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KEMMEL CHATEAU MILITARY CEMETERY

Updated: May 30, 2023


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Kemmel Chateau was north-east of Kemmel village and the cemetery was established on the north side of the chateau grounds in December 1914. It continued to be used by divisions fighting on the southern sectors of the Belgian front until March 1918, when after fierce fighting involving both Commonwealth and French forces, the village and cemetery fell into German hands in late April. The cemetery was retaken later in the year, but in the interval it was badly shelled and the old chateau destroyed.


The entrance to the cemetery is a representation of the old chateau that was destroyed and the trees make a wide avenue to the Cross of Sacrifice. The road that runs past the cemetery was known to the British as Sackville Street.


The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.


Cemetery Location

Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery is located 8 Kms south of Ieper on a road leading from the Kemmelseweg (N331), connecting Ieper to Kemmel. From Ieper town centre the Kemmelseweg is reached via the Rijselsestraat, through the Lille Gate (Rijselpoort) and straight on towards Armentieres (N336). 900 metres after the crossroads is the right hand turning onto the Kemmelseweg (made prominent by a railway level crossing). On reaching the village of Kemmel the first right hand turning leads onto the Reningelststraat. 600 metres along the Reningelststraat lies the right hand turning onto Nieuwstraat. 500 metres along the Nieuwstraat on the right-hand side of the road lies the cemetery.


Shot at Dawn

There are two men buried here who were executed at Kemmel.

6730 Private Stanley Stewart, Age 21, Grave G.66 Son of Mrs. Sarah Stewart, of 12, Bentick Street., Kilmarnock. Born at Liverpool. 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 90th Brigade, 30th Division. He joined the Special Reserve before the war, which is strange given that this force was predominantly made up of men too old to be fighting troops, and he landed in France in November 1914. He suffered a ‘Blighty’ wound in December 1914 and was invalided home suffering from shell shock. He was conscripted back into service sometime in 1917 and sent back to the Western Front.

He had deserted on 25 July 1917, he escaped from custody when a shell exploded near his place of detention and was recaptured. At his court martial he told the court of his fear of gun fire and that he had been in a lunatic asylum for four years. This did not impress the court. He had not been examined before his trial and despite having no history of previous offences the Commander-in-Chief Sir Douglas Haig confirmed the death sentence passed by the court. He was executed on 29 August 1917. Two months later a question was asked in the House of commons by Philip Snowden MP who maintained that Stanley had been returned to the front while still in a state of shell shock. Stanley’s mother had an epitaph added to his headstone.


Epitaph - FONDLY REMEMBERED BY HIS SORROWING MOTHER


52929 Private James C Smith, Age 26, Grave M.25 Son of James William and Elizabeth Smith, of 52 Noble Street, Bolton. After serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers at Gallipoli he had joined the 17th Battalion (1st Liverpool Pals) King’s, 89th Brigade, 30th Division. He was court martialled on 22 August 1917 charged with disobedience and desertion. He was executed on 5 September.


Epitaph - GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

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