I forgot to mention that I learned something about the old town hall in Houplines.
Apparently, it was near an advanced dressing station in an old brewery by the river Lys.
According to a diary of a medical officer I found, by 1914 the windows of most of the buildings in that sector were already blown out. Apparently Houplines was something of a buffer zone between the front and Armentieres. Sad to think that entire villages were used as shell traps. With that in mind, I’m unsure as to how far gone the town hall would have been by the spring of 1915, when (if the buds on the trees are any indication) I probably saw the place.
Also, the fact that it was a landmark on the main road near an advanced dressing station makes sense. I imagine even non-wounded soldiers would have been in and out of these stations checking on comrades or helping ambulance crews, and it’s entirely possible (actually, probable) that before the fatal shot or shell I may have gotten some wounds that weren’t quite bad enough to be “a Blighty one.” One way or another, I almost certainly would have seen the old town hall at Houplines as bullets and shells chipped away at it.