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Commonwealth War Graves, Ypres Town Cemetery. Lest We Forget

Ypres Town Cemetery sits beside the Menin Road, not far from the Menin Gate in Ieper, (Ypres) Belgium.

It contains a number of Commonwealth War Graves of Great War dead.

I noted that these were all casualties from 1914. They were no doubt interred here since at that time there was no Commonwealth War Graves Commission to oversee the burials and these would have been done on an ad hoc basis. After the war they will have been given the honour of a CWGC headstone.

Commonwealth War Graves, Ypres Civil Cemetery

Commonwealth War Graves, Ypres Town Cemeery

Reverse view of above:-

Ypres Twon Cemetery, Commonwealth War Graves

Several graves lay close together. Cpt Robert Giffard, Royal Field Artillery, 1/11/1914. Cpt A A L Stephen, DSO, Scots Guards, 31/10/1914. Cpt & Adjt W H Ferrar, Welch Regiment, 31/10/1914:-

agraves 3

2nd Lt J A Tucker, Royal Field Artillery, 1/11/1914. Cpt G P Shedden, Royal Garrison Artillery, 31/10/1914. Cpt J F Allen, Loyal North Lancs Regt, 5/11/1914 aged 32:-

Three Commonwealth War Graves, Yores Town Cemetery

Captain Shedden’s grave is unusual in having a separate memorial stone cross behind the CWGC one. This may have been erected by his family before the CWGC headstone and is probably only there because the cemetery is not in the care of the CWGC, where all headstones are the same shape and, beyond wording carved into the bottom of the stone, such individual commemorations are not allowed.

Exhibits at Hill 62 Trenches Museum, Sanctuary Wood

Hill 62 Trences museum is on Canadalaan near Ypres (Ieper.) I previously posted on its external exhibits and the trenches on Armistice Day.

The first two here are not typical of German commemoration markers.

German Grave Cross:-

German Grave Cross, Hill 62 Museum

German Gravestone (inscribed Fried Her Lander):-

German Gravestone, Hill 62 Museum

This is in the more usual German commemorative style. German Headstone (inscribed H Langer and F Schrobsdorf):-

German Headstone, Hill 62 Museum

German Wooden Memorial:-

German Wooden Memorial, Hill 62 Museum

Engine Part:-

Aero Engine Part, Hill 62 Museum

Model Tanks and Poilu Bugler:-

Model Tanks and Poilu, Hill 62 Museum

Mortars, Grenade Launchers Etc:-

Mortars, Grenade Launchers Etc

Trench Mortars:-

Trench Mortars etc

Wartime Poster in suppport of Serbia:-

Wartime Poster, Hill 62 Museum

Memorial tributes:-

Memorial Tributes, Hill 62 Museum

Trench Art Windmill:-

Trench Art Windmill, Hill 62 Museum

Hill 62 Trenches Museum, Sanctuary Wood, Near Ypres

The museum is situated on the Canadalaan off the Menin Road, near Ypres (Ieper,) Belgium. I have mentioned Canadalaan before, here and here.

The board describes the museum as a Museum Tranchées (Trenches Museum.)

Two field guns flank the museum’s frontage:-

Gun Outside Hill 62 Museum, Sanctaury Wood, Near Ypres, Belgium

Sanctuary Wood Museum Gun

The museum building contains many relics of the Great War but its main interest is a set of relatively well-preserved trenches to the rear of the building where the trees of Sanctuary Wood have returned.

These supports for barbed wire lean against the back of the building:-

Barbed Wire Supports, Hill 62 Museum

View of Trenches:-

View of Trenches, Hill 62 Museum, Sanctuary Wood

Derelict aero engines and shell craters:-

Craters, Hill 62 Museum

More craters:-

Hill 62 Museum Craters + Trees 1

Craters, Hill 62 Museum

Trench line:-

Trench Line, Hill 62 Museum

More trenches:-

More Trenches, Hill 62 Museum

Further Trenches at Hill 62 Museum

More Hill 62 Trenches

Trench Zigzag, Hill 62 Museumline 5

View Into Trench, Hill 62 Museum

Trenches, Hill 62 Museum

Hill 62 Museum Trenches

Trenchworks, Hill 62 Museum

A dugout:-

A Dugout, Hill 62 Museum

Trench mortar and trenches:-

Hill 62 Museum, Mortar and Trenches

Tunnel entrance:-

Tunnel Entrance, Hill 62 Museum

Part of tunnel:-

Tunnel, Hill 62 Museum

Tunnel exit:-

Hill 62 Museum Tunnel Exit

Hill 62 Canadian (Sanctuary Wood) Memorial near Ypres

This memorial lies at the end of Canadalaan (see here) and commemorates the efforts of the Candian Corps in defending the southern parts of the Ypres salient during 1916. Information about the memorial and the battles fought there is here.

The memorial garden lies on a small plateau hidden as you walk up to it by a wall on which is situated this plaque:-

Canada Plaque on Wall Below Hill 62 Canadian Memorial

The memorial:-

Hill 62 Canadian Memorial, near Ypres

Approach steps, here seen from the memorial side:-

Hill 62 Canadian Memorial, near Ypres


Carving on Hill 62 Canadian Memorial

The memorial lies on Hill 62, though, not on Mount Sorrel:-

Dedication Hill 62 Canadian Memorial

Looking east from the memorial:-

Looking East from Canadian Hill 62 Memorial

Looking south. Such peaceful countryside now:-

Looking South from Hill 62 Canadian Memorial, near Ypres

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery (Lest We Forget)

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery is one of the many Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission cemeteries that lie in the countryside around Ypres (Ieper) in Belgium.

