World Reviewer rating

Worth a visit
Rating 0.6 (203 votes)

Shot at Dawn Execution site

Listed under Military History in Belgium.

Photo of Shot at Dawn Execution site
Photo by flickr user DerbyDog1
Pin It

Poperinge wasn't on the front line, it was a military camp where men were 'rested' and hospitalised near the front before going back to fight, but this is where many of the 73 Ypres Salient military executions took place during the Great War, because it was here that many men proclaimed their inability to go back into the firing line.  It's hard to imagine not being scared under those kinds of conditions, and while some of the men may have been rightly proclaimed cowards, some of them were probably just so shell shocked they didn't know what they were doing any more.  

This courtyard was where the executions took place.  The post in place was only used the once, for the final execution on the 19th of May 1919.  The night before, after the men were given their final orders by General Haig, they were taken to one of these cells where they were kept overnight with a chaplain.  Two of the cells where they condemned men spent their final hours have been restored to the way they were during the war, complete with lavatory bucket, a few planks to sleep on and a view of the courtyard where the executions took place.  

The 16 men who stayed in these cells were then buried in Poperinge New Military Cemetery.  


Written by  Toby Bright.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

It would be appropriate if you point out that the photo does not represent the site to which your narrative refers. The site in the photo is in the UK, as you well know.

Post a comment, review or question

I want to
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?

Who's been here

No travelers have told us they have been here. Have you?

Similar Experiences

  • Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

    The very first American WW2 cemetery on European soil was established just out of Colleville-sur-Mer on the 8th of June 1944, t…

  • Bayeux Commonwealth War Cemetery

    The Bayeux Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery is the second largest Allied cemetery in Normandy after the American Cem…

  • Ranville War Cemetery

    The remains in this cemetery are mostly British: 2,151 in number, joined by 76 Canadians, five French, and one each from Austra…

Related links

Contribute to this page