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Webmatters : Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Zillebeke
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Perth Cemetery (China Wall)

Location

Perth Cemetery (China Wall) is located 3 km east of Ieper town centre, on the Maaldestedestraat, 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 cross roads, directly over which begins the Meenseweg. 1.7 km along the Meenseweg at a major roundabout lies the right hand turning onto the Maaldestedestraat. The cemetery itself is located 1 Km along the Maaldestedestraat on the left hand side of the road.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.842099 2.920829 Map

Perth Cemetery (China Wall)

 

Historical Information

The cemetery was begun by French troops in November 1914 (the French graves were removed after the Armistice) and adopted by the 2nd Scottish Rifles in June 1917.

It was called Perth (as the predecessors of the 2nd Scottish Rifles were raised in Perth), China Wall (from the communication trench known as the Great Wall of China), or Halfway House Cemetery.

The cemetery was used for front line burials until October 1917 when it occupied about half of the present Plot I and contained 130 graves.

It was not used again until after the Armistice, when graves were brought in from the battlefields around Ypres and from the following smaller cemeteries:

  • Beselare German Cemetery No.1 (246th Reserve Infantry Regiment), close to Beselare Church, contained about 500 German and two British burials.
  • Belgian Château Cemetery, Vlamertinge, in the grounds of a château 2 km South-West of Ypres. It contained the graves of 12 soldiers from the United Kingdom, 11 from Canada, and one French soldier, dating from 1914 to 1917.
  • Broodseinde German Cemeteries, Zonnebeke. These contained the graves of 27 British soldiers, who fell mainly in 1914. Broodseinde gave its name to the Battle of the 4th October 1917; and the Memorial of the 7th Division, which fought here in 1914 and 1917, is a little South of the hamlet on the road to Beselare.
  • Durham Cemetery, Zillebeke, at the North end of the village, was used from December 1915 to March 1916. It contained the graves of 52 soldiers from the United Kingdom, 39 of whom belonged to Territorial battalions of the Durham Light Infantry.
  • Garter Point Cemetery, Zonnebeke, on the road from Zonnebeke to Westhoek, was used from September 1917 to April 1918, and contained the graves of 19 soldiers from Australia, eight from the United Kingdom, one from New Zealand, three of unknown units, and one German.
  • Gordon House Cemetery No.2, Zillebeke, at Gordon House, contained the graves of 30 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1915 and 1917.

Perth Cemetery (China Wall)

  • Hans Kirchner German Cemetery, Poelkapelle, 1.6 km South-East of Poelkapelle village, contained the graves of four soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in October 1914.
  • Houthulst German Cemetery, at the East end of the village, contained the graves of about 1,000 German soldiers and one RFC Officer.
  • Keerselare West German Cemetery, Langemark, a little West of the Zonnebeke-Langemark road, contained the graves of 29 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell mainly in October 1914.
  • Keerselaerhoek German Cemetery, Passendale, about 180 metres North-East of Tyne Cot Cemetery, contained the graves of twelve soldiers from the United Kingdom and two from Canada who fell in 1914 and 1915.
  • Langemark German Cemetery No.7 (also known as Totenwaldchen), 1.6 km North-West of the village, contained the graves of four soldiers from the United Kingdom.
  • Langemark German Cemetery No.8, just beyond the railway on the road to Houthulst, contained the graves of 27 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in October 1914.
  • L’Ebbe Farm Cemetery, Poperinge, about 1.6 km North-West of the town, contained the graves of 21 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1915 and 1918.
  • Manneken Farm German Cemetery No.3, Zarren, in the South-East part of Houthulst Forest, contained the graves of about 700 Germans and 13 British soldiers who fell in 1917.
  • Nachtigall (or Rossignol, or Vieux-Chien) German Cemetery, Gheluvelt, 800 metres North of the Rossignol Cabaret on the Menin Road (near the hamlet of Vieux-Chien), contained the graves of 1,130 German soldiers and 69 from the United Kingdom, most of whom fell in September-October 1915.
  • Poelkapelle German Cemetery No.2, about 1.6 km South-East of the village, contained the graves of 96 soldiers from the United Kingdom and Canada who fell in 1914 and 1915.

