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The village of Reningelst never fell to the Germans and was the location for many Field Ambulances. The cemetery was opened in November 1915, after the Churchyard and Extension could no longer cope with the number of dead from the surrounding Field Ambulances. The area was the location for many gun positions and the dead in the cemetery reflect this with 275 men from artillery units.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Cemetery Location

Reninghelst New Military Cemetery is located 9.5 Kms south west of Ieper (formerly Ypres) town centre, in the village of Reningelst (formerly Reninghelst), on a road leading from the N308 Poperingseweg. 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 main crossroads in the village of Vlamertinge take the left hand turning onto the Bellestraat. After crossing the N38 Ieper Poperinge road, the village of Reningelst lies 6 Kms beyond Vlamertinge. On reaching the village, turn right onto the Zevekotestraatand continue to the Reningelstplein where the churchyard is clearly visible. The Baljuwstraat leads from the Reningelstplein and the cemetery is 500 metres along this road on the left hand side.

Shot at Dawn

There are three men buried here who were shot at dawn.

1731 Private Robert Loveless Barker, Age 21, Grave II.E.15 1/6th (London Rifles) Londons, 140th Brigade, 47th (2nd London) Division. He was already under a suspended sentence of death. He was charged with cowardice after his battalion was almost annihilated during the Battle of Flers - Courcelette on the Somme. The battalion went the attack in four waves and suffered heavy losses and the remnants of the battalion, two officers and 100 men occupied a position known as the ‘Cough Drop’. They remained in the front line for five days and events were too much for Barker who was charged with cowardice. He was court martialled when the remnants of his battalion moved to the Salient. It took 36 days for his sentence to be confirmed by Sir Douglas Haig. He was executed on 4 November 1916.

683458 Private Frederick Loader, Grave III.B.14 1/22nd (The Queen’s) Londons, 142nd Brigade, 47th (2nd London) Division. He was already under a suspended sentence of death from a previous charge of desertion. He deserted again during the Battle of Messines on 7 June 1917 when his battalion attacked The Bluff. He was executed on 19 August 1917.

204455 Private William Smith, Age 20, Grave IV.B.28 Son of Robert and Ada Smith, of 16 Lord Street., Pendleton, Manchester.3/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, 197th Brigade, 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division. He deserted with two others, Private Brookes and North, during the Battle of Poelcappelle on 4 October 1917. They gave themselves up three days later at one of the Channel ports however, Smith was the only one to be executed. He faced a firing squad from his own battalion He was shot at dawn on 14 November 1917. Why Smith was singled out is unknown. As for Brookes and North, they were kept waiting for 12 days to find out their fate which was that both their death sentences had been commuted to 15 years’ penal servitude suspended.

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