This guide to the battlefields of Ypres is intended for both the casual tourist and the serious scholar. Sanctuary Wood and the village of Hooge saw intense fighting during World War I, being situated for much of the time in the front line of the notorious Ypres Salient. Beginning at the museum at the wood itself, the book takes the reader on an explanatory tour of the immediate area, which includes the neighbouring British cemetery. Text and supporting photographs help to explain the significance of individual burials, such as that of the German aviator, Hans Roser, the victim of an air battle with the Royal Flying Corps pilot, Lance Hawker, who for his exploits in this action and others on the same day was awarded the first VC for aerial combat. Between May and September 1915, Hooge was rarely out of the newspapers, and the fierce battles that took place here - including the first use of the dreaded "Flamenwerfer" against British troops - are described in a series of chapters supported by maps and contemporary accounts. Also recounted are the exploits of Canadian troops in June 1916, when valuable ground was lost and almost immediately recaptured.
(In one incident, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry came very close to losing their regimental colour to the Germans.) Rather less violent, but typical aspects of World War I life are covered with sections of a trench raid (1918) and the usual routine of an engineer officer in the trenches. The guide directs readers to view certain areas and explains what they would be seeing more than 70 years ago - whether it would be the British or German lines. Names that were given to geographical features at the time of the fighting are explained, together with military terms and methods of operation.