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Locre Churchyard

Updated: Mar 31, 2023


Locre (now Loker) was in Allied hands during the greater part of the war, and field ambulances were stationed in the Convent of St. Antoine. The village changed hands several times between 25 and 30 April 1918, when it was recaptured by the French. The hospice, or convent, was the scene of severe fighting on 20 May, but was not retaken until first week in July. Loker Churchyard was used by field ambulances and fighting units from December 1914 to June 1917, and it contains two Commonwealth plots.


In November 1914, following their part in the fighting of First Ypres, the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, by this time reduced to a Company under the command of a Captain, and the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, also commanded by a Captain and reduced to sixty nine men, rested and refitted in the village. As the War continued the number of units requiring billets in the area far outweighed the number of houses available. Large military camps were constructed in the area, some took the form of huge, tented villages others had wooden huts and Nissen huts.

(Linesman Map)


2nd Lieutenant Cecil Hawdon, 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, Age 20, grave I.D.6, died 27 June 1916. Both his brothers also died in November 1918, one of whom was an army chaplain. Cecil was the son of Mr and Mrs. W. Hawdon, of Upsall Grange, Nunthorpe, Yorks. The epitaph on his headstone reads: HIS TWO BROTHERS ALSO FELL IN DEATH THEY ARE NOT DIVIDED


In his diary ‘A Doctor on the Western Front', Henry Owens wrote on 17 November 1914: ‘Went into Bailleul in the morning and got 5 remount horses. In the afternoon, walked to Locre with Graham. A lot of howitzers in the church yard. Went into the church – service going on, rather nice and impressive. Heavy firing again towards Messines.’ On 8 August 1916, while serving with the 57th Field Ambulance he wrote: ‘Main Dressing Station at the Hospice at Locre. Went on with Smally to our ADS in dugouts at Lindenhoek…’ He was back in Locre during Third Ypres and he wrote on the 29 September 1917: ‘In the afternoon played tennis on cement tennis court at the Club at Locre. In the middle of a set, a Boche plane was going over and a dud archie (anti-aircraft shell) the entire shell come whiffling down out of the blue and landed bang in the court – in one corner. Very alarming. The hole in the ground went down further than you could reach. During dinner, a Boche plane came over and dropped 7 bombs about 300 yards from the Hospice. Awful crash and half the glass in the place smashed.’ On the 30 September he recorded: ‘A lot of bombing again tonight. Some lorries were hit near the white chateau at Locre and did in a lot of Army Service Corps people. Had about 15 badly wounded in. 5 died.’


The village was occupied by the Germans for one day, 25 April, during their 1918 Spring Offensive. They were pushed out by the French on 26 April, supported by the British 21st, 23rd and 49th (West Riding) Divisions. The Germans again retook the village on 29 April but were again pushed out by the French on 30 April. During this period of fighting the village was completely destroyed. There are three memorials to the French troops who fought here in 1918, they can be found in the south corner of the churchyard near the Town War memorial. They had been fixed to the Town Hall, opposite the church, but moved here.


Cemetery Location

Loker (formerly Locre) Churchyard is located 11.5 Kms south-west of Ieper town centre on the Dikkebusseweg (N375). From Ieper town centre the Dikkebusseweg is reached via Elverdingsestraat, straight over a roundabout onto J.Capronstraat (for 30 metres), then left along M.Fochlaan. Immediately after the train station, the first right hand turning is the Dikkebusseweg. On passing through the village of Dikkebus the road continues for 6 kilometres to the village of Loker. The church and churchyard are located at the side of the road in the village of Loker itself.


FALKIRK AND DISTRICT MEN BURIED HERE


Grangemouth

9518 Cpl Edward Gilbert

1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders

7.3.15

II.C.8co


Bo’ness

2383 Pte James McFarlane

2nd Battalion, Royal Scots

Age 22

14.12.14

II.E.18


Shot at Dawn

There are three men buried here who were executed within a ten day period in 1915. 7177 Private Andrew Evans, 1st Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 9th Brigade, 3rd Division. Age 16. Grave I.A.2. He was tried for desertion on 31 January 1915 and executed in the village on 6 February 1915. 15576 Private Joseph Byers, 1st Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 9th Brigade, 3rd Division. Age 16. Grave I.A.1. He was tried with Andrew Evans and executed at the same time. They are buried side by side near the entrance to the Plot on the west side of the church. 9618 Private George E Collins, 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, 9th Brigade, 3rd Division. Age 20 Grave I.B.1. He was executed for desertion in the village on 15 February 1915. He is buried in the next row to Evans and Byers. He was the son of James and Charlotte Collins, of 2, West Dock St., Hessle Rd., Hull.


Cemeteries concentrated here

One grave was brought in after the Armistice from LOCRE FRENCH CEMETERY No.4.


Burials

The churchyard contains 215 Commonwealth burials of the First World War.


UK – 184

Canadian – 31

Unnamed - 2

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