915, and the battle honours of the Division are listed, and include Ypres, the Somme and Arras.

To the left of the car park there are railings around a square area of grass, and there are information boards here to the left and the right.  In the centre of the grass is a memorial to the 1st Australian Tunneling Company. The plaque on the memorial is marked by bullet holes (see middle picture below). These date not from the Great War, but from the Second World War, when this area was fought over again. The plaque on the front explains that this permanent memorial replaces one erected in 1919 by comrades of those who fell here. An early picture of this memorial shows the devastation of the land here shortly after the war.


The entrance to the Hill 60 site itself is via a gate to the left of the railed area with the Tunnelling Company memorial. There is a stone near the entrance with an inscription giving some of the history of Hill 60, and that it was finally taken by the British on the 28th of September 1918.


The inscription also emphasises that because of the nature of the fighting here, Hill 60 is effectively a mass grave for soldiers of all sides. After the war, the trenches were filled in, but the land remains cratered and still bears the scars of the battles fought over it. The photos below show the ground as it is today, and also a preserved trench at Hill 60, probably sometime between the wars.


Towards the rear of the site is a pillbox which is still largely intact. This was originally German, but was modified by the Australians in 1918. The marks of bullets/shells can still be seen in the concrete.