Orchard Dump
Webmatters : Essex Farm Cemetery, Boezinge

Essex Farm Cemetery


Boezinge is a village in the province of West Flanders, north of Ieper on the Diksmuidseweg road (N369). From the station turn left into M.Fochlaan and go to the roundabout, then turn right and continue to the next roundabout. Turn left and drive to the next roundabout and then turn right into Oude Veurnestraat. At the roundabout turn left onto the Diksmuidseweg, and follow the road under the motorway bridge; the Cemetery will be found on the right hand side of the road.

Decimal50.8708932.873196 Map
Essex Farm Cemetery

Historical Information

The land south of Essex Farm was used as a dressing station cemetery from April 1915 to August 1917. The burials were made without definite plan and some of the divisions which occupied this sector may be traced in almost every part of the cemetery, but the 49th (West Riding) Division buried their dead of 1915 in Plot I, and the 38th (Welsh) Division used Plot III in the autumn of 1916.

There are 1,200 servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 103 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate 19 casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

It was in Essex Farm Cemetery that Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army Medical Corps wrote the poem In Flanders Fields in May 1915.

The 49th Division Memorial is immediately behind the cemetery, on the canal bank.

Memorial to John McCrae

The memorial to Lt Colonel John McCrae
He died in 1918 and is buried in Wimereux Communal Cemetery (France)

The concrete bunkers of the new dressing station

The concrete Dressing Station bunkers alongside the cemetery
These are more modern than McCrae had use of in 1915

Along the canal bank

The canal bank

Thomas Barratt VC

17114 Private Thomas Barratt VC
7th Bn South Staffordshire Regiment
Died on 27th July 1917 aged 22
Son of James and Sarah Barratt

Grave: I Z 8

The London Gazette No. 30272
4th September 1917

For most conspicuous bravery when as Scout to a patrol he worked his way towards the enemy line with the greatest gallantry and determination, in spite of continuous fire from hostile snipers at close range. These snipers he stalked and killed. Later his patrol was similarly held up, and again he disposed of the snipers.

When during the subsequent withdrawal of the patrol it was observed that a party of the enemy were endeavouring to outflank them, Private Barratt at once volunteered to cover the retirement, and this he succeeded in accomplishing. His accurate shooting caused many casualties to the enemy, and prevented their advance.

Throughout the enterprise he was under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and his splendid example of coolness and daring was beyond all praise. After safely regaining our lines, this very gallant soldier was killed by a shell.

Rifleman Valentine Strudwick

Rifleman Valentine Strudwick 5750
8th Bn Rifle Brigade
Died on 14th July 1916 aged 15
Son of Louisa Strudwick
of 70 Orchard Rd, Dorking

Grave: I U 8

One of the youngest battle casualties of the war

Private G Johnson

Private G Johnson 1700
1/5th Bn West Yorkshire Regiment
Prince of Wales’s Own
Died on 28th September 1915 aged 18
Son of J and Mary Johnson
of 17, Portland St, York

Grave: I M 14

Lieutenant Alec Johnston

Lieutenant Alec Johnston
1st Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
Died on 22nd April 1916 aged 26
Son of George Johnston, MD
of 23, Seymour St, Portman Square, London

Grave: II Q 19

Other cemeteries in the area