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Seaforth Cemetery (Cheddar Villa,) Sint-Juliann, Belgium

Originally called Cheddar Villa after the name given by the army to the farm on the site this lies 5 kilometres northwest of Ypres on the N313 road leading to Bruges. It’s now called Seaforth Cemetery at the request of the Seaforth Highlanders as more than 100 of the 148 burials were from the regiment’s 2nd Battalion.

Exterior, Seaforth Cemetery St Julien, Belgium

Seaforth Cemetery, Cheddar Villa

Wall dedicated to the men of the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, 99 of whom are buried in the cemetery plus 23 others who also died in the attack on St Julien on 25/4/1915 and 25/4/1915.

Dedication Wall, Seaforth Cemetery, St Julien, Belgium

Cemetery interior:-

Seaforth Cemetery Interior

More headstones:-

Graves, Seaforth Cemetery

Most of the headstones do not mark individual graves. “The 75 non-commissioned officers and men buried in this grave are commemorated by headstones erected against the left hand wall of this cemetery.”

Memorial Stone, Seaforth Cemetery

“The18 non-commissioned officers and men buried in this grave are commemorated by headstones erected against the right hand wall of this cemetery.”

Seaforth Cemetery, Memorial Stone

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial, Oxford Road, Wieltje, Belgium

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial, Wieltje, Belgium

Close-up. The Dedication reads, “to the enduring memory of all ranks of the 50th Northumbrian Division who fell in the Great War 1914 – 1918 and in memory of their comrades of the same division who gave their lives in the war of 1939 – 1945 for the liberation of France, Belgium and Holland.” On the lowest plinth, “Pro Patria.”

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial Close-up

Side inscription, “The Ayrshire Yeomanry; the Yorkshire Hussars; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, Northumbrian Brigade, RFA; Northumbrian Amminition Column; Northumbrian Divisional Engineers, RE; 50th Divisional Train, RASC; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Northumbrian Field Ambulance, RAMC; Northumbrian Division CCS; Northumbrian Vet Section, RAVC; RAOC.”

Inscription 50th Northumbrian Division Memorial, Wieltje, Belgium

Other side inscription, “149th Infantry Brigade: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers; 5th Border Regiment.
150th Infantry Brigade; 4th East Yorks; 4th, 5th Yorkshire Regiment Green Howards; 5th Durham Light Infantry.
151st Infantry Brigade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th Durham Light Infantry; 5th Loyal North Lancs Regiment.”

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial Inscriptions

Memorial Information Board:-

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial Information Board

The view from the 50th Northumbrian Division Memorial is now so peaceful:-

View From 50th Northumbrian Division Memorial

So much so alpacas were ruminating by the memorial:-

Alpacas by 50th Northumbrian Division Memorial

Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres (Ieper,) Flanders

Essex Farm Cemetery is located on the banks of the Ypres-Yser canal by the site of the Advanced Dressing Station where Lt Col John McCrae was serving as a medical officer when he wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Fields.” I have blogged about him previously in connection with the McCrae Memorial at Eilean Donan Castle in Lochalsh, Scotland.

The cemetery contains more than 1,000 graves. Unusually for a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery its Cross of Sacrifice is located right at the entrance:-

Essex Farm Cemetery Ypres, Cross of Sacrifice

Graves from northwest:-

Graves at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

From southeast. Note Yorkshire Memorial on the canal bank:-

More Graves at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

From northeast:-

Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres, Graves

From south. Again note Yorkshire Memorial (which I shall come back to):-

Graves at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Graves from Yorkshire Memorial:-

View of Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Graves from north, Yorkshire Memorial to left:-

Graves at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

A tree trunk has grown round the gravestone of Private J MacPherson, Seaforth Highlanders, who died on 5/7/1917, aged 33:-

Commonwealth War Grave, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Symbolic of the fact they fought and died over the same ground the cemetery holds a German grave, Franz Heger, RIR, 238, 7/8/1916:-

German Grave, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Grave of Rifleman V J Strudwick, The Rifle Brigade, 14/1/1916, aged 15, said to be the youngest British Empire casualty of the Great War. (There may be some doubt about this.) It is nevertheless a focus for remembrance:-

Youngest Casualty, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

John McCrae Commemoration stone. Written in four languages, French, Flemish, English and German, with the poem itself also inscribed on the memorial along with a facsimile of the handwritten manuscript:-

John McCrae Commemoration, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

The bunkers at Essex Farm Cemetery where John McCrae worked as a medic:-

Bunkers at  Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Bunker interior:-

Interior of Bunker at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Another bunker interior:-

Another Bunker at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Bunkers, looking back up to Essex Farm Cemetery grounds:-

Bunkers at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Information board with a photograph of how the bunkers appeared during the war:-

Information Board Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Lest We Forget:-

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Rochdale Town Hall, Stained Glass

One of the striking features of Rochdale Town Hall’s interior is the stained glass windows many of which feature portraits of the Kings and Queens of England.

The windows flanking the entrance though have stained glass representations of the coats of arms of European countries, here Greece, France, Belgium, Turkey, Russia and Portugal:-

Rochdale Town Hall, Stained Glass Windows 1

The other such window betrays the building’s age. Coats of arms for Sweden & Norway, Prussia, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark and Austria. Note Sweden & Norway, as was (they separated in 1905) and Prussia which, subsumed the rest of Germany in 1871.

Stained Glass Window, Rochdale Town Hall

Grand staircase:-

Rochdale Town Hall Staircase

This is a closer view showing the stained glass window on the half-landing to greater effect.

Rochdale Town Hall, Stained Glass

Berriedale and Braemore War Memorial

This memorial is situated just off the A 9 at Berriedale (almost at the lowest point of the Berriedale Braes, a particularly hair-raising descent to and ascent from a river valley containing the Berriedale Water and the Langwell Water.)

