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

Zonnebeeke War Memorial

Zonnebeeke is in Flanders, Belgium, just west-north-west of Ypres. We passed through it on the way to Tyne Cot and Langemark War Cemeteries.

I had stopped to photgraph a distinctive building in the town (more of which later) and this War Memorial was on the same crossroads.

I could only see the date 1940 on it but Belgian soldiers from Zonnebeeke certainly died in the Great War.

Zonnebeke War Memorial

Canadian War Memorial St Julien, West Flanders

This is commonly called the Brooding Soldier:-

Canadian War Memorial, Saint-Julien

Sited on Vancouver Corner about a mile south-east of Langemark-Poelkapelle near Saint-Julien (Sint-Juliaan in Flemish,) it marks the spot where the first large-scale gas attack on the Western Front was launched by the Germans on 22nd April 1915. It sits in a beautifully kept memorial garden. The trees are apparently deliberately trimmed into the shape of artillery shells.

The Brooding Soldier Dedication Plaque

View from within the gardens:-

The Brooding Soldier Memorial Gardens

Closer view:-

The Brooding Soldier

Head detail. Stunning:-

aThe Brooding Soldier Monument Detail

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

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