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Webmatters : Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passendale

Tyne Cot Cemetery

Location

Tyne Cot Cemetery is located 9 kilometres north east of Ieper town centre, on the Tynecotstraat, a road leading from the Zonnebeekseweg (N332).

Parking is provided to the rear of the visitors centre. It should be noted that the road leading along the front of the cemetery is now one-way only: leading away from the cemetery.

The Visitors' Centre

Having passed through the Vistors’ Centre you walk down to the main entrance to the cemetery. The exit back into the car park is within the apse containing the New Zealand Memorial.

Visiting Information

There are two separate registers for this site – one for the cemetery and one for the memorial.

The Cemetery Register will be found in the entrance gate

The Memorial Register will be found in the left hand rotunda of the memorial as you face the memorial.

 

Historical Information

The Cemetery

Tyne Cot Cemetery

The original Battle cemetery is the area behind the Great Cross

Broadly speaking, the Ieper Salient stretched from Langemark in the north to the northern edge of Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war.

The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when the small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge.

Tyne Cot Cemetery

One of the bunkers at the bottom of the cemetery

The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres.


The central bunker at Tyne Cot

A plaque commemorates the Australians’
capture of the Tyne Cot bunker

This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence.

There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south.

The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather.

The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele. The German offensive of March 1918 met with some initial success, but was eventually checked and repulsed in a combined effort by the Allies in September.

The cemetery was established around a captured German blockhouse or pill-box used as an advanced dressing station.

The original battlefield cemetery of 343 graves was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when remains were brought in from the battlefields of Passchendaele and Langemark, and from a few small burial grounds.

It is now the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world in terms of burials.

Tyne Cot Cemetery

At the suggestion of King George V, who visited the cemetery in 1922, the Cross of Sacrifice was placed on the original large pill-box. There are three other pill-boxes in the cemetery.

There are now 11,952 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot Cemetery.

8,365 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to more than 80 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials commemorate 20 casualties whose graves were destroyed by shell fire.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

 

The Memorial to the Missing

The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient.

The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites.

 

Victoria Cross recipients


Clarence Jeffries VC

Captain Clarence Jeffries VC
34th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 12th October 1917 aged 23
Son of Joshua and Barbara Jeffries
of Abermain, New South Wales
Native of Wallsend, New South Wales

Grave: XL E 1

The London Gazette No. 30433,
dated 18th December 1917

For most conspicuous bravery in attack, when his company was held up by enemy machine-gun fire from concrete emplacements. Organising a party, he rushed one emplacement, capturing four machine guns and thirty-five prisoners. He then led his company forward under extremely heavy enemy artillery barrage and enfilade machine-gun fire to the objective. Later, he again organised a successful attack on a machine-gun emplacement, capturing two machine guns and thirty more prisoners.

This gallant officer was killed during the attack, but it was entirely due to his bravery and initiative that the centre of the attack was not held up for a lengthy period. His example had a most inspiring influence.


Lewis McGee VC

Sergeant 456 Lewis McGee VC
40th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 12th October 1917 aged 29
Son of John and Mary McGee, of Ross, Tasmania
Husband of Eileen McGee, of Avoca, Tasmania

Grave: XX D 1

The London Gazette No. 30400,
dated 23rd November 1917

For most conspicuous bravery when, in the advance to the final objective, Serjeant McGee led his platoon with great dash and bravery, though strongly opposed, and under heavy shell fire. His platoon was suffering severely and the advance of the Company was stopped by machine gun fire from a Pill-box post. Single-handed Serjeant McGee rushed the post armed only with a revolver. He shot some of the crew and captured the rest, and thus enabled the advance to proceed. He re-organised the remnants of his platoon and was foremost in the remainder of the advance, and during consolidation of the position he did splendid work.

This Non-commissioned Officer’s coolness and bravery were conspicuous and contributed largely to the success of the Company’s operations. Serjeant McGee was subsequently killed in action.


James Robertson VC

Private 552665 James Robertson VC
27th Bn Canadian Infantry
Manitoba Regiment
Died on 6th November 1917 aged 35
Son of Alexander and Janet Robertson
of 656, 5th St, South East, Medicine Hat, Alberta

Grave: LVIII D 26

The London Gazette No. 30471,
dated 8th January 1918

For most conspicuous bravery and outstanding devotion to duty in attack. When his platoon was held up by uncut wire and a machine gun causing many casualties, Private Robertson dashed to an opening on the flank, rushed the machine gun and, after a desperate struggle with the crew, killed four and then turned the gun on the remainder, who, overcome by the fierceness of his onslaught, were running towards their own lines.

His gallant work enabled the platoon to advance. He inflicted many more casualties among the enemy, and then carrying the captured machine gun, he led his platoon to the final objective.

He there selected an excellent position and got the gun into action, firing on the retreating enemy who by this time were quite demoralised by the fire brought to bear on them. During the consolidation Private Robertson’s most determined use of the machine gun kept down the fire of the enemy snipers; his courage and his coolness cheered his comrades and inspired them to the finest efforts.

Later, when two of our snipers were badly wounded in front of our trench, he went out and carried one of them in under very severe fire. He was killed just as he returned with the second man.

 


Second Lieutenant Arthur Young

Second Lieutenant Arthur Young
4th Bn attached 7th/8th Bn
Royal Irish Fusiliers
Died on 16th August 1917 aged 26
Son of the late Robert Young and of Annie Young.
Born in Japan

Born at Kobe, Japan
9th October 1890
Sacrificed to the fallacy
That war can end war

Grave: IV G 21


Private Fred Burrows

Private Fred Burrows 23724
9th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers
Died on 16th August 1917 aged 19
Son of Joshua Burrows, of Gillis Road, Armagh

Rest where none weep
Till the eternal morrow

Grave: V C 19

Charlie Hardy at his uncle's grave Private Charles Hardy

Charles Hardy from Vancouver Island at the grave of the uncle he was named after

Private Charles Hardy 431152
29th Bn Canadian Infantry
Died on 6th November 1917 aged 23
Son of Charles and Isabel Hardy,
of Wellington, British Columbia
Native of Nanaimo, British Columbia

Grave: II CC 4

 

Tyne Cot Cemetery

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Bailleul Road West Cemetery

Huy (La Sarte) Communal Cemetery

Les Baraques Military Cemetery

CWGC Poppy Button