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Webmatters : Wimereux Communal Cemetery

Wimereux Communal Cemetery


Wimereux is a small town situated approximately 5 kilometres north of Boulogne.

From the centre of Boulogne take the A16 to Calais and exit at junction 33. Follow the D242 into Wimereux and at the first roundabout in town, take the third exit, continuing on the D242 and after approximately 200 metres, turn left into a one way road. The Cemetery lies at the end of this road.

Alternatively from Boulogne take the coastal road past the Nausicaa Aquarium and small monument to the Legion of Honour, at the top of the hill, towards Wimereux. On arriving in the town stay on the road until a roundabout directing you towards the Autoroute and Calais (this is the far end of the D 242). Turn right and at the next junction, not a large one, turn right following the signs for the Southern Cemetery (Cimitière Sud).

You can sometimes get parked on the left hand side of the road near the cemetery gate if not there is space by the main entrance a little further down the hill. Be aware that this is a one-way street. To leave the cemetery, follow the road down to the bottom of the hill where you will join the main coast road. Turning left takes you back to Boulogne. Turn right and you will be back to the roundabout for the Autoroute.

The Commonwealth War Graves are situated to the rear of the Communal Cemetery. Because of the sandy nature of the soil, the headstones lie flat upon the graves.

The opening hours are :

  • 1st November to 31st March 0800 to 1700 hours
  • 1st April to 31st October 0800 to 1900 hours
Decimal50.7739861.614465 Map
Wimereux Communal Cemetery

Historical Information

Wimereux was the headquarters of the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps during the First World War and in 1919 it became the General Headquarters of the British Army.

From October 1914 onwards, Boulogne and Wimereux formed an important hospital centre and until June 1918, the medical units at Wimereux used the communal cemetery for burials, the south-eastern half having been set aside for Commonwealth graves, although a few burials were also made among the civilian graves. By June 1918, this half of the cemetery was filled, and subsequent burials from the hospitals at Wimereux were made in the new military cemetery at Terlincthun.

Wimereux Communal Cemetery

During the Second World War, British Rear Headquarters moved from Boulogne to Wimereux for a few days in May 1940, prior to the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk. Thereafter, Wimereux was in German hands and the German Naval Headquarters were situated on the northern side of the town. After D-Day, as Allied forces moved northwards, the town was shelled from Cap Griz-Nez, and was re-taken by the Canadian 1st Army on 22 September 1944.

Wimereux Communal Cemetery contains 2,847, Commonwealth burials of the First World War, two of them unidentified.

Buried among them is Lt.-Col. John McCrae, author of the poem In Flanders Fields.

The McCrae bench

On your right you will see a memorial seat quoting some of McCrae’s lines.

There are also five French and a plot of 170 German war graves.

The cemetery also contains 14 Second World War burials, six of them unidentified.

The Commonwealth section was designed by Charles Holden.

Lance Corporal Benjamin Lynch

Lance Corporal Benjamin Lynch 9552
2nd Bn Leinster Regiment
Died on 22nd August 1915 aged 23
Son of John and Mary Lynch
of North Strand, Dublin

Grave: I J 20A

Private A Coppock

Private A Coppock 8808
2nd Bn Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Died on 22nd May 1915

Grave: I H 26

Sister Myrtle Wilson

Sister Myrtle Wilson
Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military
Nursing Service
Died on 23rd December 1915 aged 38
Daughter of Andrew and Catherine Wilson
of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Left Queensland for Nursing Service, April 1915

Grave: III M 1

Bugler Rangihiwinui Hiroti

Bugler Rangihiwinui Hiroti 16/379
1st Bn NZ Maori (Pioneer) Battalion
Died on 5th June 1916 aged 21
Son of Katarino Hiroti
of Gonville, Wanganui, New Zealand

Grave: I N 3A

Private Joseph Zorian

Private Joseph Zorian 60589
2nd Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Died on 13th October 1917 aged 19
Son of Mr K and Helen Zorian
of Diarbekir, in Armenia
Educated at Manchester Municipal
Secondary School,
Employed at Ayrton’s Engineering Works,
at Belle Vue

Grave: VI D 2A

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Amongst the gravestones is John McCrae the author of the poem: In Flanders Fields. You will find him next to the cross.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
Canadian Army Medical Corps
Died on 28th January 1918 aged 45
Son of Colonel David and Janet McCrae
of Guelph, Ontario.

John McCrae was a Canadian doctor who started to write verse at McGill University.

He went to Europe in 1914 as a gunner, but transferred to the Medical Service.

His poem In Flanders Fields first appeared in Punch during December 1915 and became the most famous poem of the War. It was written at Essex Farm Cemetery, during the second Battle of Ypres, following the death of a friend.

In January 1918 McCrae was appointed consultant to all the British Armies in France but he died of pneumonia before he could take up the post.

A book of his poems was published in 1919. McCrae also wrote a book on pathology.

Grave: IV A 3

Other cemeteries in the area