ee JUNE 26
The ‘real’  Hitlerbunker (6)
Location: At the end of Rue de la Biette (outside the village) is a soccerfield. Behind it is the bunker.
Today: Still there
There are at least two so called Hitlerbunkers and a lot of other bunkers in the area of Fromelles. A bunker Hitler actually visited in 1940 is on the end of the Rue de la Biette. What Hitler did here in WW1 is unknown, but he knew the area very well, because he was stationed here. During the trip in June 1940 the cars were parked at the end of the Rue de la Biette and Hitler and his men walked into the fields to look at some of the bunkers there.  
Hitler at the bunker on the Rue de la Biette (picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)
Hitler walks through the fields towards the bunkers (pictures: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)
Somewhere in the fields they find a bunker that Hitler might have known from the First World War.
(pictures: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)
The bunker today
(picture: the Hitlerpages, 2007)

Crossing Fromelles (5)

Location: Crossing of the roads D141 and D22/Rue de Verdun

The group left the cars at a crossing in Fromelles.

Hitler and his men in Fromelles (picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

The former butchery today. The picture in the middle shows the hooks of the sign that was there in WW2, saying Hitler had been stationed there. The picture on the right shows the contours of the old entrance and shop window in the wall. (pictures: the Hitlerpages, 2009)
Hitler visiting the butchery in Fournes en Weppes in on June 26, 1940. The picture on the right shows
the guards in front of the house. (pictures: Russell, 2006)
Butchery Fournes (3)
Location: Rue Faidherbe 966
Today: Still there
Another building where Hitler was stationed in 1916 was a butchery on Rue Faidherbe 966. During the Second World War the butchery was guarded and there was a sign that said: ‘In diesem Quartier lag 1916 unser Fuehrer Adolf Hitler als Soldat des Bayr. JNF. RGT. List’. The sign is broken, but it is on display at the museum of Fromelles.   
Regiment Building (2)
Location: Rue de Faidherbe
Today: Still there. It serves as the town hall (mairie)
Hitler’s motorcade drove to Fournes en Weppes first. Hitler was stationed here in WW1. There are different pictures made here of Hitler accompanied by fellow soldiers. Most of them are made in the garden of the regiment building.   
Hitler and his fellow-soldiers in Fournes en Weppes, April 1915.
First row: Adolf Hitler, Balthasar Brandmayer, Anton Bachmann, Foxl, Max Mund. Second row: Ernst Schmidt, Johann Sperl, Jakob Weiß, Karl Tiefenböck.
(picture: Russell, 2006)
Fournes, 1915. Hitler is the second one from the right.
(picture: Russell, 2006)
Hitler and other men from his regiment in Fournes en Weppes in 1916. The Heinrich Hoffmann book ‘Mit Hitler im Westen’ says mistakenly that this picture and the one on the right, dated 1940, were taken in Fromelles.
(picture: Mit Hitler im Westen, 1940)
Max Amann, Ernst Schmidt and Adolf Hitler at the former regiment building in Fournes en Weppes, 1940
(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)
Hitler in front of the wall in the garden of the regiment building in Fournes en Weppes
(picture: Russell, 2006)
Enrst Schmidt, Anton Bachmann, Adolf Hitler and his dog Foxl at the regiment headquarters in Fournes en Weppes, April 1915.
(picture: Kershaw, 1998)
The regiment building in 2009. Town Hall was closed, so I couldn’t get behind the building. When the gate is open, it should be easy to take a look behind it. The garden walls are still there. (pictures: the Hitler Pages, 2009)
The regiment building untill recently. The picture on the right shows the garden, with the same wall as in WW1. (pictures: Russell, 2006)

FOURNES EN WEPPES (FRANCE)

