The fortress des Dunes (1878-1880) served during operation Dynamo (1940) as headquarters of the 12e Division d'Infanterie Motorisée. Between 2 and 3 June 1940, the fortress was bombed by Stuka's and artillery. A great number of French soldiers perished among whom General Guillaume Janssen. They are currently buried at the French "Fort des Dunes" war cemetery.
During the German occupation, a radar installation of the type Würzburg See Reise Fumo 21 was placed on top of the fortress. The military barracks served as stocking place for the submarine base of Dunkirk's harbour. On 6 September 1944, eight French resistance members were shot at the fortress. In May 1945, fortress des Dunes held 10.000 German POW's.
The fort today:
It is currently a museum. Two plaques are placed near the entrance of the fortress.
The inscription on the first plaque reads:
"A la memoire du general Janssen des officiers sous-officiers et soldats de la 12de division d'infanterie motorisee tombes a leur poste de combat au fort des Dunes les 2 et 3 juin 1940."
The inscription on the second plaque reads:
"A la memoire des huit resistans Francais victimes de Nazisme fusilles le 6 septembre 1944 dans ce fosse de fort des Dunes.
Marcel Reynaert - 46 ans.
Roger Reynaert - 21 ans.
Elisee Willaert - 22 ans.
Robert Vangheluwe - 22 ans.
Georges Claeyman - 32 ans.
Vincent Dewaele - 22 ans.
Henri Gadeyne - 18 ans.
Daniel Decroos - 20 ans.
Passants souvenez vous de leur sacrifice pour la patrie."
For current visiting hours, please visit the website of the museum.
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- Text: Kaj Metz
- Photos: Anneke Moerenhout