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Seaforth Cemetery, Cheddar Villa

Updated: May 15, 2022


Cheddar Villa was the name given by the Army to a farm on the west side of the road from Wieltje to St. Julien. On 25 and 26 April 1915, during the Battle of St. Julien, severe fighting took place in this area and the trenches were then held by the Seaforth Highlanders who have 101 men buried here. This is a front line cemetery and was originally called Cheddar Villa Cemetery, but at the request of the Officer Commanding the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders its name was changed in 1922.


For details of the action on 25 April 1915 see




On the 29 April 1915 the 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers took over the line near here at Mousetrap Farm. They watched as an attack by the Sirhind Brigade of the Lahore Division, Indian Army, failed to make any ground. On the 2 May the Germans, using incendiary shells and gas, attacked the Lancashire Fusiliers forcing them to abandon their trenches however, the Germans did not occupy the trenches due to the gas and the British were later able to reoccupy their lines. The Lancashire fusiliers began the day with thirty-three officers and 1,070 other ranks and ended it with eight officers and righty men. It was during this attack that Private John ‘Jack’ Lynn won his VC for staying with his machine-gun for several hours despite the gas. As machine-gunners were not part of the chain of command it seems likely that he did not receive the order to withdraw. He had also received the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Order of St George (Russia) for his actions at Le Touquet. He died of the effects of gas and is buried in Grootebeek Cemetery.


(Linesman Map showing Cheddar Villa in the German defences. 1 April 1917.)


On the 8 May 1915, in another German attack at this point, the 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers held the line. The Germans appeared behind their lines with the Fusiliers fighting them off and when the Battalion withdrew there were only 116 of all ranks remaining.


Near the cemetery is a bunker located in the farm grounds know as Cheddar Villa. It was captured by the 39th Division during their advance of the first day of Third Ypres and the 1/3rd Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry converted it to a Battalion headquarters and Dressing Station. On the 7 August 1917 a shell landed in the entrance of the bunker causing many casualties.


The cemetery was designed by W H Cowlishaw. There are two men from Falkirk and District buried here.


Cemetery Location

Seaforth Cemetery, Cheddar Villa, lies 5 Kms north-east of Ieper town centre on the Brugseweg (N313), connecting Ieper to Brugge. Two streets connect Ieper town centre onto the Brugseweg; Torhoutstraat leads from the market square onto the Kalfvaartstraat. At the end of Kalfvaartstraat is a large junction on which Brugseweg is the first right hand turning. The cemetery itself lies 4 Kms along the Brugseweg on the left hand side of the road.


FALKIRK AND DISTRICT MEN BURIED HERE


Camelon

2753 Private Duncan MacLachlan

7th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 23

25.4.15

Special Memorial C.3

Son of Alex McLachlan, 23 Prospect Street, Camelon and of the late Ann McLachlan, nee McNicol.


Larbert

Captain Grahame Hardie Wade

7th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 41

25.4.15

A.2

Son of Rev George Wade, Woodcroft, Larbert


Bonnybridge

2327 Private John Douglas

7th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Age 23

25.4.15

Special Memorial B.7

Son of Thomas Douglas. His brother James was in the same battalion. Bonnyside Terrace


Burials

The cemetery contains 148 burials and commemorations 21 of the burials are unidentified and 19 destroyed by shell fire are represented by Special Memorials. Row A, Grave 8, and Row B, Grave 1, are collective graves, and the headstones connected with them are placed against the cemetery walls.


A tablet at the far end of the cemetery from the road commemorates the names of 23 officers and men of the 2nd Seaforths who fell here, but are not known to be buried in the cemetery. These casualties are officially commemorated by name on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

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