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Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

Updated: Jan 12


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During the First World War, the village of Lijssenthoek was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields. Close to the Front, but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations. Sited beside the railway sidings on the Hazebrouck-Poperinghe railway, between the premises of local farmer, Remy Quaghebur, and the road to Boeschepe. The cemetery was first used by the French 15th Hopital D'Evacuation in mid-October 1914, and in June 1915, it began to be used by casualty clearing stations of the Commonwealth forces and the site became known as Remy Sidings taking it name from the railhead and Remy Quagbehur’s farm alongside it. From April to August 1918, the casualty clearing stations fell back before the German advance and field ambulances (including a French ambulance) took their places. After the Armistice it had become the largest cemetery in the Salient although that dubious honour now belongs to Tyne Cot.


There are fourteen Falkirk and District men buried here.


The cemetery, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, is the second largest Commonwealth cemetery in Belgium.


The site was occupied by a number of British Field Hospitals – Casualty Clearing Stations Numbers 10 & 17 from July 1915 to April 1918; number 13 from August to September 1917; numbers 32, 44 and 3rd Australian from August to November 1917; number 62 in the latter part of 1918. Number 10 CCS continued to operate here until November 1919, when it was reduced to 50 beds, closed, and the patients moved to Calais.

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Achiel Van Walleghem, who kept a detailed day-to-day record of events and attitudes and was a village priest who lived in Reninghelst described Lijssenthoek after a visit on 22nd August 1916: ‘Between the inns ‘De Leene’ and ‘De Booenaert’ I walked along the Boeschepe Road through the great beautiful hospital of the British. What large tents! There are many big tents standing in a field that has been turned into a park with shrubs, flowers, lawns and lovely little trees; just like the children’s colonies in Wulverghem. The hospital covers several acres and a whole army of doctors, nurses and stretcher bearers are employed here.’


Q977 - Lijssenthoek - King George V conversing with the matron of a Casualty Clearing Station at Remy, 14th August 1916.

In late 1917, Remy Sidings had a capacity of 4,000 beds. During the German 1918 Spring offensive the CCS was evacuated to be replaced by a number of Field Ambulance Units. It returned later in 1918. Most casualties arrived at Remy Sidings by ambulance and those requiring long term care were moved by hospital train to a Base hospital at Etaples, Rouen, Wimereux, Le Treport, Boulogne, Camiers or Hardelot. Those too ill to be treated at a Base hospital were shipped back to the UK.

Great War, Ypres Salient, Battlefields in Belgium
Linesman Map

British and French Graffiti

Remy Farm still exists much as it was during the War. In the barn there is graffiti left by French and British soldiers, however, seek permission from the farmer before entering his property!


Cemetery Location

Linesman

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery is located 12 Kms west of Ieper town centre, on the Boescheepseweg, a road leading from the N308 connecting Ieper to Poperinge. From Ieper town centre the Poperingseweg (N308) is reached via the Elverdingsestraat, then over two small roundabouts in the J. Capronstraat. The Poperingseweg is a continuation of the J. Capronstraat and begins after a prominent railway level crossing. On reaching Poperinge, the N308 joins the left hand turning onto the R33, Poperinge ring road. The R33 ring continues to the left-hand junction with the N38 Frans-Vlaanderenweg. 800 metres along the N38 lies the left hand turning onto Lenestraat. The next immediate right hand turning leads onto Boescheepseweg. The cemetery itself is located 2 Kms along Boescheepseweg on the right-hand side of the road.


Every Unit and Rank in the Army

It is quite possible that every unit and rank in the army is represented in this cemetery from Private up to Major General, Indeed, there is one Major General, three Brigadier Generals and sixteen Lieutenant Colonels. The dead are also from Algeria, China, America and France. The Three American graves are located near the War Stone, there is a Private and Sergeant from New York and a Lieutenant from Tennessee.


Last British Officer to Die of Wounds

The last British officer to die of wounds in the Salient is buried here, Lieutenant Colonel George Ernest Beaty-Pownall D.S.O., commanding 2nd Battalion, Borders Regiment,(attached from the 1st Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers) 20th Brigade, 7th Division. Age 41. Grave XXX. B. 14. He died of his wounds on 10 October 1918. He was the son of Lt. Col. G. A. Beaty-Pownall and Susan Beaty-Pownall. His brother Thomas also fell.


Killed by Shell

Captain Atherton Harold Chisenhale-Marsh, 9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers, attached 34th Division General Staff. Age 35. Grave XXV.H.27. Killed on 28 September 1918, by a shell which fell whilst he was proceeding on the road from Wytschaete to Ypres. He took part in the famous charge at Audregnies in 1914.


