Orchard Dump
Webmatters : Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood

Buttes New British Cemetery


Buttes New British Cemetery is located 8 kilometres east of Ieper town centre, on the Lange Dreve 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 crossroads, directly over which begins the Meenseweg.

4.7 kilometres along the Meenseweg and after passing the Bellewaerde theme park lies the left hand turning onto Oude Kortrijkstraat. 2 kilometres along the Oude Kortrijkstraat the road crosses the A19 motorway. Immediately after this bridge is the left hand turning onto the Lotegatstraat, which borders Polygon Wood. 800 metres along the Lotegatstraat is the right hand turning onto Lange Dreve. The Cemetery is located 1 kilometre along the Lange Dreve on the left hand side of the road.

There is a parking area for this cemetery, the New Zealand Memorial within Buttes Cemetery and Polygon Wood Cemetery — on the roadside.

Decimal50.8561482.992208 Map
Australian 5th Division Memorial

Historical Information

Polygon Wood (the Polygone de Zonnebeke, or Polygoneveld) is a large wood south of the village of Zonnebeke which was completely devastated in the First World War. The wood was cleared by Commonwealth troops at the end of October 1914, given up on 3rd May 1915, taken again at the end of September 1917 by Australian troops, evacuated in the Battles of the Lys, and finally retaken by the 9th (Scottish) Division on 28th September 1918. On the Butte itself is the Battle Memorial of the 5th Australian Division, who captured it on 26th September 1917.

A dawn service is held here on ANZAC Day : 25th April. A shuttle service running from one of the Bellewaerde Park Car Parks.

Map of Polygon Wood

A walled avenue leads from Polygon Wood Cemetery, past the Cross of Sacrifice, to the Buttes New British Cemetery. This burial ground was made after the Armistice when a large number of graves (almost all of 1917, but in a few instances of 1914, 1916 and 1918) were brought in from the battlefields of Zonnebeke.

There are now 2,108 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Buttes New British Cemetery. 1,677 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials are erected to 35 casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

The Buttes New British Cemetery (New Zealand) Memorial, which stands in Buttes New British Cemetery, commemorates 378 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the Polygon Wood sector between September 1917 and May 1918, and who have no known grave.

The cemeteries and memorial were designed by Charles Holden.

Looking down towards the New Zealand Memorial

Looking down towards the memorial from the buttes

Private Thomas McLean

Private Thomas McLean 19728
New Zealand Maori (Pioneer) Battalion
Died on 17th December 1917 aged 23

Son of Makarini and Heneriata Puhata
of Waitakaro, Ruatorea, New Zealand
Husband of Mate McLean
of Hawai, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Native of East Coast, New Zealand

Special Memorial XII AA 1
Private David Bird

Private David Bird 2633
59th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 26th September 1917

Son of William and Ann Bird
Husband of Agnes Bird
of Inglewood, Victoria, Australia
Native of Harrow, Victoria

Grave: XII B 6
Private Leslie McMurdo

Private Leslie McMurdo 4563
31st Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 26th September 1917 aged 17
Son of Beatrice and the late Thomas McMurdo
of 602, Stamford Hill Rd., Durban, South Africa,.

Grave: XXIV D 7

Gave his life
To bring in
A wounded comrade
Deeply mourned

Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Turnbull

Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Turnbull DSO
Gordon Highlanders
20th Bn Manchester Regiment
Died on 1st October 1917 aged 25
Son of Colonel C Turnbull (retired) and Evelyn Turnbull
of “Redclyffe,” Warren Rd., Torquay.

Grave: I C 9

See Lt Colonel Scott below.

Lieutenant Colonel Alan Scott

Lieutenant Colonel Allan Scott DSO
56th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 1st October 1917 aged 27
Son of Donald and Maria Scott
of Edgmond, Wahroonga, New South Wales
Native of Tumut, New South Wales

Grave: II A 12

One of Australia’s youngest battalion commanders, Scott had fought at Lone Pine, at Gallipoli. On the 1st October 1917 he was handing over the line to the 20th Manchester Regiment when a single round killed him and Lt Colonel Turnbull (above).

Other cemeteries in the area