Spanbroek mill.
  The mill for the war

The Spanbroek mill was situated on the hillside of Wijtschate, the highest point (75m) of the hillside between Wijtschate and Mesen along the Kruisstraat, about 1750 meters southwest of the village. At that height the wind had driven the Spanbroek mill for three centuries until November 1914. When they came into German hands during heavy fights, Spanbroekmolen was in a strategic place and of great importance during the war.

From this place, from all the way to Belle (Bailleul), the Allies could not resist or the Germans had noticed it. The Germans had built this height into a fortified bulwark. The most famous of the craters is the Spanbroek Mill called Crater or also called Pool of Peace, it is easy to recognize at its height and tree-lined crater lip.

It is the only deep crater that is not in agricultural land. About 450 meters southwest of Spanbroek Mill British Cemetery and 150 meters north of Lone Tree Cemetery. At the entrance there is a memorial board and in the forest north of the crater there is a semi-underground concrete structure hidden, probably a German shelter, with opening to the east side, is partly built with large concrete blocks, probably one meter thick With a square opening.

Short history
  After the conquest of the Germans in 1914

  This is the Spanbroek mill during the war

Spanbroekmolen was in the hands of the Germans and was expanded into a bolster reinforced with bunkers, the British chose this bulb as one of the mining sites. The excavation work was started in January 1916 by the 250th Tunnelling Company and later taken over by the 3rd Canadian Tunnelling Company, then through the 175th Tunneling Company and then by the 171st Tunnelling Company.

On June 28, 1916, this unit unloaded the jump load of more than 41 tons of ammonia into a room connected to a 520 meter tunnel. The 171st Tunnelling Company was then commissioned to undermine the German support point Rag Point from the Spanbroek mill tunnel, which was 1100 meters further.

Eventually, these excavations were shut down when the German mines seriously hindered the work and endangered the load under the Spanbroek mill. On March 3, 1917, the Germans blasted three heavy mining charges from Ewald shaft galleries, causing the British construction to collapse over 120 meters in length.

When the Tunnellers attempted to dig a bypass, they were charged with mining gas, leaving three men alive. The Germans also did not disrupt the repair work, damaged the dead end and replaced the ignitioners. Only June 6, 1917, just a few hours before the Mine Battle, everything could be put in place for one successful exploration.

The explosion on 7 June 1917 left a crater of 76 meters diameter and 12 meters depth. The mining shaft Spanbroek mill began on December 1, 1916, the cargo was ready on June 28, 1916. The cargo was 41276 kg of ammonia, the cargo load was 27 meters deep and the gallery was 521 meters long. The British shaft from which the gallery left for Spanbroekmolen was in the shelter of a bush which lay along a lower stream of the Stuiverbeek.

In the woods were several British shelters, trenches and a narrow track. This track was probably used to unravel the excavated earth. The Hoeve and Lone Tree Cemetery in the Kruisstraat 21 Wijtschate are located above the second deep tunnel, where the work was shut down in February 1917.

Aerial view of the Spanbroek mill after the mine explosion of 7 June 1917

  Spanbroek mill crater today

Lone Tree Cemetery

The Lone Tree Cemetery is located along the Kruisstraat left 150 meters from the Spanbroek mill crater and near the current farm. Most of the graves date from June 7, 1917, of victims of the Northern Irish 36th Ulster Division who got the rubble of the late exploded deeper thunder over them.

  The entrance to the Lone Tree Cemetery.

  Three tombstones next to each other, these are of a lieutenant and two rifleman. The tombstone left is from Lieutenant J.B.Hudson MC 23 years old of the Worchestershire Regiment. In the middle the tombstone of Rifleman J.Mc.Connell of the Royal Irish Rifles. Right the tombstone of Rifleman R.W.Bennet Royal Irish Rifles all died on June 7, 1917 during the mining battle.                   
About me
Spanbroek Mill Crater
Spanbroek Mill after mine explotion View on the memorial stone of Spanbroekmolen Crater Aerial view and information on Spanbroek Mill crater Spanbroek Mill Crater toady Sketch of the underground mines
Lone tree Cemetery
View of the graves The Cross of Sacrifice View of the graves