Chapeau Rouge, Tour Start
The tour starts at the crossroads at Chapeau Rouge. Major Charrier, commander of the Munsters, had prepared defensive positions all around the Chapeau Rouge crossroads with the B and D companies. On the 26th August, 1914, there was fierce hand-to-hand fighting with the advancing Germans before the withdrawal of the Allies.
If you are driving, park in the car park behind the Chapeau Rouge Café Restaurant. As you emerge from the car park, immediately in front of you is the crossroads of the D643 and D934.
The obvious and direct route to Etreux and the ultimate intended destination of Guise is south along the D946, however, the retreating troops chose not to take this road, possibly because it was too exposed. Instead they headed south east along the D643 in the direction of La Capelle. We shall follow their route but before we do, take a good look at the monument across the D934 from the Chapeau Rouge Café Restaurant. Take time to read the inscriptions and the texts with references to the events which took place at this very spot in 1914 and again four years later in 1918. The beginning and end of the entire WW1 happened right near to this spot. Quite amazing.
Views of Chapeau Rouge Memorial
Before you leave, if it is open go across to the Chapeau Rouge Café Restaurant for a coffee and a croissant.
We will follow the withdraw route. Leave the car park in the direction of the crossroads and take the D643 over the crossroads into Route du Chapeau Rouge and signposted Charville – Mezieres. The first turning on the right, a short distance away, is sign posted Fesmy-le-Sart. If you look at the military drawing you will see that located just left of the junction towards Le Sart, was the HQ. At this point on one side of D643 were half of C company and the Royal Munster Fusiliers (RMF) on the other side. The other half of C company was positioned at Bergues.