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Webmatters : Polygon Wood Cemetery

Polygon Wood Cemetery


Polygon Wood 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, Buttes New British Cemetery (within the wood) and the New Zealand Memorial within Buttes Cemetery.

Decimal50.8561482.992208 Map
Polygon Wood cemetery

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.

Map of Polygon Wood

The outline of the wood with the cemeteries at the top

Polygon Wood Cemetery is an irregular front-line cemetery made between August 1917 and April 1918, and used again in September 1918.

The cemetery contains 107 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 19 of them unidentified. 60 of those buried here served with the New Zealand forces. There is also one German grave within the cemetery.

Polygon Wood cemetery

No longer one of the missing

Private John Thomson

Private John Thomson 235495
2nd Bn Gordon Highlanders
Died on 4th October 1917

Husband of Annie Thomson
of 13, Auchterderran Road, Lochgelly, Fife

Grave: D 2A

John had been one of the missing for many years until his body was found by a local gardener in Moleraarelst, Zonnebeke in 1998.

John had a knife with his initials on it, plus his badges to give vital clues. Following DNA tests he was formally identified and reburied here on 21st October 2004.

Two other bodies found at the same time have never been identified and are buried to the right.

Lance Corporal William Leslie

Lance Corporal William Leslie 24/214
2nd Bn 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade
Died on 4th February 1918 aged 30
Son of Charles and Jessie Leslie

Grave: C 3

Private R Christie

Private R Christie 41115
2nd Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers
Died on 28th September 1918 aged 20
Son of Robert Christie, of 50, Wallace St., Ayr

Grave: B 7

Other cemeteries in the area