Archives » Ypres

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.

Lybster War Memorial

Lybster is a village on the A 99 in Caithness about 13 miles south of Wick.

Its War Memorial is a granite obelisk situated on the east side of the road. Dedicated to “the men of Lybster and Swiney who fell in the Great European War and the Great World War”:-

War Memorial, Lybster

Reverse of Lybster War Memorial. World War 2 dedication. Upper list is of World War 2 names, the lower is for the Great War:-

Reverse of Lybster War Memorial

Close-up on names. The obelisk is aslo inscribed with the names of Great War battle scenes, Paschendaele, Beaumont Hamel, Ostend, Festubert, Vimy, Neuve Chapelle, Somme, Zeebrugge, Cambrai, Peronne, Jutland, Marne, Mons, Ypres, Loos.

War Memorial, Lybster Great War Names

Lybster War Memorial, Names

On the wall behind the memorial is a plaque commemorating the village’s founder:-

Plaque for Village Founder, Lybster

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

War Graves

I was sad to hear on the news today and read in the Guardian that the Imperial War Graves Commission* failed to ensure that African or Indian servicemen of the Empire in the Great War were accorded the same treatment in death as those from the UK and the Dominions.

I can’t say however that I was very surprised – a clue is in the name: Imperial War Graves Commission.

It’s no excuse for the behaviour of those in charge but the times were different and the attitudes of the powers that were were very unenlightened compared to those that I hope would apply now.

Again, there’s no excuse but it may have been a non-Western Front ruling. There are certainly individual graves of Maori soldiers at Birr Cross Roads Cemetery near Ypres. But New Zealand was of course a Dominion not a colony. (I also remember seeing somewhere a headstone for a Chinese member of the Labour Battalion but not which cemetery his grave was in.)

There are of course collective memorials to Nepalese and Indian soldiers at the Menin Gate as well as names of individual Burmese and Indian soldiers on the building itself.

However, it was and is deplorable that non-white servicemen were at any time not accorded the respect that was – and still is – their due.

*The name was later changed to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Stonehaven and Dunnottar War Memorial (i)

Stonehaven War Memorial sits prominently on Black Hill to the south of the town and is also visible from Dunnottar Castle. The winding path from the castle takes you towards Stonehaven and partly up Black Hill from where you can access the Memorial grounds.

View of Memorial from path leading from Dunnittar Castle:-

Stonehaven War Memorial from South

Stonehaven from Stonehaven War Memorial:-

Stonehaven from Stonehaven War Memorial

Memorial from west as seen from the road back to Dunnottar Castle:-

Stonehaven War Memorial from West

An information board says the memorial was deliberately designed to look like a ruin to symbolise the lives cut short by the Great War:-

Information Board, Stonehaven War Memorial

Stonehaven War Memorial from north:-

War Memorial, Stonehaven

The external lintels are inscribed with the names of Great War battles, here Jutland, Mons, Ypres:-

Stonehaven War Memorial

From south, Zeebrugge, Gallipoli, Jutland:-

War Memorial, Stonehaven

From southwest, Marne, Zeebrugge:-

Stonehaven War Memorial

From west, Vimy, Somme, Marne:-

War Memorial, Stonehaven

From northwest, Mons, Ypres:-

War Memorial Stonehaven

Rye, East Sussex

Rye has a long history. It was once a seaport but the sea has long retreated/silted up.

The older part of the town lies on a hill above the coastal plain. One of the approaches still retains the ancient Landgate:-

Landgate, Rye

Closer view:-

Rye Gates, East Sussex

View down towards gate from higher up the hill:-

The Landgate, Rye, East Sussex

Another very old building is the Ypres Tower/Rye Castle which now houses a museum. The tower has nothing to do with the Belgian town of the same name. It once belonged to a cloth merchant, Jean d’Ypres, and the name has stuck.

Ypres Tower, Rye, East Sussex

Ypres Tower, Rye

Ypres Tower, Rye, East Sussex

There is an old pair of stocks still standing just outside the east end of the Tower:-

Ypres Tower , (stocks), Rye, East Sussex

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”:-

free hit counter script