La Plaine Au BoisLa Plaine Au Bois
©La Plaine Au Bois
The Wormhoudt massacreOne of the worst nazi crimes of the Battle of France

La Plaine au Bois

One of the most terrible war crimes of 1940 was commited in La Plaine au Bois. It is known as the Wormhoudt massacre

Esquelbecq carries the memory of one of the most shameful massacres committed by the nazis during their advance towards Dunkirk.

On 28 May 1940, the Germans attacked the crossroads at Wormhout, a strategic spot that the British forces staunchly defended. During theconfrontation, 95 soldiers from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, the Cheshire Regiment, and the Royal Artillery, and 1 French soldier, were taken prisoner and held in a barn in La Plaine au Bois.

A few hours later, most of them were cold-bloodedly assassinated by members of the SS Adolf Hitler division, the Führer’s personal guard, as punishment for their resistance.

The site of this carnage has become a site of remembrance, thanks to a great deal of support from the British press and television. An exact replica of the barn was built, and 80 beech trees were symbolically planted along the path leading to it.

In addition, a stele serves as a reminder og the 300 Allied and French soldiers and civilians who fell in Wormhout, Ledringhem, and Esquelbecq during these traging days.

A glazed lava viewpoint indicator also provides information about the battle that took place here.