Locre Hospice Cemetery is located 10.5 kilometres south west of Ieper town centre on the Godtschalckstraat, a road leading from the Dikkebusseweg (N375). From Ieper town centre the Dikkebusseweg 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 the village of Loker (formerly Locre) the first left hand turning leads onto the Kemmelbergweg. There follows an immediate right hand turning onto Godtschalckstraat. The cemetery is located 900 metres along the Godtschalckstraat on the right hand side of the road. A small 20 metre grassed access path leads to this site.
If on leaving the cemetery you continue straight on (away from Loker) you will arrive at the French Ossuary at the foot of the Kemmelberg (Mont Kemmel).
Locre (now Loker) was in Allied hands during the greater part of the war, and field ambulances were stationed in the Convent of St Antoine.
The village changed hands several times between 25 and 30 April 1918, when it was recaptured by the French. The hospice, or convent, was the scene of severe fighting on 20 May, but was not retaken until first week in July.
The Hospice Cemetery was begun in June 1917 by field ambulances and fighting units, and was used until April 1918.
After the Armistice four graves were transferred to it from the garden of the Hospice, which was ultimately rebuilt. The cemetery now contains 244 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 12 of the burials are unidentified and ten graves destroyed by shellfire are now represented by special memorials.Locre Churchyard
The 14 Second World War burials date from late May 1940 and the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force to Dunkirk ahead of the German advance. There are also two German burials in the cemetery.
The cemetery was designed by W H Cowlishaw.
Just to the rear of the cemetery and in a plot of its own lies the grave of the Irish Nationalist MP and brother of the movement's leader John Redmond.
Following his death at the Battle of Messines Redmond was originally buried in the Nuns' Garden within the hospice alongside other graves. (The modern building was rebuilt on the other side of the road). When the graves were consolidated into the cemetery, Eleanor Redmond, his widow, requested that the body be left where it was. The nuns gave their consent and for many years this was a private plot. The grave is however now in the care of the CWGC.
As part of a tour of the battlefields arranged by the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum in Armagh in April 2005, we had a chance to learn about Willie Redmond from the family.A little bit of Irish history
William Redmond had succeeded his father as MP for Waterford and had travelled to Australia with his brother on a number of occassions, writing two books about his travels there.
When the war broke out he agreed with his brother John that Ireland should fight and despite his age joined the 6th Royal Irish Regiment at its formation.
Although in his fifties he had insisted on being allowed to lead his men forward in the battle at Messines on 7 June 1917.
He was wounded once and then again, the wounds proving to be more serious than for a younger fitter soldier.
By chance the stretcher bearers were from the 36th (Ulster) Division who were fighting alongside Redmond's 16th (Irish) Division, for the first time in their history.
Private John Meeke from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was one of those stretcher bearers, and had noticed Redmond falling wounded.
Meeke was a member of the original Ulster Volunteer Force, formed to oppose the Redmonds Nationalist ideals. At home in Ireland they would have been very much on opposing sides. Here on the battlefield however, things were different.
Whilst looking after Redmond, Meeke was himself hit by shrapnel but managed to get Redmond back to the 36th Division's dressing station.
Unfortunately his wounds were to serious and Willie Redmond never recovered from the shock.
John Meeke survived the war, although he died quite young in December 1923, aged just 28.
Brigadier General Ronald Maclachlan DSO
Formerly Rifle Brigade
Commanding 112th Infantry Brigade
Died on 11 August 1917 aged 45
Son of the Rev Campbell Maclachlan, of Newton Valence, Alton, Hants
Husband of Elinor Maclachlan, of Rookley House, Kings Somborne, Hants
Grave: II C 9
Lt Colonel Chester-Master DSO and Bar
13th Bn King's Royal Rifle Corps
Died on 30 August 1917 aged 47
Son of Colonel Thomas and Georgina Chester-Master
Husband of Geraldine Chester-Master, of Querns Lane House, Cirencester
Chief Constable of Gloucestershire. Native of Cirencester, Glos.
Grave: II C 8
Private Daniel O'Connell 13583
7th/8th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers
Died on 7 June 1917
Born in Newcastle West, Co Limerick.
Grave: I A 5
Private Thomas Price 4692
2nd Bn Royal Irish Regiment
Died on 7 June 1917 aged 24
Son of Robert and Bridget Price, of Hurley's Lane, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary
Grave: I A 6
Private William Jones 15954
9th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Shot on 25 October 1917
Grave: I C 4
Jones was under a suspended sentence for desertion when he used his positioon as a stretcher bearer to slip away on 15 June 1917. He gave himself up in Bristol three months later and was returned to Belgium where he was shot on Mont Kemmel on 25 October 1917. 68 men from his Battalion were killed during his absence.
Private Denis Blakemore 40435
8th Bn North Staffordshire Regiment
Shot on 9 July 1917, aged 28
Son of George and Sophia Blakemore, of 3 St George's St, Mountfields, Shrewsbury.
Native of Bicton, Shrewsbury.
Grave: I A 22
Arrested in Boulogne after having deserted (for the second time) during the first day of the Battle for Messines. Like Jones he was already under a suspended sentence for desertion. His explanation that he was too upset to go into battle fell on deaf ears at his Court Martial (27 men from his Battalion were killed during his absence). Having previously been sentenced to death on 25 May 1917, the second conviction led to his execution at Mont Kemmel on 9 July 1917.