The main aspect of the memorial faces north:-

Berriedale War Memorial

The photograph below shows the World War 2 dedication. Names on left here are for the Great War, those killed or died of wounds and – unusually – those wounded. The smaller list on right names World War 2 dead and the memorial’s architects are named at the bottom:-

Berriedale War Memorial Showing World War 2 Dedication

The memorial from the west. In another unusual touch the names on this side of the memorial are of those who served in the Great War (and presumably survived it):-

Dunbeath and Berriedale War Memorial from West

From west to north to east the pillar is surmountd by the words “Their Name Liveth Evermore” with the theatres of war Palestine, Salonika, France, Belgium, Egypt and Gallipoli, engraved towards the base.

Dedication. “Honor et Gloria. To commemorate the patriotism of the men of Berriedale and Braemore who fought on land and sea some of them giving their lives for their king and country during the Great War 1914-1918 and in thankfulness to God for the victory their valour helped to win”:-

Berriedale War Memorial Dedication

The World Turned Upside Down?

You may have noticed there’s a rather large and important football competition taking place at the moment. (A swift glance at TV schedules would be enough to tell you that.)

Four years ago I expressed my fear that a period of Germanic hegemony was upon us. Notwithstanding Portugal’s efforts at the last European Championships the young German side which triumphed at last year’s Confederations Cup boded well (or ill, according to view) for that prospect.

It seems that hegemony is not to be. In three performances of stunning inadequacy Germany have been so poor as to finish bottom of their group, only a moment of individual brilliance on the part of Toni Kroos yielding them a solitary win over Sweden.

It’s been a topsy-turvy sort of tournament what with England playing well (so far) and Argentina, like the Germans, struggling badly – but still managing to reach the second round.

I’ve not been overly impressed by anyone – though I thought Colombia looked good against Poland. But that may have been because the Poles were totally ineffective.

Brazil seem unbalanced to me; too much in thrall to their star player, Neymar, who doesn’t look fully fit. Belgium may be dark horses but haven’t played anybody of standing yet.

Judgement must be reserved till the knockout games. Too often before, a good showing in the group has unravelled at the next step.

But… Could this be Uruguay’s year again? They’re the only side yet to concede a goal.

(Cue a Portugal win on Saturday.)

St Julien Dressing Station Cemetery

Situated just by the side of the N313 road and its junction with the Felix Nadarstraat in St Julien (Sint-Juliaan,) West Flanders, Belgium, the cemetery contains 248 graves. It lies only a kilometre or so from the Canadian war memorial known as the Brooding Soldier.

Cemetery gates:-

St Julien Dressing Station Cemetery Gates

As can be inferred from the above view and this one of the graves this is yet another “corner of a foreign field”:-

St Julien Dressing Station Cemetery Graves

Menin Gate Again

On our trip to Belgium and the Netherlands last year we again visited Ypres and I took more photos of the Menin Gate.

Menin Gate from west, bathed in early evening sunlight:-

Menin Gate from West

Menin Gate from Ypres ramparts:-

Menin Gate from ramparts

Menin Gate from street:-

Menin Gate from street

Moat from Menin Gate:-

Moat from Menin Gate, Ypres

Relief Map of Ypres, situated right by the Menin Gate, on the west side:-

Relief Map of Ypres

On approaching the Menin gate from the Menin Road I noticed two statues that had not been there the year before. It turned out these had originally been at the Gate but had been presented in 1936 to the Australian War Memorial in memory of the thousands of Australians who passed through the Gate during the Great War. They had been temporarily returned in April 2017 (till November 2017) to their original location.

Lion Statues at Menin Gate

Close up on one of the lions:-

Menin Gate Lion

Menin Gate Lions information board in four languages:-

Menin Gate Lions Information Board

The information in English:-

Menin Gate Lions Information

Some corner of a foreign field…. Wieltje Farm Cemetery

Wieltje Farm Cemetery is close to Ypres (Ieper,) Flanders, Belgium, just off the N313 road. The access is up a grassed path between two houses into a field growing crops. The path continues round the edge of the field until it is at a right angle to the cemetery to which it then leads.

115 Commonwealth servicemen of the Great War are buried here along with one German.

Wietje Farm Cemetery From Access Path

Wietje Farm Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Graves and Cross of Sacrifice:-

Wietje Farm Cemetery, Graves

The German grave; Unteroffizier O Hoffmeister, R Inf R, 22/9/1917. This lies off to the left of the previous photo:-

Wietje Farm Cemetery, German Grave

Poelcapelle War Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Poelcapelle is today spelled Poelkapelle. The village is a few miles north-east of Ypres (Ieper.) The British War Cemetery (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) is by the N313 road from Bruges (Brugge) to Ypres.

Poelcapelle War Cemetery,  Belgium

I’ve been to Tyne Cot but nevertheless still gasped when I entered Poelcapelle Cemetery. There are nearly 7,500 burials here, the vast majority, 6,230, of which are “Known unto God”.

View of interior from entrance:-

Interior of Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Graves:-

Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Some of the unidentified soldiers of the Great War:-

War Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Lines of graves:-

Lines of Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance:-

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Memorial to some of those whose earlier graves were destroyed in later battles:-

Memorial Stone, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

As usual the graves are beautifully kept. A Soldier of the Great War, Known unto God and Private F J Patten, Hampshire Regiment, 4/10/17, aged 21:-

Planting, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Two Soldiers of the Great War:-

More Planting, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

There is one World War 2 grave at Poelcapelle. Private R E Mills, Royal Berkshire Regiment, 30/5/1940, aged 19:

WW 2 Grave, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance:-

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance Closer View

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