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.
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:-
The German practice was to bury 8 men together. These two grave markers name 16 each though. Langemark War Cemetery, Named Graves:-
Vier Unbekante Deutsche Soldaten (Four Unknown German Soldiers):-
Emil Krieger’s Mourning Soldiers Statue from the Kameraden Grab:-
Vier Unbekante Deutsche Soldaten and Nikolaus Jackel musketier, Zehn Unbekante Deutsche Soldaten (Five unknown soldiers, one named rifleman, ten unknown soldiers):-
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.” :-
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:-
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.”
Another, closer, view of Emil Krieger’s statue:-