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Webmatters : Captain Henry Skrine
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Captain Henry Skrine


The memorial crosses to Captain Bowlby and Captain Skrine have been relocated to this very neat and tidy area maintained by the CWGC on the Begijnenbosstrasse to the east of Ieper.

They are not very far from the RE Grave at Railway wood which is signposted off the main Menin Road (N8). Continue up past the Cemetery and drive straight across the N37.

A more direct route is to take the Menin Road (N8) out to Hell Fire Corner (which is now a huge roundabout) then take the N37 for just under a kilometre. You will come to the Begijnenbosstrasse crossroads. Turn left (The RE Grave is now on your right).

You will soon see the memorials a hundred metres or so on your right hand side.

From here you can continue up to the St Charles-Potyze Cemetery or go back to the RE Grave Cemetery.

Memorial cross to Captain Henry Skrine

Decimal 50.855586 2.930340 Map



25th September 1915

On 25th September 1915 the British launched the Battle of Loos in the north of France. This had been planned as a massive set piece action by the British who would use gas for the first time (So much for Allied condemnation of the Germans for having used it only six months earlier).
As part of a number of feints elsewhere it had been decided that V Corps in Belgium would launch an attack on the Bellewaarde Ridge at Hooge.

It could perhaps be said that this was not a serious attempt to break the German line. Artillery ammunition was limited as the guns at Loos were in the middle of the heaviest bombardment they had ever put down. In addition there would be no reserves available.

But, the commanders thought, it might distract the enemy and who knows it just might succeed and we could gain more ground than we were expecting.

With the attack at Loos ready to be launched at 0630 hours, Zero Hour at Bellewaarde was set at 0420 hours.

Zero was marked by the detonation of two pairs of mines under the German positions to the north of Hooge.

Along the main road 3rd Division made some progress, quickly gaining the German front line, but that would be as far as they got as German artillery pinned them down.

To the north on Bellewaarde Ridge the 14th Light Division also made good progress and in some places reached the German support trenches. Attempts, though, to try and bomb their way towards other sections of the trenches to complete the success were thwarted by the severity of the German counter attack.

By evening the only gain had been one of the craters created that morning.

The Official History states :

…subsidiary attacks had thus ended with the assaulting troops back in their original trenches, mainly because the British hand-grenades were inferior in both quality and number to those of the enemy. No German reinforcements other than their local supports had been required to meet them and therefore had not the desired influence on the main battle south of the La Bassée canal.


The Cross

Carries three inscriptions :

To the glory of God and in loving memory of Henry Lancton Skrine Captain 6th Somerset L.I. who fell in action and was buried close to this spot 25th September 1915

In memory also of the men of his company who lie here with him


Henry Skrine was born on 12th November 1880 in Bathford near Bath (Somerset). He was the only son of Colonel Henry and Lady Mary Skrine. He was married to Ferdinanda d’Orgeva.

He had already been a soldier and at the outbreak of WWI he volunteered once more and joined the 6th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry. On his death he was buried in this area along with his men. The graves were lost during later actions and he is today commemorated on Panel 21 of the Menin Gate.

During the clearance of the battlefields in 1919 the original wooden cross marker for Henry Skrine were found but there was no trace of his body. The remnants of the cross were returned to Somerset and can bee seen in the Museum of Somerset at Taunton.


Other monuments in the area