Ypres Salient map highlighting the Ypres-Yser canal area.A German soldier's account on reaching the canal

22 April 1915: 19.30

In a letter from the front a German soldier wrote of his joy at finally reaching the canal. Presumably he was in a position close to the canal and he is referring to the spray from the canal as shells splashed into the water:

“At last, that which we have longed for day by day has come true; at last we have succeeded. We have crossed the Yser Canal and established a base on the other side. Far enough away from the miserable waterway, which over the past months has so often brought us almost to the point of desperation. Not to have to see the canal, not to have to listen to the splash of the yellow-brown clay, which used to spray over us and soak us to the skin even on days when there was a gentle breeze...”

On reaching the canal itself, and wondering how he would be able to cross it, he was amazed to find that the bridging company pioneers had already constructed a pontoon style bridge for the infantry to use. He also commented:

“... dozens of barges were ready and waiting to cross the canal, and the water was already crowded with men swimming across holding their rifles out of the water ...” (1)

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(1) Der Völkerkrieg, V. Band, p. 172-3