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Kemmel Château Military Cemetery


Kemmel Château Military Cemetery is located 8 km south of Ieper on a road leading from the Kemmelseweg (N331), connecting Ieper to Kemmel.

From Ieper town centre the Kemmelseweg is reached via the Rijselsestraat, through the Lille Gate (Rijselpoort) and straight on towards Armentières (N336). 900 metres after the crossroads is the right hand turning onto the Kemmelseweg (made prominent by a railway level crossing).

On reaching the village of Kemmel the first right hand turning leads onto the Reningelststraat. 600 metres along the Reningelststraat lies the right hand turning onto Nieuwstraat. 500 metres along the Nieuwstraat on the right hand side of the road lies the cemetery.

Decimal50.7867092.828894 Map
Kemmel Château Military Cemetery

Historical Information

Kemmel Château was north-east of Kemmel village and the cemetery was established on the north side of the château grounds in December 1914. It continued to be used by divisions fighting on the southern sectors of the Belgian front until March 1918, when after fierce fighting involving both Commonwealth and French forces, the village and cemetery fell into German hands in late April. The cemetery was retaken later in the year, but in the interval it was badly shelled and the old château destroyed.

There are now 1,135 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in the cemetery and 21 from the Second World War (which all date from the Allied withdrawal ahead of the German advance of May 1940).

The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Lt Colonel Guy du Maurier

Lt Colonel Guy du Maurier DSO
3rd Bn Royal Fusiliers
Died on 9th March 1915 aged 49
Son of George and Emma du Maurier
husband of Gwendolen du Maurier
of 111 Church St, Chelsea, London
Served in the Burmese and
South African Campaigns.
Born in London.

Grave: L4

Viva adhuc
Et desiderio

Lt Colonel du Maurier was the elder of two sons of the famous author and cartoonist George du Maurier (Creator of the characters Trilby and Svengali and inspiration behind Gaston Leroux’s: Phantom of the Opera).

His sister Sylvia Llewelyn Davies became friendly with the writer J M Barrie when he started writing his stories of Peter Pan based on her son George and his brothers.

His brother, the actor: Sir Gerald du Maurier would interpret the role of Captain Hook in the staged production of Peter Pan.

George Llewelyn Davies was killed a few days after hearing from Barrie of his uncle’s demise and is buried in Voormezele Enclosure No 3.

As a major, du Maurier had written a play called An Englishman’s Home which saw some success in 1909 after Barrie had assisted with its production.

Gerald’s daughter: Daphne du Maurier would also become a famous authoress (Hitchcock’s The Birds is based on one of her short stories).

Captain Capel O'Brien Butler

Captain Capel O’Brien Butler MC
6th Bn Royal Irish Regiment
Died on 7th June 1917 aged 27
Son of Maj Pierce O’Brien Butler (late 60th Foot)
Husband of Phyllis O’Brien Butler

Grave: X 74

His brother Paget also fell as did his brother-in-law Hugh O’Brien. The eldest brother: Pierce died during the Boer War.

Count Ove Krag-Juel-Vind-Frijs

Private Count Ove Krag-Juel-Vind-Frijs 73446
28th Bn CEF
Saskatchewan Regiment
Died on 15th November 1915 aged 25
Son of Jens Christian Krag-Juel-Vind-Frijs
Count of Juellinge, Lolland, Denmark
and Agnes Krag-Juel-Vind-Frijs (nee Ahlefeldt-Laurvigen).

Grave: K 59

Nu lukker sig mit oje
Gud fader i det hoje
I varetaegt mig tag

The Battalion War Diary simply reports: One man killed by sniper.

His attestation papers state that he had been a bank clerk with previous service in the Danish Royal Life Guards and was already a member of the Canadian Militia.

Captain James Roche

Captain James Roche MC
47th TMB Royal Field Artillery
Died on 7th June 1917 aged 29
Son of Stephen and Elsie Roche
of Monasterevan, Co Kildare
Native of Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry

Grave: X 78

An roisteac
Flaiteamail fearamah
Nar tug ariam eiteac

Private John McCullough Hunter

Private John Hunter L/16070
3rd Bn Royal Fusiliers
Died on 10th March 1915 aged 16
Son of James and Mary Hunter
of 77, Sussex Rd, Southall, Middlesex
Born at Motherwell

Grave: H 66

Corporal William Mackinnon

Corporal William Mackinnon 80045
31st Bn Canadian Infantry
Died on 7th November 1915 aged 28
Son of Ronald and Jeanie MacKinnon
Husband of Agnes MacKinnon
of Greenwell, Fauldhouse, West Lothian

Grave: K 56

Shot at Dawn

Private Stanley Stewart

Private Stanley Stewart 6730
2nd Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers
Died on 29th August 1917 aged 21
Son of Sarah Stewart
of 12 Bentick St, Kilmarnock
Born at Liverpool.

Grave: G 66

Fondly remembered
By his sorrowing mother

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Stewart had arrived with his Battalion in France in November 1914. The following month he was injured enough to be sent back to England and diagnosed as being shell-shocked. At some stage he was diagnosed fit for service and returned to the front where he went absent on 25th July 1917.

He was captured but managed to make his escape when a shell burst nearby distracted his arresting officers. His bout of freedom did not last long and he was brought for trial.

During the trial he stated that he was fearful of the shelling and also stated that he had been an inmate, from 1908 to 1912, at Glasgow Asylum Ayrshire. He had been sent home twice having wandered away from his unit. All of this appears to have fallen on deaf ears as no medical examination was carried out.

Private James Smith

Private James Smith 52929
17th Bn King’s (Liverpool) Regiment
Died on 5th September 1917 aged 26
Son of James and Elizabeth Smith
of 52, Noble St, Bolton

Grave: M 25

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Smith had joined the army before the war had broken out being recruited into the Lancashire Fusiliers. He later went on to serve with them at Gallipoli. Returning to France he took part in the First Day of the Somme in 1916. There he was buried alive by an explosion in October of that year and was sent back to Bolton to recover.

Returning to France he joined the 17th Bn King’s Regiment. He went absent in December and again in July 1917, each time being given Field Punishments. Aware that the 3rd Battle of Ypres was about to begin Smith once again went absent and was arrested this time at Poperinge.

His multiple offences were not aided by his remaining silent throughout the entire court proceedings. Nor was he given somebody to act in his defence. The inevitable guilty verdict was given and this time it was not commuted.

Other cemeteries in the area