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Mendinghem British Cemetery


Mendinghem, like Dozinghem and Bandaghem, were the popular names given by the troops to groups of casualty clearing stations posted to this area during the First World War. The complex of Casualty Clearing Stations was going to be called Endinghem, but this was thought to be a little to close to the mark so it was decided to name the site Mendinghem. In July 1916, the 46th (1st/1st Wessex) Casualty Clearing Station was opened at Proven and this site was chosen for its cemetery. The first burials took place in August 1916. In July 1917, four further clearing stations arrived at Proven in readiness for the forthcoming Allied offensive on this front and three of them, the 46th, 12th and 64th, stayed until 1918. From May to July 1918, while the German offensive was at its height, field ambulances were posted at Proven. The cemetery was closed (except for one later burial) in September 1918. There are nine Falkirk and District men buried here.


The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.


No.12, 46 and 61 CCS were staffed mostly by personnel from Philadelphia. No.64 CCS dealt with head wounds and those caused by chlorine gas. No.46 Casualty Clearing Station had two hundred beds and this was increased to 1,300 in preparation for third Ypres. On the 12 July 1917, the CCS took in over 100 casualties following a German gas attack. The Germans first used mustard gas in large quantities on the night of the 13/14 July 1917 causing some 3,000 casualties. A second attack a week later caused a further 4,000 casualties. Dr Harvey Cushing, attached to the Mendinghem Field Hospital wrote: ‘Poor devils, I’ve seen too many of them since – new ones – their eyes bandaged, led along by a man with a string, while they try to keep to the duckboards…’ On the 2 August he noted: ‘Operating from 8.30am one day till 2am the next, standing in a pair rubber boots and periodically full of tea as a stimulant… Something over 2,000 wounded have passed so far, through this one CCS. There are fifteen similar stations behind the battle front. 10.30pm. We’re about through now with this particular episode. Around 30,000 casualties, I believe.’


The patient-counter for recording the number of those treated at No.46 CCS was reset to zero on 21 September after 20,000 men had been admitted and treated, the workload didn’t stop there. The Mendinghem Stations were in constant use until September 1918.


Cemetery Location

Mendinghem Military Cemetery is located 17 Kms north-west of Ieper town centre on the N308 connecting Ieper to Poperinge and on to Oost-Cappel. From Ieper town centre the Poperingseweg (N308), is reached via Elverdingsestraat then directly 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 the ring road of Poperinge R33 Europalaan, the left hand clockwise route circles the town of Poperinge and rejoins the N308 towards Oost-Cappel. 6.5 Kms after joining the N308 lies the village of Proven. The cemetery is located 500 metres beyond the village of Proven on the left hand side of the road (which at this point is called Roesbruggestraat).


FALKIRK AND DISTRICT MEN BURIED HERE


Falkirk

22165 Bombardier Thomas Campbell M.M.

"A" Battery, 28th Bde, Royal Field Artillery

10.4.18

VI. B. 38


248046 Pte William Faichnie

2/2nd Battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)

21.12.17

VI. BB. 25


S/40399 Pte Preston Fleming

8th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

20.9.17

V.D.10

Son of Preston & Elizabeth Fleming. Husband of Shirley Fleming, 19 Gowan Ave, Falkirk


42507 Pte A Greenhill

2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Age 20

31.12.17

IX. B. 2

Son of Laurence and Jane Greenhill, of Woodlands Cottage, Parkfoot, Falkirk


40771 Pte Robert McPherson

1st Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Age 22

18.4.18

X.A.50

Son of Harry & Bruce McPherson 23 Griffiths Street


S/4124 Pte John Morgan

11th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 23

20.7.17

II.F.13

Son of Mary Ann Morgan, of 13, Leechclee St., Hamilton


Camelon

7956 Cpl John Stewart

2nd Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 35

15.7.17

I.F.44

Husband of Elizabeth Lonie Stewart, Balloch Cottage, Sunnyside, Camelon. Son of the late Peter Stewart & of Euphemia of Camelon


Bonnybridge

30181 Pte Alex Gillespie

11th Battalion, Royal Scots

30.9.17

VI.C.23


836720 Gunner David Hunter

307th Brigade Royal Field Artillery

22.9.17

VII.E.33


Shot at Dawn

There are three men buried here who were executed. R/27615 Private John J Hyde, 10th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 59th Brigade, 20th Light Division. Grave V.A.29 He was the son of Mr. W. Hyde, of 35, Ridgdale St., Bow, London. He was executed for desertion on 5 September 1917. 200757 Private Charles Britton, 1/5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshires, 143rd Brigade, 48th (South Midlands) Division. Grave VII.F.36 He was the son of John and Ellen Britton, of 31, Allison Street, Birmingham. He was executed for desertion on 12 September 1917. 38332 Private David Gibson, ‘C’ Company, 12th Battalion, Royal Scots, 27th Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division. Age 25. Grave X.E.19 He was the son of John and Jane Gibson, of Bridgeton, Glasgow; husband of Agnes Gibson, of 3381, Gallowgate, Glasgow. He failed to return from leave and was arrested in the UK. He was executed on 24 September 1918.


Victoria Cross holder buried here

Captain (temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) Bertram Best-Dunkley

Commanding Officer, 2/5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, 164th Brigade, 55th (West Lancashire) Division

Age 27

5 August 1917

III.D.1


He won his V.C. on 31 July 1917. He died of wounds received.

An extract from the London Gazette No. 30272, dated 4th Sept. 1917, records the following. "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in command of his battalion, the leading waves of which, during an attack, became disorganised by reason of rifle and machine gun fire at close range from positions which were believed to be in our hands. Lt. Col. Best-Dunkley dashed forward, rallied his leading waves, and personally led them to the assault of these positions, which, despite heavy losses, were carried. He continued to lead his battalion until all their objectives had been gained. Had it not been for this officer's gallant and determined action it is doubtful if the left of the brigade would have reached its objectives. Later in the day, when our position was threatened, he collected his battalion headquarters, led them to the attack, and beat off the advancing enemy.


Talbot House connection

Lieutenant Horace Manton Brown M.C.

4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment

Age 21

14.4.18

IX.E.33

Son of Edgar Jermyn Brown and Annie Josephine Brown, of Villette, Tuddenham Rd., Ipswich.


He received his Confirmation from Bishop Gwynne Deputy Chaplain General (D.C.G.) in the Chapel in Talbot House on 18 December 1917 on his 21st birthday. Tubby Clayton wrote of him: ‘Known to his intimates as ‘Baby’ Brown, my memory of him is, without sentiment, most properly described in terms of light. His single-eyed sincerity of purpose, coupled with a keen humour, revealed a man of men, bound to go far. But God had other plans than ours for him.’


Burials

There are now 2,391 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in this cemetery and 52 German war graves.


UK – 2272

Australian – 15

New Zealand – 12

Canadian – 28

New Foundland – 3

South African – 33

British West Indies – 26

German – 51

Chinese Labour Corps - 8

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