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Dozinghem Military Cemetery

Updated: Mar 19, 2022


Westvleteren was outside the front held by Commonwealth forces in Belgium during the First World War, but in July 1917, in readiness for the forthcoming offensive, groups of casualty clearing stations were placed at three positions called by the troops Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem. The 4th, 47th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations were posted at Dozinghem and the military cemetery was used by them until early in 1918.


Dozinghem was originally commanded by a Colonel Chopping, the name Choppinghem was suggested for the site but changed to Dosinghem or Dozinghem to suggest a less brutal form of care. To British soldiers who knew Dozinghem it was considered an easy target for German artillery. Whenever British guns fired on the German rear areas and the shells occasionally hit a hospital in Roselare or Menin the German retaliatory fire came down on Dozinghem. Although not proven that this was deliberate, Dozinghem was regularly shelled and bombed despite the large, electrically lit, Red Cross sign.


Dozinghem is located in a part of Belgium that was never in the British sector and the cemetery is the only link with British forces, other than a narrow-gauge railway that ran from the cemetery to Poperinge, five miles away.


The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.


Cemetery Location

The cemetery is located to the north-west of Poperinge near Krombeke. From Ieper follow the directions to Poperinge along the by-pass. At the end of the by-pass at the traffic lights turn right into Oostlaan. Follow Oostlaan over the roundabout to the end of the road. Turn left into Veurnestraat and follow along here to the first turning on the right. (From Poperinge centre, follow the directions to Veurne along the Veurnestraat to the second turning on the left.) Turn into Sint-Bertinusstraat and follow this road up the rise and round a left-hand bend. After the bend, take the right hand turning in the direction of Krombeke along the Krombeekseweg. Follow the Krombeekseweg past the "De Lovie" centre where the road name changes to Leeuwerikstraat and then past a café on the left. Approximately 500 meters after the café on the left, you will see a sign for the cemetery pointing to a track on the right into the woods. The cemetery is along here at the end of the track.

On your journey to the cemetery you will pass the La Lovie Chateau (now the De Lovie) which is now a private school and hospital. It once housed the headquarters of various British Corps from May 1915 and also King George V stayed here in July 1917.

British Corps HQ's:

May 1915 to February 1916: VI Corps

February 1916 to July 1916: XIV Corps

July 1916 to June 1917: VIII Corps

June to November 1917: 5th Army

November 1917 to April 1918: II Corps

April to August 1918: 34th, 41st & 49th (West Riding) Divisions

August to November 1918: II Corps


Most of the graves are men who had inoperable wounds, one such being Edward Revere Osler. He was the son of an eminent London surgeon and a descendent of Paul Revere, the man who, in 1775, made the famous ride from Boston to Lexington Green to warn the rebelling ‘colonials’ that ‘the redcoats are coming.’

2nd Lieutenant Edward Revere Osler

‘A’ Battery, 59th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Age 21

30.8.17

IV.F.21

Son of Sir William Osler, Bart., and Lady Grace Osler, of 13, Norham Gardens, Oxford.


On Thursday 30 August 1917, Dr Harvey Cushing, who was a doctor at Mendinghem hospital, was at Dozinghem visiting colleagues when Edward Revere Osler arrived. On the 26 August he had received a letter from Edward’s mother telling him that her son was somewhere near St Julien and how dreadful it would be if he was brought into Dr Cushing with a head wound. He had replied telling her to let him know her son’s unit and he would try and locate him.


Cushing takes up the story of events:


‘I was preparing to turn in at 10 last night, when came this shocking message: ‘Sir Wm. Osler’s son seriously wounded at 47 CCS. Can Major Cushing come immediately.’ The CO let me have an ambulance and we reached Dosinghem in about half an hour. It could not have been much worse, though there was a bare chance – one traversing through the upper abdomen, another penetrating the chest just above the heart, two others in the thigh, fortunately without a fracture.


The local CO would not let me cable, and I finally insisted on phoning GHQ – got General Macpherson on the wire and persuaded him to send to Oxford via London War Office: ‘Revere seriously wounded; not hopelessly: conscious: comfortable.’


Crile came over from Remy with Eisenberry, and after transfusion, Darrach assisted by Brewer, opened the abdomen about midnight. There had been bleeding from two holes – in the upper colon and the mesenteric vessels. His condition remained unaltered, and about seven this morning the world lost this fine boy, as it does many others every day.