Senior Canadian Major-General

Major General M.S. Mercer was the most senior of the Canadian officers to be killed in the Salient. He is buried in Grave VI.A.38. He died of wounds received during the German attack on Mount Sorrell (Hill 62) on Observatory Ridge on 3 June 1916. He commanded the 3rd (Canadian) Division. His partially decomposed remains were recovered by a battlefield clearance party on 24 June and he was buried at Lijssenthoek the same day. Corporal Reid, 4th Battalion Canadian Infantry, was assigned the task of searching No Man’s land for the dead from the German attack on 2 June. He later wrote of the recovery of General Mercers body: ‘…. We got the body dragged to a shell-hole about five yards from where we dug it out, where it had been buried except one boot and about four inches of a leather legging sticking out of the mud. That disinterring was really the worst part of the lot, as we had to lie face down and scratch until we got the General’s body uncovered, and then we searched the body again and saw the epaulets with crossed swords and star. I then cut off the General’s service coat and placed the body in a shell-hole till after dark.


Brigadier-General - Gordon Highlanders

Brigadier General Alister Fraser Gordon C.M.G., D.S.O., The Gordon Highlanders. Grave XIV.A.13. As Lieutenant Colonel, he was severely wounded in the leg at Festubert in May 1915. On Sunday 29 July 1917, he was inspecting the assembly trenches of 153rd Brigade, 51st (Highland) Division. The trench he was in received a direct hit from a German shell that mortally wounded him and killed his Brigade Major, Captain H.H. Lean (he is buried in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery. Grave II.G.35), two NCOs and one other rank (Cpl E.M. Pope, L/Cpl W Lockerby and Private A. Whannell. All three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Menin Gate Panel 38). Brigadier General Gordon died, just as the Gordon Highlanders were going ‘over the top’, on 31 July 1917.


Lieutenant Knapp-Fisher

On the 31 July 1915, the 6th (Service) Battalion, The King’s Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry), were ordered to take up support positions south of Hooge. The German artillery, searching approaches by which reinforcements might come up to the front line, inflicted several casualties on the battalion, 11127 Sergeant R Callan killed (he is buried in Grave C.4, Railway Chateau Cemetery, Elverdinghe), Captain A.C.E. Elborough and Lieutenant C.E.H. Knapp-Fischer were mortally wounded, 24 other ranks wounded. Lieutenant Cyril Edward Holme Knapp-Fischer, age 21, is buried in grave I.A.4. A stained-glass memorial window bearing the K.O.Y.L.I. regimental crest and inscribed ‘In loving memory of Lieut. Cyril E.H. Knapp-Fischer, 6th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I., died of wounds 31 July 1915, Interred in Lijssenthoek Cemetery’ was installed in St. George’s Memorial Church, Ypres, in 1927.



Youngest and Oldest

Youngest of the dead is 17780 Private Donald McLeod Snaddon (Sneddon). 1st Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers. Age 15. Died of his wounds on 18 January 1916. Grave II.D.37. When he enlisted his age would have been about 13 years and six months. He died of wounds received at Scottish Wood. Son of William and Mary Snaddon, of 3, White Street, Patrick, Glasgow. His grave lies next to 52 year old 115101 Pioneer William Waple, 4th Labour Company, Royal Engineers. He was admitted to the CCS on 16 January 1916 with acute appendicitis and died on 18 January from peritonitis, septicaemia.


Only woman buried in Lijssenthoek

A CCS could be found anywhere from 8 to 15 miles from the front line. Brandhoek CCS, which had opened in mid-1915, was located less than 10,000 yards from the front line. In July 1917, it had become a Field Ambulance incorporating CCS’s 32, 44, and 3 Australian. It was shelled on 21 August 1917 and this was recorded by Lt. Col. Arthur Marin-Leake VC in the 46th Field Ambulance War Dairy: ‘About 11am today shelling began in this neighbourhood. Two shells fell in our area close to the building. There were lots of patients about at the time, but nobody was hurt; this is to be accounted for by the wet and soft ground where the shells pitched. Shells have dropped in the three CCS, and Number 44 has had a nurse and orderly killed. The shelling continued on and off all day, mostly near the Railway. CCS evacuated in the evening.’ Brandhoek was abandoned on 25 August and moved to Remy Siding (Lijssenthoek). The nurse killed was Staff Nurse Nellie Spindler. The War Diary records that she was hit in the chest and died in about five minutes. She is buried in grave XVI.A.3 and served with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Medical Nursing Service. Her funeral was attended by over one hundred Officers, four Generals and the Surgeon-General.


Son of Iroquois Indian Chief

57834 Private James Gaspe, 20th Battalion, (Central Ontario Regiment) Canadian Infantry, C.E.F. Age 32. Died 25 June 1916 of gunshot wounds to the right thigh and compound fractures of the right arm and right hand. Grave VIII.B.17A He was employed as a Fireman before he enlisted on 12 November 1914. Son of John Baptiste Gaspe (Chief of the Iroquois Tribe of Canadian Indians) and Felecile Bonspille (his wife), of Oka, County of Two Mountains, Quebec.


