Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery is located 10.5 Kms west of Ieper town centre, in the town of Poperinge (Flemish spelling) itself. From Ieper, Poperinge is reached via N308. From Ieper town centre the Poperingseweg (N308), is reached via Elverdingsestraat then directly over two small roundabouts in the J.Capronstraat. The Poperingseweg is a continuation of the J.Capronstraat and begins after a prominent railway level crossing. On reaching the town of Poperinge the left hand turning from the N308 leads onto the R33 Poperinge ring road. 1 Km along the N33 lies the right hand turning onto Deken De Bolan. The cemetery is located 200 metres from the ring road level with the junction with Polenlaan, on the right hand side of the road.
The town of Poperinghe was of great importance during the First World War because, although occasionally bombed or bombarded at long range, it was the nearest place to Ieper which was both considerable in size and reasonably safe.
It was at first a centre for Casualty Clearing Stations, but by 1916 it became necessary to move these units further back and field ambulances took their places.
The earliest Commonwealth graves in the town are in the communal cemetery, which was used from October 1914 to March 1915. The Old Military Cemetery was made in the course of the First Battle of Ypres and was closed, so far as Commonwealth burials are concerned, at the beginning of May 1915.
One burial was made in 1919. Chinese Labourer Ch’un Wang was executed for the murder of a colleague at De Klijte and is buried in grave : II O 54. It is his firing post that can be seen at the Shot at Dawn Memorial in the Stadhuis courtyard in the town centre.
The New Military Cemetery was established in June 1915. The Old Military Cemetery contains 450 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 24 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to seven casualties known or believed to be buried among them.
The graves of about 800 French and Belgian soldiers and nearly 500 civilians were removed from the cemetery after the Armistice. For the most part, the civilians died in an epidemic of typhoid at the end of 1914, and were buried from an emergency hospital housed in a neighbouring château.
The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.
Captain Alexander Todd
1st Bn Norfolk Regiment
Died on 21 April 1915 aged 41
Son of the late Bruce Todd
of Taymount, Forest Hill.
Played Rugby for the England XV against South Africa in 1896
Served in the South African War
Grave: II M 7
Rifleman Harry Marriott 6377
2nd Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Died on 23 October 1914 aged 29
Son of William and Hannah Marriott
of 20, Hawksley Rd., Nottingham
Grave: I L 5
Guardsman A Wardle 3611
1st Bn Coldstream Guards
Died on 25th October 1914
Grave: I L 6
Private Timothy Peskett L/10382
1st Bn Queen’s Own
Royal West Kent Regiment
Died on 25th March 1915 aged 18
Son of George Peskett
of 32, Howe St., Greenwich, London
Born at Cork
Grave: II O 5
Gunner Raymond Saunders 41589
6th Battery, 2nd Brigade
Canadian Field Artillery
Died on 25th April 1915 aged 18
Son of Josiah Saunders
of Hebron, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Grave: II J 12