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LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY


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.


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.’


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.


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.


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

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 Elverdingestraat, 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.


Shot at Dawn

22635 Private William Baker, Grave XXV.B.22 Son of Mrs. Elizabeth Baker, of 13 Russell Street, Plaistow, London. 26th (Bankers) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, 124th Brigade, 41st Division. He was already under arrest when he absconded on 22 April 1918. On the 8 May he reported for duty at the Army Post Office in Boulogne and claimed that he had been sent there for duty. He didn’t stay long and on 18 May he was arrested near the mail boat at the docks. He escaped again and was again arrested when he tried to gain admittance to a hospital at Etaples using a false name. He was executed in Poperinghe on 14 August 1918 for desertion. Unlike the seventeen others executed in Poperinghe throughout the War, he was not buried in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery.

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