June 25-26, 1940, somewhere in Belgium or France. Walter Frentz is filming  Adolf Hitler, Ernst Schmidt and Max Amman.
(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)
June 25-26, 1940, somewhere in Belgium or France. This picture shows Hitler, Ernst Schmidt and Max Amman from up close.
(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)
Another picture of the same location. (picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)
Another bunker Hitler visited
Location: Unknown
Today: Could very well still be there
The pictures below must have been taken after the groop  left Fromelles, because Hitler wears a white raincoat instead of the army coat he wore before. After Hitlers boots were cleaned he probably put on a new coat.The pictures show Hitler in front of two other WW 1 bunkers. The first one is overgrown with gras. It doesn’t look like it’s the bunker on the road between Fromelles and Aubers that’s known as the Hitlerbunker. The other one might be the same bunker on the backside. It could also be the bunker that is on the pictures of Hitler and his mean eating from a mobile kitchen in the fields. (Look below here.) It might also be a complete different bunker. Siegfried Debaeke states that Hiter inspected a large bunker near La Bassée. If there’s anyone who can identify one of the bunkers, please send an e-mail.
The ‘wrong’ Hitlerbunker (7)
Loocation: Road between Fromelles and Aubers (D141), just a few steps from the road
Today: Still there
On the road between Fromelles and Aubers are a lot of bunkers. One of them is the so called Hitlerbunker, the bunker where Hitler was said to have been stationed in 1915. It was a German bunker in WW1, but there is no prove that this is a bunker Hitler used to stay at. There are also no pictures of Hitler visiting the  bunker in 1940, but this doesn’t mean he didn’t know this bunker.
The Bunker on the road between Fromelles and Aubers
(picture: the Hitlerpages, 2007)
The bunker really was a German bunker,
but there’s no proof Hitler was here in WW1.
(picture: the Hitlerpages, 2007)

OTHER BUNKERS (FRANCE)

This picture shows Hitler (in a white raincoat), looking at yet another bunker in the North of France. (picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

Hitler visited the Champagne and Vlaanderen on June 25 and 26 together with Max Amann and Ernst Schmied, old friends from the First World War. The route that was followed is not entirely clear.

1. Lille Airport 1b. Noyelles-lès-Seclin 1c. Wavrin 2. Regiment building, Fournes en Weppes

3. Butchery, Fournes en Weppes 3b. Route between Fournes and Fromelles

4. Farm, Fromelles 5. Crossing, Fromelles

6. Hitlerbunker, Fromelles 6b. End of Rue de la Biethe, Fromelles 7. The ‘wrong’ Hitlerbunker, Fromelles 8. English WW1 cemetery, Aubers

8a. Herlies 8b. Illies 9. La Bassee 10. Béthune

11. Cassel 12. Dunkerque 13. Cappelle la Grande 14. Bergues 15. D916A 16. Rattekot 17. Rexpoëde 18. Roesbrugge 19. Poperinge 19a. Ieper

19b. Poperingseweg  

19c. Gustave de Stuerstraat 19d. Lakenhal - Grote Markt 19e. Rijselstraat 19f. Rijselpoort 19g. Wijschate 20. Messines 20a. Ploegsteert 20b. Armentieres 20c. Aiport Bondues 21. Gros Caillou 22. Brûly-de-Pesche    

JUNE 26, 1940
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HISTORICAL HITLER SITES

Lille Airport/ Aéroport de Lille (1) or Airport Lille Bondues (20c)

Location: D145

Today: Airport Lille-Lesquin or Aérodrome de Lille-Marcq-en-Baroeul

In the morning of June 26 Hitler and his men went to Lille by plane for a trip through southwest Belgium and the northern parts of France. The most logical place where Hitler could have landed would be the Aéroport de Lille, because Hitler was going to Fournes en Weppes. That airport a military airport in Lille Lesquin than. But it is also said that Hitler was flown to an airport in the North of Lille, the airport Bondues (now known as Aérodrome de Lille-Marcq-en-Baroeul).

 

LILLE (FRANCE)

NOYELLES-LÈS-SECLIN - WAVRIN (FRANCE)

Route through Noyelles-lès-Seclin (1b) and Wavrin (1c)

Exact route: Unknown

On the way to Fournes en Weppes Hitler and his company might have drove through Noyelles-lès-Seclin, where Adolf Hitler is said to have drawn parts of the railroad track in WW1 and through Wavrin, a place from where Hitler, Frits Wiedemann and their regiment commander were said to have been hunting in WW1. It is not quit sure if Hitler took this route. It seems like a route to follow travelling form Lille Lesquin to Fournes-en-Weppes, but coming from the Airport Bondues it’s not that obvious to go there. Heinz Linge, Hitlers Adjudant, said they went through Noyelles and Wavrin.

