The cemetery lies just to the south of Neuve Chapelle on the D 947 between Armentières and Béthune. It is within a few hundred metres of the Indian Memorial at the crossroads known as La Bombe (Port Arthur) on the D 171.
On 7 April 1918 the German 6th Army launched the second part of Ludendorff's strategic plan. Originally named George it had been watered down enough for it to have been re-named Georgette.
The objective was Ieper.
In a swinging blow the 6th Army would break the Allied Line under Armentières whilst the 4th Army would attack Ieper in an encircling move from the north.
Sometimes known as the 4th Battle of Ypres, it is more correctly termed the Battle of the Lys.
The first blow fell at Neuve Chapelle on 9 April 1918 against the 2nd Portuguese Division.
Alongside and in support, the British Divisions in the sector had all been involved in Operation Michael on the Somme (The first part of Ludendorff's Spring Offensive) and had been sent north to rest and take on new recruits.
Many Battalions were tired, under strength and with a high percentage of untried raw recruits.
At 04:15 hours the German bombardment began and at 08:00 hours trench mortars were added to finish off the Allied front line. 45 minutes later, four German Divisions made up of well trained and rested assault troops threw themselves at the Portuguese lines.
The Portuguese had already started to retire in the face of the bombardment and apart from a few isolated positions gave the Germans no opposition at all. Within the hour the front line was taken along with 6,000 prisoners.The Battle of the Lys
The following day with the advance of the German 6th Army continuing, the British were forced to give up Armentières and Bailleul would fall on the 15th despite a stout defence.
There are 1 831 graves in the cemetery, 239 of them unknown (Desconhecido). Not all of them were amongst the casualties of the battle of 1918 as some have been brought in from as far away as Belgium.
Immediately opposite the cemetery is a small shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima which was added in 1975.
There is also a small monument and cemetery for Portuguese soldiers in the Boulogne East cemetery.
Within a few hundred metres at the roundabout is the Indian MemorialNeuve Chapelle Indian Memorial