He described the scene at the burial:


We saw him buried in the early morning. A soggy Flanders field beside a little oak grove to the rear of the Dosinghem group – an overcast, windy, autumnal day – the long rows of simple wooden crosses - the new ditches half full of water being dug by the Chinese coolies wearing tin helmets – the boy wrapped in an army blanket and covered by a weather-worn Union Jack, carried on their shoulders by four slipping stretcher bearers. A strange scene – the great, great, grandson of Paul Revere under a British flag, and awaiting him a group of some six or eight American Army medical officers – saddened with the thoughts of his father. Happily, it was a dry day at this end of the trench, and some green branches were thrown in for him to lie on. The Padre recited the usual service – the bugler gave the ‘Last Post’ - and we went about our duties, Plot 4, Row F.


Edward Revere Osler was seriously wounded when his Battery were preparing to move. They were located between Langemark and St Julien some 300 yards from the Hindenburg Trench. The battery commander Major Batchelor, Osler, and eighteen other men were bridging over a shell hole. It was about 4.30 in the afternoon and there had been no shelling. They did not hear the shell that was a direct hit and wounded eight out of the twenty. The wounded were evacuated being carried 3,000 yards to the Dressing Station at Essex Farm, then via narrow gauge railway to 131 Field Ambulance at Canada Farm, and then by ambulance to 47 Casualty Clearing Station, Dozinghem.


FALKIRK AND DISTRICT MEN BURIED HERE


Falkirk

S/20111 Pte Henry Durie

8th Battalion, Black Watch

16.10.17

X.I.14


275435 L/Cpl James Honeyman

7th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 19

20.9.17

VII.C.15


1340 Pte James Hughes

11th Battalion, Royal Scots

Age 31

13.10.17

IX.F.8

Son of James & Margaret Hughes, 29 Kerse Lane


34673 Pte Alexander Martin

2nd Battalion, Royal Scots

28.9.17

VII. E. 21


Bainsford

S/10400 Pte James Muirhead

‘C’ Coy, 6th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders

Age 23

20.7.17

I.J.13

Son of John & Annie Muirhead, 18 Gibsongray Street


Larbert

12030 Pte Donald Jenkins

10th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 26

16.10.17

IX.G.19

Fifth son of John and Agnes Jenkins, Station Terrace, Larbert


Stenhousemuir

201979 Gunner Donald McLeod

466th, 65th, Army Field Artillery Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Age 35

6.10.17

V.G.7

Husband of Elizabeth Hodge, 3 Munro Street, Stenhousemuir; previously 12 Church Street, Middlesborough. They had three children. He made 155 appearances for Celtic F.C. and was capped four times by Scotland


Bonnybridge

275961 Sgt David Fernie

‘B’ Coy, 7th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 28

30.7.17

II.B.6

Son of Mrs J Fernie & the late John Fernie, Post Office Buildings


6184 Gunner Thomas McCormick

‘A’ Battery, 28th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Age 25 5.12.17

XIV.F.7

Son of Darby McCormick, Killane, Edenderry, King's Co. Enlisted in Falkirk


Slamannan

278709 Pte Thomas E Richards

7th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 22

8.9.17

VI.A.14

Son of John & Janet Nimmo Richards, Slamannan


Grangemouth

40501 Pte David Ogilvy Kemp

8th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 20

1.8.17

II.H.24

Husband of Jemima Kemp, 135 Abbeyhill, Edinburgh. Son of Mr & Mrs William Kemp, Grangemouth


Bo’ness

375063 Sgt Alexander McIntosh Thomson

11th Battalion, Royal Scots

Age 21

22.10.17

XI.E.21

Son of John Thomson & the late Helen Edmonston Thomson


Muiravonside

260169 Pte Murdoch MacKenzie

1/5th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders

Age 23

3.8.17

II.I.35

Son of David & Annie MacKenzie, of Millknowe, Avonbridge


Burials

There are now 3,174 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in the cemetery and 65 German war graves from this period. The cemetery also contains 73 Second World War burials dating from the Allied withdrawal to Dunkirk in May 1940.


UK – 3021

Australian – 6

New Zealand – 14

Canadian – 61

New Foundland – 19

South African – 15

British West Indies – 34

Chinese Labour Corps – 3

Known unto God – 1

German – 65

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