Self-Inflicted Wound

10/3067 Private Thomas Henry Reynish, 1st Battalion Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F., died 30 September 1917. He committed suicide at Mill Camp shooting himself through the forehead with his rifle. Grave XXV.G.2 Two of his three brothers also died in the War. Robert is buried in Christchurch (Bromley) Cemetery grave 2.17.A and Roger, killed in action on 30 November 1917, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Buttes New British Cemetery (New Zealand) Memorial at Polygon Wood.


Shot at Dawn

22635 Private William Baker, 26th (Bankers) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, 124th Brigade, 41st Division. Grave XXV.B.22 Son of Mrs. Elizabeth Baker, of 13, Russell St., Plaistow, London. He was executed in Poperinghe on 14 August 1918 for desertion on several occasions. Unlike the seventeen others executed in Poperinghe throughout the War, he was not buried in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery.


Victoria Cross holder buried here

Major Frederick Harold Tubb V.C. 7th Battalion, Australian Infantry, A.I.F., age 36, died 20 September 1917. Grave XIX. C. 5. Son of Harry and Emma E. Tubb, of St. Helena, Longwood East, Victoria, Australia. Of Longwood. He won his V.C. at Gallipoli during an action at Lone Pine in August 1915, when he repulsed a Turkish counterattack despite being severely wounded in the head and arm. After recovering from his wounds he served on the Somme and was mortally wounded at Polygon Wood on 20 September 1917.

An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 29328 dated 15th Oct. 1915, records the following:-For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty at Lone Pine trenches, in the Gallipoli Peninsula, on 9th August 1915. In the early morning the enemy made a determined counterattack on the centre of the newly captured trench held by Lieutenant Tubb. They advanced up a sap and blew in a sandbag barricade, leaving only one foot of it standing, but Lieutenant Tubb led his men back, repulsed the enemy, and rebuilt the barricade. Supported by strong bombing parties, the enemy succeeded in twice again blowing in the barricade, but on each occasion Lieutenant Tubb, although wounded in the head and arm, held his ground with the greatest coolness and rebuilt it, and finally succeeded in maintaining his position under very heavy bomb fire.


British Airmen Buried Here

This cemetery has the greatest concentration of fliers in Belgium. There are nearly one hundred airmen buried here. I have listed a selection in the link above.


Sons of MPs Buried Here

Lt Harry Nuttall Eldest son of Harry Nuttall, Liberal MP for Stretford Division of Lancashire 1906 to 1918.

Lt Edmund Turton eldest son of Harry Nuttall, Liberal MP for Stretford Division of Lancashire 1906 to 1918.


Talbot House connection

Captain George C Harrison’ 6th Anti-Aircraft Battery, 24th Heavy Artillery Group, Royal Artillery, 10 January 1917. Age 27. Grave IX.B.19. Tubby Clayton mentioned him in a letter to his mother of 9 January 1917: ‘…the only other misfortune of war is that Harrison of my Archibalds has been rather badly hit…’ His reference to ‘Archibalds’ is army terminology for Anti-Aircraft fire.

2512 Rifleman Frederick Henry Browne, 16th (County of London) Battalion, (Queen’s Westminster Rifles) The London Regiment. Age 24. Died 19 December 1915. Grave II.D.25. Son of Henry Frederick and Bertha Browne, of 8, Harrow Rd., High St. North, East Ham, London. He died of a bullet wound to the head during the German Phosgene Gas attack on 19 December 1915. In ‘Tales of Talbot House’, Tubby Clayton wrote of the Germans use of Phosgene Gas in an attack at Potijze and the role played by the Westminsters who had gone in support. He wrote: ‘ ….the company of Westminsters which had just gone up into support at Potijze, having had their Christmas party, and crackers to boot, in Talbot House the day before…’They wore stuffy P.H. helmets with good cause… Here comes the inimitable Westminster touch. They wore up on top of their masks their paper caps out of the Christmas crackers, and one rifleman insisted on brandishing a toy water-pistol, which he was at pains to fill at an adjacent shell-hole. This I heard at 2am on 23rd, when a company that had been badly cut up came down to rest next door, waking the sleeping street with their indomitable ‘Rogerum.’ The ‘Rogerum’ is a minstrel song version of the Parable of Dives and Lazarus. Dick Horne, of the Q.W.R. transport, made it famous at ‘The Fancies’ Concert Hall in Poperinghe. Tubby Clayton thought: ‘…its magnificently onomatopoeic chorus lifted the feet of thousands of marching men of the 6th Division along the pave or out of the mud and clay.