 

Hitler in front of the farm in Fromelles
(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)
A drawing made by Hitler  of a farm in Fromelles, that was the ‘Verbandplatz’ of the regiment of Hitler in 1915 (picture: Russell, 2006)
Two more drawings of Hitler made near Fromelles. They have probably been bettered and coloured by other artists. On the left is the drawing ‘Unterstand’ (Shelter) was made in 1915. On the right is the aquarel ‘Haus mit weissem Zaun’ that was made northwest of Fromelles, near the ‘Roten Banke’, in 1915. (pictures: Russell, 2006)
The exact same farm today
(picture: the Hitler Pages, 2009)
A look of what’s behind the farm
(picture: the Hitler Pages, 2009)
Farm where Hitler was stationed (4)
Location: Southern edge of Fromelles, on the D22, last farm  on the left
Today: Still there
The next stop was Fromelles. Hitler was stationed in a farm on the edge of Fromelles in WW1.  

FROMELLES (FRANCE)

Another picture of the farm
(picture: the Hitler Pages, 2009)

ROUTE TO FROMELLES (FRANCE)

Route from Fournes en Weppes to Fromelles (3b)

Route: D141A

Today: Still there

On their way to Fromelles the cars took the D141A.

 

The road to Fromelles in 1940

(left picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

and the same location years later

(right picture: After the Battle Magazine)

Location where the cars where parked (6b)

Location: End of the Rue de la Biette

Today: Still there

There’s a picture of  Linge cleaning Hitler’s shoes when they return from the bunker in the fields behind the Rue de la Biette.

Hitler returns to his car and has his boots cleaned.

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

English WW1 cemetery (8)

Location: Route d’Herlies (between the Rue de Valmonchy and the Chemin de la Croix Rouge)

Today: Still there

It could be that Hitler visited this cemetery when he came through Aubers. (source: After the Battle magazine)

Aubers was taken by the British army on October 17, 1914. The village was recaptured by the Germans within a few days. In early October 1918 Aubers fell into British hands again. This time for good. The cemetery was made after the Armistice.

(pictures: the Hitlerpages, 2009)

AUBERS (FRANCE)

LA BASSEE (FRANCE)

Channel bridge (9)

Location: Route de Lens-Rue de Lens

Today: There is a new bridge.

The next location on the route that was on the Heinrich Hoffmann pictures was the channel in La Bassee. After The Battle Magazine found back this location and the ones that followed. Siegfried Debaeke found out other locations.

The channel on the southside of La Bassee was pictured from the bridge.

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

On the D916A in Rattekot, between Bergues and Rexpoëde

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

ROUTE THROUGH BERGUES (FRANCE) - D916A - RATTEKOT (FRANCE)    

Route through Bergues (14), on the D916A (15) to Rattekot (16)

Exact route: Not sure. ‘Rattekot’ is probably on the crossing of Rue Rattekot,and the D916A

Today: Must have changed over the years

After the Battle Magazine located one of the Hoffmann pictures at Rattekot. The cars are driving back to Belgium.

Rexpoëde (western edge)

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

REXPOËDE (FRANCE)

Location of a Hoffmann picture (17)

Exact location: Not sure. Somewhere on the western edge of the village.

Today: Unknown

After the Battle Magazine located one of the Hoffmann pictures at Rexpoëde, still in France. The magazine suggests that the picture was taken from one of the cars looking backwards.

Roesbrugge

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

In the book Korrektur einer Biografie of Joachimsthaler I found this picture. It was possibly made in front of the same café, with the same sign advertising Bieres Motte-Cordonnier. The cars seem to be headed in the other direction as the ones on the other picture, but it looks like Hitler is reading the map. The other picture shows a turning car in the background. It could be that the cars took a wrong turn here. (picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

ROESBRUGGE (BELGIUM)  

Location of a Hoffmann picture (18)

Exact location: Not sure

Today: Unknown

After the Battle Magazine located one of the Hoffmann pictures at Roesbrugge. The magazine says the cars were still on the way to Dunkerque. But that seems a strange detour from Cassel, a route the magazine suggested. It’s more likely they were still driving back east towards Poperinge. A picture in the book “Korrektur einer Biografie’ of A. Joachimsthaler could show the same location, but I’m not sure. Note that the cars on the Joachimthaler picture are driving in the other direction. The direction where the cars seems to go on the other picture (the one on the left) should by the way not be considered too significant, because of the position from which the picture was taken. It was taken from a car, that obviously belongs to Hitlers group, that is clearly headed in the opposite direction of the car passing. In fact, it looks like the cars are turning here.

