Article Index

CHAPTER 2 focuses on the famous breweries at Frelinghien on the Lys. Yes, there were two!

The one familiar to British readers was the Lutun Brewery (Südbrauerei) at the southern end of the village, which was stormed by the Saxons in a daring operation supported by heavy Minenwerfers on 26th October 1914. It subsequently lay right behind the Saxon front-line trench system, and it is believed to have been the source of the (none too palatable) beer donated to 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers during the Christmas Truce.

The Nordbrauerei lay directly beside the Lys bridge in Frelinghien village, and accommodated large quantities of reserves in its massive and solidly constructed cellars.

Both breweries were developed into formidable strongpoints which anchored the centre of the XIX. Armeekorps front opposite Armentières. For a time, this picturesque and unusual section of the line even became a 'tourist attraction' for journalists, foreign military observers and politicians, directly equivalent to the British 'tourist line' at Ploegsteert Wood. As illustrated in the book, the breweries also had a wider impact on trench construction elsewhere in the sector - as a source of unusual and distinctive building materials.

The Nordbrauerei at Frelinghien on the Lys

Above: Taken looking south from the west (Belgian) bank, this photo shows the massive bulk of the Nordbrauerei, the demolished civilian bridge over the Lys and the carefully screened footbridge created by the Saxon engineers of 2. Kgl. Sächs. Pionier-Bataillon Nr.22. This was the route taken by the infantry when moving up from the capacious shell-proof cellars of the brewery to the front line at Le Touquet.

For King and Kaiser - sample pages

Above: Sample pages from For King and Kaiser (chapter 2).