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Somer Farm Cemetery


Wytschaete (now Wijtschate) was taken by the Germans early in November 1914. It was recovered by Commonwealth forces during the Battle of Messines on 7 June 1917, but fell into German hands once more on 16 April 1918. The village was recovered for the last time on 28 September. Somer Farm Cemetery, it is named after the farm by which it stands, (also known as Somer Farm Cemetery No.1 - the burials in Somer Farm No.2 were removed to Wytschaete Military Cemetery) was begun in June 1917. It was used until March 1918 and again in October 1918.


The farm was converted by the Germans into a strong concrete observation post and command centre. When the farm was captured by the British in June 1917 it was used by field ambulances who began the cemetery. In January 1918 the 1st Army Troops Company, Australian Engineers repaired the concrete structure which had been badly damaged. They strengthened the east wall that faced the Germans. After the War the bunker was demolished. The present day farm is also not on its original site.


The cemetery was designed by W H Cowlishaw. There is one man from Falkirk and District buried here.


On the night of 31 October 1914 the 1/14th (London Scottish) were filling a gap in the line here and along with the 6th (Carabiniers) Dragoon Guards, were defending Wytschaete when the Germans attacked. The London Scottish, all civilian workers in London and members of the same club, were the first complete Territorial Battalion to fight in the War. In this action they suffered heavy casualties with only 150 men remaining when the Battalion came out of the line and went into rest camps near the village of Wulverghem on 1 November.


The British retook the village of Wytschaete on the first day of the Battle of Messines on 7 June 1917. At 3.10am the British blew nineteen mines which became known as ‘cratering the ridge’ stupefying the German defenders.


On the 25 April 1918 the 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 64th Brigade was holding the line here, when the Germans attacked and forced them back across the woods north of Wytschaete. At the end of the day the Battalion numbered two officers and twenty seven men.

(Linesman Map. Somer Farm in the German defences 1 April 1917)


Cemetery Location

Somer Farm Cemetery is located 6.5 Kms south of Ieper town centre on the Hollebekestraat, a road leading from the Rijselseweg (N365), connecting Ieper to Wijtschate and on to Armentieres. From Ieper town centre the Rijselsestraat runs from the market square, through the Lille Gate (Rijselpoort) and directly over the crossroads with the Ieper ring road. The road name then changes to the Rijselseweg. On reaching the village of Wijtschate, Hollebekestraat is reached by turning left from the N365. The cemetery itself is located 70 metres along the Hollebekestraat on the right hand side of the road.


FALKIRK AND DISTRICT MEN BURIED HERE


Falkirk

410420 Sapper Alexander Taylor

202nd Field Company, Royal Engineers

15.10.18

A.1


Burials

The cemetery contains 91 First World War burials.

UK – 64

Australian – 20


There are Special Memorials to three British men and two Australians whose graves are lost in this cemetery.

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