Moorslede-Dadizele-Slypskapelle

In late September 1914, the first refugees arrived in Moorslede. They found shelter in a school. Shortly thereafter, on Schuwe Maandag, the German army took Moorslede, Dadizele and Slijpskapelle by force. Civilians fled the area in droves. 

Moorslede and Dadizele were located close to the front line. Both municipalities were evacuated on a number of occasions when conditions had become too dangerous for civilians. Most of them relocated to the city of Roeselare, which was at a safe distance from the front. During the first evacuation, nuns received permission to stay behind to attend to the ill and the wounded. As the fighting on the war front continued, injured soldiers continued to arrive in the area. To accommodate them, the Dadizele basilica was repurposed as a military hospital. 

The repeated shootouts inflicted substantial material damage on Moorslede, Dadizele and Slijpskapelle. Especially the churches were a popular target for artillery fire. The municipalities also suffered during the Third Battle of Ypres and the final offensive, causing the last remaining residents to flee their homes. In 1918, the government called on the population to return to their communities, but those who returned to the Moorslede-region in late October 1918 could hardly believe their eyes. The village was in ruins, littered with corpses and swarming with vermin. No one could imagine that anyone would ever live and work there again. The appointed forced labourers built the first barracks. The reconstruction had begun.