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Woods Cemetery


Woods Cemetery was begun by the 1st Dorsets and the 1st East Surreys in April 1915; it was used until September 1917 by units holding this sector, and by the Field Ambulances of their divisions. The irregular shape of the cemetery is due to the conditions of burial at the times when the front line was just beyond the wood. The views over the battlefield are extensive.


The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.


Mine Warfare at the Bluff

The cemetery is located in the area that was known as The Bluff were heavy fighting and mine warfare was prominent throughout the War. The Ypres-Comines canal was excavated here before the War and the spoil from the workings was thrown up on either side and this was known as the Bluff and further along the canal, Spoilbank. Trench lines were established here from 1914 first by French troops and then by the British. Mine warfare was a prominent feature with many craters are still visible today. An extraordinary incident occurred on 30 December 1915 which was recorded in his diary by Billy Congreve, Brigade-Major, 76th Brigade, 3rd Division: ‘Some excitement today. About 7am this morning, all the water in the big Bluff crater suddenly disappeared with a rush and left exposed in the south-west corner of it the entrance to a Boche gallery. Brisco (2nd Lieutenant R B Brisco, Royal Engineers) at once went up and started off down the gallery by himself, leaving a man armed with a rifle at the entrance. After going about sixty feet, he heard somebody coming towards him, so he slowly retired. When he had got close back to the entrance again he waited and, as soon as the Boche showed his head round the corner, fired with his revolver. He missed. The man who was with him, in his excitement, let off his rifle. It flew up and hit Brisco a whack on the nose that nearly knocked him out, so the Boche got away. I went up in the afternoon to see how things were and found the crater almost dry. Many tons of water must have run down the Boche gallery…… I found three grenadiers of the RWF sitting on top of the block! These I hurriedly withdrew to a safe distance. About half an hour later the Boche blew up his gallery from the inside without doing us any damage, so now all is quiet…’


(Crater at the Bluff today)


Burials of interest

The graves of the 2nd, 3rd and 10th Canadian Battalions, 1st (Canadian) Division and the London Regiment are particularly numerous. The graves of the London Regiment are from battalions of the 47th (London) Division who were in this sector from late 1916 their burials are in Plots IV and V. The Canadian graves largely date from April 1916. Grave II.G.11 Private E E Calderon, 2nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry, age 42, killed on 3 April 1916. He was born in London and educated at Rugby after which he worked in the Maritime Department of Canada from 1907 to 1914. His father was a member of the Royal Academy. Grave V.B.2 2488 Sergeant-Bugler Sidney Harvey Moxon, 1st/15th Battalion, London Regiment (Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles), age 38, killed 25 October 1916. He was a King's Trumpeter, Member of Royal Society of Musicians, and a Free Mason. The son of George J. and Eliza Moxon.


Buried together in what is a field grave and is possibly an old gun pit are Grave II.Z.1 76229 Bombardier GM Brand, "D" Battery, 124th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, age 33, killed 12 November 1917. The son of Edward and Amelia Brand; husband of Elizabeth Clara Brand, of 83 Cadogan Terrace, Victoria Park, London. Grave II.Z.2. 227470 Gunner J Wann, "D" Battery, 124th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, age 31, killed 12 November 1917. He

was the eldest son of David and Mary Wann, of Cupar, Fife; husband of Mary Johnstone Wann. Grave II.Z.3 129569 Gunner W Morton, "Y" 37th Trench Mortar Battery. Royal Field Artillery, killed 12 November 1917. He was the son of Mrs. M. Morton, of Gill Lane, Haslance, Grassmoor, Chesterfield. It is possible that all three were killed while manning a trench mortar as these weapons were used in close proximity to the enemy trenches.


(Linesman Map showing trench positions at the Bluff)


Cemetery Location

Woods Cemetery is located 4 Kms south-east of Ieper town centre, on the Verbrandemolenstraat a road leading from the Komenseweg, connecting Ieper to Komen (N336). From Ieper town centre the Komenseweg is located via the Rijselsestraat, through the Rijselpoort (Lille Gate) and crossing the Ieper ring road, towards Armentieres and Lille. The road name then changes to Rijselseweg. 1 Km along the Rijselseweg lies the left hand turning onto Komenseweg. 2.5 Kms along the Komenseweg lies the right hand turning onto the Vaartstraat. 900 metres along the Vaartstraat lies the left hand turning onto the Verbrandemolenstraat. 400 metres along the Verbrandemolenstraat a short distance from the road is the cemetery.


FALKIRK AND DISTRICT MEN BURIED HERE


Stenhousemuir

15060 Gunner James Brown

59th Battery, 18th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Age 42

28.9.17

II.BB.1

Husband of Mary McVay & brother of Mrs Campbell, Raemount Place


Burials

Woods Cemetery contains 326 First World War burials, 32 of them unidentified.


UK – 212

Australian – 3

Canadian – 111

Known unto God - 32

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