Crossing the bridge over the IJzer

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

POPERINGE (BELGIUM)  

Route through Poperinge (19)

Route: Gasthuisstraat - Grote Markt

On the way back the cars drove through Poperinge. The picture on the left shows the front of a car coming from the Gasthuisstraat, driving onto the Grote Markt in direction of city hall. This proofs that the cars were headed east and were driving towards Ieper. In front of city hall a band was playing in honour of Adolf Hitler.

The Grote Markt in Poperinge. The cars pass a band that plays in front of city hall.

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

Lille Airport/ Aéroport de Lille (1) or Airport Lille Bondues (20c)

Location: D145

Today: Airport Lille-Lesquin or Aérodrome de Lille-Marcq-en-Baroeul

At the end of the day Hitler and his men returned to an airport in Lille to fly back to Le Gros Caillou (France) (21), the airfield near FHQ Wolfsschlucht 1 (Belgium).

 

LILLE (FRANCE)

JUNE 1940.
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BETHUNE (FRANCE)

Route past Bethune (10)

Exact route: Probably the D941

The cars that were headed for Dunkerque probably took the road that is now called the D941 towards Bethune.

CASSEL (FRANCE)

Route through or past Cassel (11)

Exact route: Uknown

The cars went past Cassel to get to the D916, along the channel to Dunkerque.

Hitler’s motorcade in Cappelle la Grande, on the D916

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

CAPPELLE LA GRANDE (FRANCE)

Route through Cappelle la Grande (13)

Exact route: D 916 along the channel, in front of a (former) butchery

Today: Still there

Having left Dunkerque the cars drove past through Cappelle la Grande on the D916. It’s possible they also came past this village on the way to Dunkerque, but the picture below shows the cars driving back to Belgium.

DUNKERQUE (FRANCE)

Dunkerque Town Hall (12)

Location: Quai des Hollandais, near the Place Charles Valentin

Looking at the history of the place during the German invasion it’s obvious that Hitler wanted to see Dunkerque. One of Heinrich Hoffmanns pictures shows the town hall (Belfort) of Dunkerque, probably shot from the Quai des Hollandais. Although the houses around it have been ruïned, the tower of the town hall still stands. The harbour of Dunkerque is nearby: the other picture shows Hitler in the harbour of Dunkerque.    

Hitler at the harbour of Dunkerque

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

In a ruïned Dunkerque the tower of the town hall still stands.

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

Dunkerque Town Hall today

Route through Herlies and Illies to La Bassee (8a/8b)

On the way to La Bassee Hitler came through Herlies and Illies, according to Siegfied Debaekes book ‘Hitler in Vlaanderen’. This route is probably the route Hitler followed.

HERLIES & ILLIES (FRANCE)

THE ROUTE TO DUNKERQUE (THROUGH BELGIUM OR FRANCE?)

After the Battle magazine found out a lot about the route Hitler and his men took on June 26, 1940. Years later, in 2012 or 2013 (the book doesn’t say), Siegfried Debaekes book ‘Hitler in Vlaanderen’ came out. It gives a good oversight of Hitlers trips through Vlaanderen, but comparing both sources, some contradictions stand out. Especially regarding Hitlers route from La Bassee to Dunkerque. After the Battle states that Hitler went through Bethune and Cassel, France to get to Dunkerque. Debaeke, who found some great pictures of  the route that were never published, makes the route a litlle more complex. He thinks Hitler, after visiting La Bassee, went back to Belgium through Armentieres. After that he first went to Mesen, Wijtschate and Ieper on the road to Dunkerque. On the road back he visited Ieper again, in his version of the route. This version could also be (partly) true.

There are no pictures of Hitler on the French route through Bethune and Cassel, but there are also no pictures of Hitler traveling to Dunkerque after Ieper, the route through Belgium. Because Hitler first drove into France where he crossed the channel in La Bassee, I thought it seemed unlogicaly for him to return along the same route to Ieper, which Debaeke states. After crossing the channel the route through France is a lot quicker than turning back to Ieper. In both sources the route was reconstructed by looking at pictures. After the Battle doesn’t show all the pictures that it had in possetion and Debaeke is unsure about the chronology of some of the negatives he found.

