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BEDFORD HOUSE CEMETERY



The Chateau Rosendal stood on the site of the cemetery. It was a country house in a wooded, moated park. The house and wood have gone but the moat and some ruins remain. The chateau was taken over by the British early in the war and was used as a brigade headquarters with Field Ambulances and Advanced Dressing Stations located in the cellars. It was called Woodcote House on British maps. By the end of the war there were five enclosures and was enlarged the with concentration of graves after the Armistice. The front line ran through the cemetery following the German advance in 1918.

Of the five enclosures, the graves in No.1 were moved to the White House Cemetery, St Jan, and No.5 was moved to Aeroplane Cemetery.


Enclosure No.2 was used from December 1915 to October 1918 and was enlarged following the Armistice to allow for the concentration of graves from the Ecole de Bienfaisance, this was located on the south side of the Menin Road in the grounds of a large school, and Asylum Cemeteries, the Asylum cemetery was located on the Ypres – Poperinghe Road and the Asylum was used as an ADS from 1915 to 1917, was the largest concentrated into Bedford House with 283 men reinterred at Bedford House cemetery. There are two Special Memorials to men whose graves were destroyed by artillery shellfire.


Enclosure No.3 is the smallest and was used from February 1915 to December 1916. One Belgian soldier was removed and there are twenty-two men of the 7th Battalion, East Yorkshires, 50th Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division.


Enclosure No.4 is the largest and was used, mainly by the 47th (2nd London) Division from June 1916 to February 1918. After the Armistice it was used for the concentration of 3,300 graves and there are also twenty-five Special Memorials to men Believed To Be Buried here and a further twenty-five to men whose graves were lost in cemeteries that were concentrated here. There are two Canadian brothers buried here. Grave I.P.3 Private G Hamilton and Grave I.K.12 Private S Hamilton. Both served with the 21st Battalion Canadian Infantry and were killed at Mount Sorrel on 14 June 1916.


Interestingly, Enclosure No.6 was discovered after the War and most of the graves are unidentified.


Cemetery Location

Bedford House Cemetery is located south of Ieper on the road to St Eloi and is 1.1km south of Shrapnel Corner.


Cemeteries concentrated here

There were six cemeteries concentrated at Bedford House:


Asylum Cemetery, this was located in the grounds of the mental hospital on the Poperinge Road. It was used between February 1915 to November 1917, there were 265 British, 9 Canadian, 7 Australian, and two British West Indies Regiment graves. Boesinghe French Cemetery No.2, this was located to the south of Bard Cottage and contained one British grave. Droogenbroodhoek German Cemetery, Moorslede, one British grave from October 1914.Ecole de Bienfaisance, Ypres, located on the north side of the Poperinge Road near the Asylum. It contained 133 British, 3 Canadian, 3 Australian and one British West Indies Regiment. It was in use from 1915 to 1917. Kerkhove Churchyard had five British and seven German graves. They were all casualties from the fighting in October and November 1918. Poelcappelle German Cemetery No.4, this was located on the St Julien Road and held 52 British casualties from 1914 to 1916.


Shot at Dawn


Private Frederick Turner, age 31, volunteered in 1914 to serve in the Territorial Battalion 1/6th Northumbrian Fusiliers, 149th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division. He was wounded on 11 September 1916. The battalion was in the line in the Arras sector when he deserted in August 1917. He was captured but escaped and was then recaptured, he was in a first class compartment of a train heading to Calais when the police entered his carriage.


His battalion had moved to the Ypres Salient where he faced the charge of desertion. He entered a plea that he was suffering from acute depression and that he had not had any leave for 20 months. He was executed on 23 October 1917. His headstone carries an epitaph that supports the plea he made at his court martial:


‘I came to Jesus as I was weary and worn and sad I found in him a resting place.’


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