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Croonaert Wood - Bayernwald

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Date Added: Sep 18, 2009
Popularity: 0.666667
Category: World War I

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This small area of woodland was taken by German troops in 1914, and during the winter of 1914/15 a system of trenches was constructed in the what the Allies called 'Croonaert Wood', but which the Germans named 'Baynerwald' ('Bavarian Wood') as it was Bavarian units which had first been stationed here. Adolf Hitler had served here in 1914/15, and was awarded an Iron Cross close by, while working as a Company Runner. He returned to visit the site in June 1940, following the fall of France.

A trench museum was opened here in the 1970s by the late Andre Becquart, which closed on his death in 1986. For many years the wood was overgrown, until it was purchased by the local authorities. A group of volunteers and military archaeologists then cleared the site, and re-dug the trench system as it had been in 1915, using an original wartime map.

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