The pictures of Cappelle-la-Grande, and more important Poperinge show that Hitler is driving eastwards, towards Ieper. Debaekes sollution for another strip of negatives of Hitler visiting Ieper he found, is that Hitler might have been in Ieper twice on this day: once on the way to and once on the way back. Together with the strange choice of going to Ieper after La Bassee, this seems a bit odd, but it’s not impossible. If Hitler went to Dunkerque through France and went back through Belgium, including Ieper, this strange double in the tour would not have taken place. Pictures from the Belgium route towards Dunkerque, as told, don’t exist. All other pictures on that route are from the way back. Could some of the pictures of Ieper be pictures of Hitler that were taken on June 1, 1940? Could there have been a mix-up of the negatives of the pictures? Below here I have combined both sources to what only a possible route to Dunkerque might have been. In the future the chronology of this page might change. Corrections are always welcome.

  

LUNCH AT A MOBILE KITCHEN

Lunch

Location: Unknown

Somewhere after having left Fromelles Hitler had lunch. Along the route, near another bunker, a mobile army kitchen was parked, where the group had lunch. Maybe one of the pictures of Hitler inspecting a bunker that is shown above was made here. Looking at the size and form of it, it could be. To compare them, I have placed the picture of Hitler and the bunker here for the second time on the same page. It’s still hard to see if they are the same, though.

Hitler has lunch somewhere along the route in a mobile kitchen. The picture on the right shows that the kitchen car was parked next to a bunker. (pictures: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

Could this be the same bunker? (picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

MESEN - MESSINES (BELGIUM)  

Route through Messines (20)

Route: Bethlehem Farm and Mesen church

Today: Still there.

Hitler might have visited the Bethlehem Farm and the church in Mesen on his trip through Belgium and France on Junbe 26, 1940. The pictures below show Hitler in front of a barn. It might be the barn of the Bethlehem farm where Hitler was stationed in WW1. He also might have visited  the church of Mesen, but there are no pictures of that.

Hitler at the Bethlehem Farm?

(pictures: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

IEPER (BELGIUM)  

Ieper (19a)

Route: Poperingseweg (19b) - Gustave de Stuerstraat (19c) - Lakenhal, Grote Markt (19d) - Rijselstraat (19e) - Rijselpoort (19f)

Today: Most locations are still there.

The pictures of Ieper make Debaekes thoughts about Hitler coming through Ieper twice possible, because there are two pictures of Hitler’s motorcade driving towards the Lakenhal, from different directions. One fromthe direction of Poperinge, taken in the Gustave de Stuerstraat and one from the direction of Wijtschate, taken in the Rijselstraat. It seems strange that Hitler came to Ieper twice on one day, but Debaeke has a point here. It could be that the pictures were taken on different days, maybe some of them wer even taken on June 1, when Hitler took the Rijselstraat route for sure. From that date no pictures of the Rijselpoort and Rijselstraat route seem to have been made. It’s hard for me to say, because I haven’t seen the negatives of the pictures. Who can help out?

This picture shows the cars entering Ieper from another side: through the Rijselpoort.

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

Gustave de Stuersstraat

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

Driving towards the Grote Markt, coming from the De Stuerstraat

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

The Rijselpoort

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

The cars in the Rijselstraat. They’re heading for the Grote Markt: the same route as the one on June 1...

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

At the end of the Rijselstraat the cars passed the Lakenhal.

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

WIJTSCHATE (BELGIUM)  

Kerkplein (19g)

Exact route: Maybe Hiter also visited the Croonaertbos, but there are no pictures to proof it.

Today: The church is still there.

The one picture of Wijtschate, the church of St. Medardus, is part of the confusion about the route that was taken to Dunkerque and because it’s on a negative before a picture of Ieper it backs up Debaekes idea that Hitler visited Ieper twice.

Hitler’s motorcade came through the village of Wijtschate

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

 

WW1 Monument for the missing soldiers of the Commonwealth (20a)

Location: Berks Cemetery Extension, N365 to Mesen

Today: Still there.

Hitler must have passed this war monument. Hoffmann of one of his helpers, took this picture of the monument.

 

PLOEGSTEERT (BELGIUM)

The Hoffmann picture of the monument

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)

The monument is still there.

(picture: wikipedia)

Le Beffroi - Grand Place (20b)

Location: Grand Place

Today: Still there.

Somewhere on the route Hitler must have passed the Beffroi in Armentières. There’s one picture of it. The negative of the picture is on the same strip as the pictures of Hitler in Fournes. That means that Hitler or Hoffmann must have been in Armentières before going to Fournes and all the other places. If the airport he used was Lille Bondues, that makes sense. This picture makes the route even more complicated.  

 

ARMENTIèRES (FRANCE)

The Beffroi in Armentières

(picture: Heinrich Hoffmann, 1940)