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Langemark German Military Cemetery (ii)

In the first battle of Ypres more than 3,000 not well trained volunteers were thrown into the German attacks and did not leave again so their final resting place is in Langemark. The cemetery is sometimes called the Studentenfriedhof (Student Cemetery) as there was a large number of (school) students among them. A board fills one wall of the entrance building with their names.

Deutsche Studentenschaft Names

Unlike the upright Commonwealth War Graves markers the German ones are rectangular slabs laid flat on the ground. I have seen German war graves before, at Bayeux and Beauvais, so was prepared for that, but those were for World War 2 dead and the feelings engendered by them were more conflicted.

There was something sombre about the arrays in Langemark. The grass was being regenerated after poor weather so at our time of visiting we there was no access to individual graves but from the fence it was possible to take photographs. Langemark War Cemetery, Graves:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Graves

The German practice was to bury 8 men together. These two grave markers name 16 each though. Langemark War Cemetery, Named Graves:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Named Grave

Langemark War Cemetery, Grave

Vier Unbekante Deutsche Soldaten (Four Unknown German Soldiers):-

Langemark War Cemetery Grave

Emil Krieger’s Mourning Soldiers Statue from the Kameraden Grab:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Mourning Soldiers

Vier Unbekante Deutsche Soldaten and Nikolaus Jackel musketier, Zehn Unbekante Deutsche Soldaten (Five unknown soldiers, one named rifleman, ten unknown soldiers):-

Langemark War Cemetery, Communal Grave

Langemark War Cemetery, Stone Wreath. The inscription (from Isaiah 43:1) reads “Ich habe dich bei deinem namen gerufen, du bisst mein.” “I have called your name, you are mine.” :-

Langemark War Cemetery, Stone Wreath

Like the cemetery in Beauvais which had few visitors from Germany – few visitors at all (and which I felt bad about not signing the book as I had come across that one by accident and had no pen with me) – not many Germans seem to visit Langemark. (Bayeux was a mainly British/Commonwealth Cemetery with German graves set to one side of it.) I did sign the book at Langemark. However all the tributes surrounding the stone wreath in the picture above seemed to have been laid by British school visitors.

Langemark War Cemetery, Basalt Crosses, Graves:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Basalt Crosses, Graves

A series of blocks with German words on them snakes through the northern part of the cemetery. These, I think, commemorate the companies of students who were killed here during the first Battle of Ypres. This block says “Rothenburger Verband Schwarzer Schlagender Verbindungen.

Langemark War Cemetery, Inscribed Block

Another, closer, view of Emil Krieger’s statue:-

Mourning Soldiers, Langemark War Cemetery

Langemark German Military Cemetery (i)

Just outside the town of Langemark (formerly Langemarck) in the municipality of Langemark-Poelkapelle, West Flanders, Belgium, lies a German War Cemetery which contains the bodies of more than 44,000 soldiers including the German air ace Werner Voss and two British soldiers who died in 1918. Many of the smaller German war cemeteries in this part of Belgium were consolidated into larger ones such as Langemark in the 1950s.

Langemarck village (as it was then) was the site of the first German gas attack in April 1915.

Stone by Langemark War Cemetery entrance. The five crosses design is the motif of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, the German war graves commission:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Stone by Entrance

Langemark War Cemetery Entrance:-

Langemark War Cemetery Entrance

Volksbund plaque inside entrance building:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Volksbund Plaque

This basalt cross is at the cemetery’s corner by the path from the car park to the entrance. Blockhouses can be seen in the cemetery’s interior:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Basalt Cross

Blockhouses and graves from cemetery exterior:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Surround, Blockhouses and Graves

On a series of basalt blocks in the area just behind the cemetery’s entrance are engraved the names of those known soldiers who are buried in the mass grave here, known as the Comrade’s Grave (Kameraden Grab.) The plaque on this first one commemorates British Privates A Carlisle, Loyal North Lancs Regiment and L H Lockley, Seaforth Highlanders:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Basalt Block

Names of some of the known soldiers in the Kameraden Grab. There are 68 bronze panels of these names:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Basalt Block

Langemark War Cemetery, Statues. When we visited this grouping was set behind the entrance building though previously it had been moved from there to the cemetery’s rear boundary. It was designed by Emil Krieger who gained his inspiration from a photograph of mourning German soldiers taken in 1918:-

Langemark War Cemetery, Statues

Tyne Cot Cemetery (iii) The Memorial Wall

View towards Memorial Wall:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, View Towards Memorial Wall

The northern wall of Tyne Cot Cemetery is a sweeping curve. On it are engraved the names of those soldiers of the British Empire who died in the Ypres Salient after 15/8/1917 as it was found that on completion the Menin Gate was not large enough to contain all the names from the Ypres battles.

The Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing contains 33,783 names of soldiers of the UK forces, plus a further 1,176 New Zealanders (stitch of two photos):-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Memorial Wall

West End of Memorial Wall:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery West End of Memorial Wall

Cross of Sacrifice and Graves, with Memorial Wall to right:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Memorial Wall, Graves and Cross

A central apse in the main Memorial Wall is dedicated solely to soldiers from New Zealand:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Inset into Memorial Wall

New Zealanders Memorial Dedication:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, New Zealanders Memorial

Tyne Cot Cemetery (ii)

On the path from the car park to the cemetery lie three regimental memorials.