It lies near T’Hooghe (Hooge) off the Canadalaan (Canada Lane) itself coming off the Meenseweg (the Menin Road of dreadful memory.) Buried or commemorated in the cemetery are 1,989 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War of whom 1,348 are unidentified. For information about the cemetery see here.

I note from the link that this cemetery is the resting place (in Plot IV. D. 14) of Captain Robert Frederick Balfour, 1st Battalion Scots Guards who died on 28th October 1914, aged 31. He was the son of Edward Balfour, of “Balbirnie,” Markinch, Fife. I live a couple of hundred yards or so from the Balfours’ former home, Balbirnie House.

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery entrance:-

Entrance, Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, Hooge, near Ypres

Stone of Remembrance and Cross of Sacrifice from entrance:-

Stone of Remembrance and Cross Sacrifice, Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

Information board:-

Information Board, Sanctuary Wood Cemetery


Graves, Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

Graves from south:-

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery Graves from South

I found one German War grave in the cemetery, Flieg Hauptmann Hans Roser, F Fliegerabt 3, 25/7/1915:-

German War Grave, Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

Just outside Sanctuary Wood Cemetery there is a private memorial in memory of Keith Rae, 2nd Lieutenant, 8th Battalion the Rifle Brigade, “who died on this spot, 30/7/1915, in his 26th year.” “Also in memory of his brother officers and men who fell on the same morning and afternoon.”

No individual memorials were/are allowed inside Imperial/Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries. Whatever their differences in life (not least in military rank) in death it was decided that all should be treated equally, with identical headstones. Apart from name rank, number and their regimental insignia (and a special marking in the shape of that award if the deceased had won a Victoria Cross) only an inscription chosen by the deceased’s family and situated to the bottom of the headstone distinguishes one from another.

I presume this memorial was allowed by the Belgian authorities since it lies beyond Sanctuary Wood Cemetery’s boundaries:-

Private Memorial Outside Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

Hellfire Corner, Menin Road, Ypres

Just down the Menin Road from Birr Cross Roads Cemetery lies what was once the most dangerous place on Earth. The Great War’s Hellfire Corner is now the site of a roundabout on the outskirts of Ypres.

Hellfire Corner, Ypres, From East

Hellfire Corner From North

Hellfire Corner From South

Hellfire Corner From West

Like most of the countryside around Ypres it’s relatively peaceful now (apart from traffic) but during the Great War the corner was a cross-roads over which troops going up to the front line of the Menin Road had to pass, running the gauntlet of German artillery zeroed-in on the site.

I found these videos online showing the canvas screens erected to obscure the view of the German observers as well as how the corner looks today:-

The voice-over artist on this one pronounces Hooge (Hooghe) as “Hooj”. I’m sure it’s really “Hoo-gih”:-

Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, Belgium

Birr Cross Roads Cemetery lies on the Menin Road just east of Ypres/Ieper. One of the many Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries surrounding the city.

The cemetery contains 834 burials, 330 of whom are unidentified casualties. There are 504 identified casualties; from the United Kingdom (375,) Australia (115,) New Zealand (9,) Canada (4) and one Belgian.

From Menin Road. Cross of Sacrifice to right of centre, Stone of Remembrance to left of gates:-

Birr Cross Roads Cemetery from Menin Road

Soldiers of the Great War:-

Graves, Birr Cross Roads Cemetery,

The Belgian grave is of an interpreter to the British Army. It is inscribed, “A la Memoire de De Wattine Camille, L E, Sergent de l’Armee Belge, interprete a l’Armee Britannique. Mort pour la Belgique, la 29 Septembre 1918.” (In memory of De Wattine Camille, L E, Sergeant, Belgian Army, interpreter to the British Army. Died for Belgium, 29/9/1918):-

Grave of an Interpreter, Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, Near Ypres

The nine New Zealanders there include five soldiers from the Maori Battalion.

Corporal W M Karena, New Zealand Maori Battalion, 30/11/1917 and Private H Kanaru, New Zealand Maori Battalion, 30/11/1917:-

Maori Graves, Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, Belgium

Private H R Kereama, New Zealand Maori Battalion, 7/12/1917, aged 26 and Private M Hapuku, New Zealand Maori Battalion, 30/11/1917:-

More Maori Graves, Birr Cross Roads Cemetery

Private H M Power, New Zealand Maori Battalion, 7/12/1917, aged 22:-

New Zealand Maori Battalion Grave, Birr Cross Roads Cemetery, near Ypres

Yorkshire Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres, Flanders

Yorkshire Memorial from Essex Farm Cemetery. The memorial overlooks the Ypres-Yser canal:-

Yorkshire Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Closer View. Inscription reads “XLIX West Riding Division 1915 1918.”

Yorkshire Memorial Essex Farm Cemetery Closer View

Dedication, “To the memory of all ranks of the 49th West Riding Division who gave their lives for King and Country in the Great War 1914 1918.”

Dedication,Yorkshire Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery

1915, 1916 and 1917 Battle Honours:-

Yorkshire Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery, 1915, 1916 and 1917 Battle Honours

1917 1918 Battle Honours:-

Yorkshire Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery 1917 1918 Battle Honours

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.

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

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