Lieutenant Christian Creswell Carver, ‘A’ Battery, 83 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Age 20. Died 23 July 1917. Grave XIII.B.22. Tubby Clayton, in a letter to his mother on 3 August 1917, wrote: ‘…Two of my dearest parishioners – a R.A.M.C. boy, and an R.F.A. Lieut. were killed last week; not that I think the word ‘killed’ means much in such cases. But it’s beastly shaking hands with boys who come in to say ‘well goodbye, Padre, in case I don’t come through’, and some have such clear premonitions of death.’ Lieutenant Carver died of wounds received on 15 July 1917 when the battery dugout he was in near Zillibeke Lake received a direct hit.






FALKIRK AND DISTRICT MEN BURIED HERE


Falkirk

45440 Pte William Anderson

14th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers

Age 25

20.9.17

XXIII. D. 20A

Son of John and Maggie Morrison Anderson, of Abbey View Cottage, Shieldhill, Falkirk


M2/120950 Pte William Paterson

Royal Army Service Corps, attached 39th Ammunition Sub. Park

22.7.17

XVI.E.10A


Bainsford

21235 Bombardier Walter Jamieson

10th Brigade, Australian Field Artillery

Age 29

22.10.17

XXV.J.17

Son of Alexander & Mary Jamieson, 192 Main Street


202631 L/Cpl James Taylor

4th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

Age 25

28.3.17

XI.C.17

Son of Mr & Mrs D Taylor, 21 Main Street


Stenhousemuir

1274 Pte Thomas Foote

11th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 22

22.7.17

XVI.E.6

Son of Thomas & Janet Foote, Church Street


Denny & Dunipace

6561 Driver John F Kay

'C' Btty, 159th Bde, Royal Field Artillery

Age 23

1.10.18

XXIV.C.26A

Son of Marion Goodwin Kay, Wellbank, Denny & the late William Kay


Bonnybridge

276279 Pte David Stewart Stalker

1.7th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 23

4.9.17

XVIII.F.20A

Son of Robert & Eleanor Stalker, Co-op Buildings, Bonnybridge


Banknock

76255 Pte R W Milne

11th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Reg)

Age 24

9.6.17

XIV.H.1A

Husband of Janet Milligan Briggs Milne, Clifton Villa, Banknock. Son of Robert & Nellie Milne, 6 Loanhead Terrace, Aberdeen


Grangemouth

4979 Pte Duncan Laing

1/10th The King's (Liverpool Reg)

Age 34

16.12.16

X.C.31

Son of John & Jean Laing. Husband of Elizabeth A Laing, 65 Derby Road, Bootle, Liverpool. Born in Grangemouth


Bo’ness

375132 Private Richard King

15th Battalion, Royal Scots

Age 26

25.4.18

XXVIII.C.15

Husband of Peterina and father to Jane, 8 Parliament Close, Tweedmouth, Berwick-on-Tweed


40462 Pte Neil McCallum Stanners

13th Battalion, Royal Scots

Age 35

22.8.17

XVIII.B.17A

Husband of Isabella Hyslop Stanners, 7 Bruntsfield Avenue, Edinburgh. Son of Thomas & Christina Stanners, Hopetoun Terrace, Bo'ness


Laurieston

7096 GDSN Hugh H Connel

1st Battalion, Scots Guards

Age 32

1.4.16

V.B 38


Links to the area

2336 Sapper Charles Edward Day

3rd Field Coy, Engineers, Australian Imperial Force

Age 21

26.9.17

XXIII.A.9A

Son of Margaret Shannon, 678 Argent street, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia


420794 Pte Harold James Simpson

43rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Age 23

15.5.16

VI.D.34

Son of James & Margaret Simpson, 31 Nelson Street, Edinburgh


859354 Pte Alexander Walker

79th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Cameron Highlanders of Canada)

Age 23

26.10.17

XXII.F.8

Outlook, Saskatchewan. Son of John & Marion Walker, Knowepark, Braehead Avenue, Bo'ness


Cemeteries concentrated here

The only concentration burials were 24 added to Plot XXXI in 1920 from isolated positions near Poperinghe and 17 added to Plot XXXII from St. Denijs Churchyard in 1981.


Burials

The cemetery contains 9,901 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 24 being unidentified. There are 883 war graves of other nationalities, mostly French and German, 11 of these are unidentified. There is 1 Non-World War burial here.


UK – 7350

Australian – 1131

New Zealand – 291

Canadian – 1053

New Foundland – 5

South African – 29

British West Indies – 21

India – 2

Known unto God – 3

French 658

US – 3

Chinese Labour Corps – 3

German – 223

IWGC - 1


Eight of the headstones are Special Memorials to men known to be buried in this cemetery, these are located together alongside Plot 32 near the Stone of Remembrance.

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