We are delighted to welcome Professor Sophie de Schaepdrijver to the University of Kent to give a lecture as part of our Gateways to the First World War events programme.
"Sleep on, pale Bruges, beneath the waning moon," wrote the English bomber pilot Paul Bewsher in 1917, "For I must desecrate your silence soon." Aerial bombing in 1917-1918 would kill about 150 civilians in and around Bruges, and mutilate another 250. This Allied campaign was a response to German strategy. Bruges in 1917 was not a 'silent' city, but a base for the Marine Korps Flandern’s submarine war. Two new forms of warfare, then, confronted each other in this medium-sized Flemish city with its medieval core and its modern harbour. Bruges was close to the Western Front, but saw another face of war: that of military occupation, of being turned into a bastion for its occupiers’ war, and of becoming a target from the air as a result. The story of Bruges in the First World War is the story of a city that escaped destruction but faced violence.
This lecture is part of our event Zeebrugge: The making of a legend. Places are free but need to be pre-booked. You can book for the full event, or the lecture only, at https://zeebrugge-gateways.eventbrite.co.uk.