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THE HUTS CEMETERY


This cemetery takes its name from a line of huts strung along the road from Dickebusch (now Dikkebus) to Brandhoek, which were used by field ambulances during the 1917 Allied offensive on this front. Plots I to X and XII to XIV were filled between July and November 1917. Plots XV and XI followed. Nearly two-thirds of the burials are of gunners as many artillery positions existed nearby.


The cemetery was closed in April 1918 when the German advance (the Battle of the Lys) brought the front line very close. The advance was finally halted on the eastern side of the village, following fierce fighting at Dickebusch Lake, on 8 May. The 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment held the line that day.


The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. There are four Falkirk and District men buried here.


Cemetery Location

The Huts Cemetery is located 6 Kms south-west of Ieper town centre. From Ieper town centre the Dikkebusseweg (N375) 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 reaching Dikkebus village the cemetery is reached by taking a right hand turning onto the Melkerijstraat. This road continues for 1 Km, over a crossroads and bending sharply to the right, then meeting a junction with the Steenakkerstraat. The cemetery is located 200 metres after this junction on the Steenakkerstraat.


Shot at Dawn

There are two men buried here in Plot XV who were shot at dawn.


8/2733 Private Victor M Spencer, Age 23, Grave XV.B.10 1st Battalion, Otago Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He was the last New Zealand soldier to be shot during the war. He enlisted in April 1915 and had a short service in the Gallipoli Campaign before being sent to the Western Front. It was here that his army service began to unravel. He missed a defaulters parade and was given a sentence of field punishment. In July 1916, he was caught in an explosion of a German trench mortar known as a minenwerfer and spent two weeks in hospital suffering from shell shock. On his discharge he went absent for three weeks for which he was sentenced to 18 months in prison and served half the sentence before being released and returned to his battalion on 19 June 1917. In August 1917 his battalion was providing working parties and he went missing again for four months. He was caught by the military police in a farmhouse near Morebeque whilst being harboured by French civilians on 2 January 1918. He was executed at Dickebusch on 24 February 1918.


242904 Private Henry Hughes. Grave XV.D.15. 1/5th Battalion York and Lancasters, 148th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division. He deserted while under a suspended sentence of death and was the first man from the Division to be executed. He was shot on 10 April 1918.

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