Strand Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert Wood – Hainaut, Belgium

‘Charing Cross’ was the name given by the troops to a point at the end of a trench called the Strand, which led into Ploegsteert Wood. In October 1914, two burials were made at this place, close to an Advanced Dressing Station, The cemetery was not used between October 1914 and April 1917, but in April-July 1917 Plots I to VI were completed. Plots VII to X were made after the Armistice, when graves were brought in from some small cemeteries and from the battlefields lying mainly between Wytschaete and Armentieres. The cemetery was in German hands for a few months in 1918, but was very little used by them. The following are some of the burial grounds concentrated into Strand Military Cemetery:- EPINETTE ROAD CEMETERY, HOUPLINES (Nord), on the Southern outskirts of Houplines village, contained the graves of 24 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in November, 1914-September, 1915. LA BASSE-VILLE GERMAN CEMETERY, WARNETON (West Flanders), on the road from La Basse-Ville to Warneton, contained the graves of 68 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from South Africa who died in German hands, April-August, 1918. LE BIZET CONVENT MILITARY CEMETERY, PLOEGSTEERT, was in the grounds of the Assumptionist Convent between Le Bizet and Motor Car Corner. It contained the graves of 88 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Canada who fell in October, 1914-October, 1916. NACHTEGAAL No.1 GERMAN CEMETERY, MERCKEM (West Flanders), midway between Merckem and Houthulst, made in April, 1916, contained the graves of two R.F.C. officers who fell in June, 1917. It was closed in July, 1917. PLOEGSTEERT WOOD NEW CEMETERY, WARNETON, in the South-East corner of the wood, contained the graves of 19 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in the loss and recapture of Le Gheer, October, 1914. PROWSE POINT LOWER CEMETERY, WARNETON, was a little North of Ploegsteert Wood. It was made by the 1st Rifle Brigade, and it contained the graves of 13 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1915 and 1916. TOUQUET-BERTHE GERMAN CEMETERY, PLOEGSTEERT, on the road from Ploegsteert to Le Gheer, contained two unidentified R.A.F. graves of July, 1918. WARNETON CHURCHYARD was destroyed in the War. It contained the grave of one soldier from the United Kingdom, buried by the Germans in December, 1914. There are now 1,143 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 354 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to six casualties known or believed to be buried among them, and to 13 whose graves in four of the concentrated cemeteries were destroyed by shell fire. The eight Second World War burials (three of which are unidentified) all date from May 1940 and the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary force to Dunkirk ahead of the German advance. The cemetery was designed by Charles Holden.

© CWGC

30th October 1914

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