Orchard Dump
Webmatters : Sanctuary Wood Cemetery
Rough map of area

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery


Sanctuary Wood Cemetery is located 5 Kms east of Ieper town centre, on the Canadalaan, a road leading from the Meenseweg (N8), connecting Ieper to Menen. From Ieper town centre the Meenseweg is located via Torhoutstraat and right onto Basculestraat. Basculestraat ends at a main cross roads, directly over which begins the Meenseweg. 3 Kms along the Meenseweg lies the right hand turning onto Canadalaan. The cemetery itself is located 1.5 Kms along Canadalaan on the right hand side of the road. 100 metres beyond the cemetery at the end of the Canadalaan is the Hill 62 Memorial.

Decimal50.838392.94433 Map
Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

The grave of Gilbert Talbot

Historical Information

Sanctuary Wood is one of the larger woods in the commune of Zillebeke. It was named in November 1914, when it was used to screen troops behind the front line. It was the scene of fighting in September 1915 and was the centre of the Battle of Mount Sorrel (2nd -13th June 1916) involving the 1st and 3rd Canadian Divisions.

There were three Commonwealth cemeteries at Sanctuary Wood before June 1916, all made in May-August 1915.

The first two were on the western end of the wood, the third in a clearing further east. All were practically obliterated in the Battle of Mount Sorrel, but traces of the second were found and it became the nucleus of the present Sanctuary Wood Cemetery.

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

At the Armistice, the cemetery contained 137 graves. From 1927 to 1932, Plots II-V were added and the cemetery extended as far as ‘Maple Avenue’, when graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields. They came mainly from the communes immediately surrounding Ypres, but a few were taken from Nieuport (on the coast) and the following smaller cemeteries:

  • Beythem Communal Cemetery, Rumbeke (one United Kingdom burial of October 1918).
  • Deerlyck German Cemetery (two United Kingdom burials of October 1918; two others were taken to Dadizeele New British Cemetery).
  • Donegal Farm German Cemetery, Dranoutre, on the more Southerly road from Dranoutre to Lindenhoek (one unidentified British officer).
  • Eiskellar German Cemetery, Gheluvelt, the cemetery of Infantry Regiment No 106, between Veldhoek and Herenthage Chateau (one unidentified; one other burial was taken to Harlebeke New British Cemetery).
  • Flanders Field American Cemetery, Waereghem, one of the American Military Cemeteries (one RAF Officer).
  • Hollebeke Cemetery No.60 (or Three Houses German Cemetery) (one unidentified; others were taken to Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery, Wytschaete).
Sanctuary Wood Cemetery
  • Ingelmunster German Cemetery (two RFC three other British were taken to Harlebeke New British Cemetery).
  • Kastelhoek German Cemetery (No.61), Hollebeke, on the road from Houthem to Zillebeke (five United Kingdom soldiers who died January-February 1917; others were taken to Harlebeke New British Cemetery).
  • Klein-Zillebeke German Cemetery, Zillebeke, between Klein-Zillebeke and Zwarteleen (three unidentified).
  • Kortekeer German Cemetery No.12A, Langemarck, on the road running North from Kortekeer, which is between Langemarck and Bixschoote (three United Kingdom graves of 1914).
  • Kruiseecke German Cemetery, Comines, on the road from Becelaere to Wervicq (two unidentified; other British were taken to Zantvoorde British Cemetery).
  • L’Alouette German Cemetery, Neuve-Eglise, 2,000 metes due East of Neuve-Eglise village (three unidentified).
  • Langemarck German Cemetery N0.9, on the Pilckem road (five United Kingdom soldiers).
  • LangemarckLangemarck North German Cemetery, on the road to Koekuit and Clercken (one unidentified).
  • Menin Communal Cemetery (one United Kingdom grave of 1914).
  • Messines German Cemetery No.2, at the North-East corner of the village (seven United Kingdom graves of 1915).
  • Messines German Cemetery No.3, a little East of the Church (one United Kingdom grave and one Canadian).
  • Motor Car Corner Cemetery German Extension, Ploegsteert (seven unidentified who fell in 1918).
  • Petit-Pont German Cemetery, Ploegsteert, between Petit-Pont and Hill 63 (two unidentified MGC Officers).
  • Rabschloss German Cemetery No.64, Messines, 1500 metres West of Hollebeke village (one unidentified).
  • Reutel German Cemetery, Becelaere (ten unidentified; other British were taken to Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Zillebeke).
  • Slypskappelle Churchyard, Moorslede (two United Kingdom soldiers and one Newfoundland; one other is still buried there).
  • Terdeghem Cemetery (Nord, France) (four RGA and one Canadian).
  • Thourout German Cemetery No.2, due East of Hooghe, on the road running North from Thourout (two RAF, September 1918). Most of these burials were from the 1914 Battles of Ypres and the Allied offensive of the autumn of 1917.

In Plot I is buried Lieutenant G.W.L. Talbot, in whose memory Talbot House at Poperinghe was established in December 1915. The first list of the graves was made by his brother the Reverend Neville Talbot, MC, later Bishop of Pretoria.

There are now 1,989 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 1,353 of the burials are unidentified. Many graves, in all five plots, are identified in groups but not individually.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

The Eade Brothers

This is part of a collective grave for the eight casualties from this same battery.

Gunner Victor Eade 75431
51st Battery
Royal Field Artillery

Sons of Alfred and Georgina Eade
of The Home of Rest, Graffham, Sussex
Bombardier Lawrence Eade 55752
51st Battery
Royal Field Artillery
Died on 20th November 1914 aged 24

Grave: III H 27/34

Grave: III H 27/34

The Linnell Brothers
Private Percy Linnell 1638
1/4th Bn Lincolnshire Regiment
Died on 27th July 1915 aged 19

Sons of George and Kate Linnell
of 33, Mill Lane, Lincoln
Private Clarence Linnell 2799
1/4th Bn Lincolnshire Regiment
Died on 27th July 1915 aged 22

Grave: II M 14

Grave: II M 15

Lieutenant Gilbert Talbot

Lieutenant Gilbert Talbot
7th Bn Rifle Brigade
Died on 30th July 1915 aged 23
Son of the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Winchester
and the Hon. Mrs. E. S. Talbot
of Farnham Castle, Surrey
Born at Leeds.

Brother of the Rev. Neville Talbot who,
with the Rev. Tubby Clayton, named
the soldier’s club, Talbot House (Toc H)
in his memory

Grave: I G 1

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

Fliegerhauptmann Hans Roser
Died on 25th July 1915

Hans Roser was observer in the third aircraft to fall victim to Captain Lanoe Hawker in this area on the 25th July. Subsequent to this victory Hawker was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Lt Keith Rae Rifle Brigade Memorial
Memorial Cross to 2nd Lt Keith Rae

Just outside the cemetery to the left of the entrance you will see this cross which is a private memorial to 2nd Lieutenant Keith Rae of the 8th Bn Rifle Brigade. He was killed during the German flamethrower attack on Hooge Chateau on 30th July 1915.

Twenty-five year old Rae’s body was never recovered and the family raised the cross on the chateau grounds. When it became impossible to guarantee its upkeep the cross was moved to this location.

He is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

Other cemeteries in the area