Bedfordshire Regiment:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Bedfordshire Regiment Memorial

King’s Own Light Yorkshire Infantry Memorial:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, King's Own Light Yorkshire Infantry Memorial

Sherwood Foresters Memorial:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Sherwood Foresters Memorial

These now peaceful fields lie across the road from the cemetery entrance. The gentle slope down towards Ypres and which gave the Germans an uninterrupted view of activity in and behind the British lines can just be discerned:-

View of Fields from Tyne Cot Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and graves:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Graves and Cross Of Sacrifice

Tyne Cot Cemetery (i)

The cemetery is in numbers of burials now the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. It is located 9 km north-east of Ypres (Ieper) town centre, on the Tynecotstraat, a road leading from the Zonnebeekseweg. Its name derives from the nickname (Tyne Cottage) given to a German blockhouse by the Northumberland Fusiliers.

11,962 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War are buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot Cemetery. 8,374 are unidentified. In addition there are four German dead only one of whose identities is known.


Entrance to Tyne Cot Cemetery

It was said to be the idea of King George V, who visited the cemetery in 1922, to erect the cross above the remains of a German pill box at the centre of the cemetery, a remnant of which was left uncovered by the white stone (centre here):-

Cross of Sacrifice and Blockhouse close

Remnant of pillbox. The inscription reads, “This was the Tyne Cot Blockhouse captured by the Australian Division 4th October 1917:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Remnant of Tyne Cottage Blockhouse

A further blockhouse incorporated into the cemetery is surrounded by graves:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery Graves and Remains of Blockhouse

Central area:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery Central Area

Cemetery from North-west corner:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery from North-west Corner

Graves containing the remains of several men:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Group Graves

A Jewish grave. It is unusual for a Commonwealth War Grave stone to indicate a religion:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Jewish grave

Aberfeldy War Memorial

An unusual memorial in the form of an arch which gives onto a path leading from the town to the local beauty spot the Birks.

Aberfeldy War Memorial

The left hand side of the arch is inscribed “For King and Country” in English. 1939-45 names are on the lower plaque.

Aberfeldy, War Memorial, English

The right hand side of the arch is inscribed in Gaelic “Air Son Righ Us Duthaich.” Again 1939-45 names are on the lower plaque.

Aberfeldy, War Memorial, Gaelic

In Memoriam

The Battle of the Somme began 100 years ago today. That first day saw the British Army suffer 57,470 casualties, its greatest ever one day loss in battle.* 19,240 of these were killed. Overall the battle (really a series of battles) lasted for four and a half months and resulted in 1.120-1.215 million casualties over both sides. Only the Russian Front battles of the Second World War were bloodier.

Like the Ypres Salient, the countryside where the battle(s) took place is dotted with Commonwealth War Cemeteries.

There is a particularly striking memorial at Newfoundland Memorial Park, Beaumont Hamel, in the form of a caribou.

Newfoundland Memorial Park, Beaumont Hamel

Newfoundland Memorial Park, Beaumont Hamel

The names of the British army dead who remained missing are engraved on the walls of the towering Memorial at Thiepval.

Thiepval Memorial

Visiting Thiepval is as sobering an experience as the Menin Gate.

The bagpipe tune below was composed by William Laurie who fought at the Somme. He was Pipe Major of the 8th Argyllshire Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Higlanders. He became ill as a result of trench conditions and died on Nov 28th 1916.

To all who fought:-

The Battle of the Somme

*More personnel (80,000) were lost by surrender at the Fall of Singapore in 1942.

The Price of Sovereignty

This is where division in and, in the UK’s case, from Europe leads:-

Graves and Memorial Cross, Tyne Cot Cemetery
Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeeke, Belgium

German War Graves, Langemark, Belgium
Langemark War Cemetery, Langemark-Poelkapelle, Belgium

Ypres War Memorial

Is situated on Coomansstraat just beyond the Cloth Hall, the road leading to the square dominated by Saint Martin’s Cathedral.

Ypres War Memorial

It is dedicated to all citzens of Ypres killed in the World Wars 1914-18 and 1939-45.

Ypres War Memorial Dedication

It lies within a small memorial garden:-

Ypres War Memorial

Just to the left of the main Memorial as you look at it is this one to the members of the Belgian Field Artillery incorporated into the British Army from 17/5/1915 to 17/5/1917 (when the unit was disbanded) who died in the defence of the Ypres Salient:-

Ypres War Memorial Separate Plaque

Menin Road South Cemetery

The cemetery is well inside the boundaries of Ypres/Ieper and lies on the edge of the Menin Road. It contains the remains of 1,657 soldiers of whom 118 are unidentified but 24 of these are known or believed to be buried here.

Menin Road South Cemetery

This view from the east shows the Stone of Remembrance, the Cross of Sacrifice and (at the western end) the shelter building containing the cemetery register:-

Menin Road South Cemetery, View from West

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