Perth Cemetery (China Wall)

  • Poelkapelle German Cemetery No.3, 800 metres South of the village, contained the graves of 23 soldiers from the United Kingdom and 19 from Canada who fell in 1914 and 1915.
  • Ration Dump Burial Ground, Zillebeke, on the road a little South of Gordon House, contained the graves of 28 soldiers from the United Kingdom (mainly London Scottish and Liverpool Scottish) and one from Canada.
  • Reutel German Cemetery, Beselare, on the North side of the Reutel-Zwaanhoek road, contained a very large number of German graves and 125 soldiers and airmen from the United Kingdom, two Canadian soldiers and one from New Zealand, who fell in 1914-1917.
  • St. Joseph German Cemetery, Hooghlede, on the North side of the hamlet of Geite or St. Joseph, contained the graves of four airmen from the United Kingdom who fell in 1918.
  • St. Julien Communal Cemetery, Langemark, contained the graves of six soldiers of the 14th Canadian Battalion who fell in April 1915.
  • St. Julien East German Cemetery, Langemark, on the Langemark-Zonnebeke road, contained the graves of 65 soldiers from the United Kingdom and 31 from Canada who fell in October 1914 and April 1915.
  • Schreiboom German Cemetery, 800 metres East of Langemark village, contained the graves of 34 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in October 1914.
  • Transport Farm Annexe, Zillebeke, 180 metres South of the South-West corner of Zillebeke Lake, and a little East of Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm), contained the graves of 27 soldiers from the United Kingdom (16 of whom belonged to the 1st Dorsets) who fell in November 1914-June 1915.
  • Trench Railway Cemetery, Zillebeke, on the West side of the hamlet of Verbrandenmolen, contained the graves of 21 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1915 and 1916.
  • Treurniet German Cemetery, Poelkapelle, on the road from Poelkapelle village to the railway station, contained the grave of one Canadian soldier.
  • Wallemolen German Cemetery, Passendale, 180 metres South of the hamlet of Wallemolen, contained the graves of 20 soldiers from the United Kingdom and 15 from Canada who fell in 1915.
  • Weidendreft German Cemetery, Langemark, at Weidendreft Farm, used by the Germans from October 1914 to August 1915, contained the graves of 98 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in the Battles of Ypres, 1914.
  • Westroosebeke German Cemetery No.2, 366 metres North-East of the village on the road to Hooghlede, contained the grave of one RAF Officer who fell in August 1918.

There are now 2,791 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 1,369 of the burials are unidentified and special memorials are erected to 27 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials bear the names of 104 casualties buried in the cemeteries concentrated here, whose graves could not be found.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

RE Grave can be seen from here

RE Grave can be seen in the distance from the back of the cemetery

The Hooge Museum and Bellewaerde Park

The triangular building on the right is the Hooge Museum on the Menin Road

 


William Johnston VC

Major William Johnston VC
Royal Engineers
Brigade Major, 15th Infantry Brigade
Died on 8th June 1915 aged 34
Son of Mary and the late Major William Johnston
of 36, Cathcart Rd., South Kensington, London,

Grave: III C 12

The London Gazette 28985
25th November 1914

At Missy, on 14th September under a heavy fire all day until 7 p.m., worked with his own hand two rafts bringing back wounded and returning with ammunition; thus enabling advanced Brigade to maintain its position across the river.


Frederick Birk VC MM

2nd Lieutenant Frederick Birks VC MM
6th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 21st September 1917 aged 23
Son of Samuel and Mary Birks
Born at Buckley, Flintshire, Wales

Grave: I G 45

The London Gazette 30372
8th November 1917

For most conspicuous bravery in attack, when, accompanied by only a corporal, he rushed a strong point which was holding up the advance. The corporal was wounded by a bomb, but 2nd Lt. Birks went on by himself, killed the remainder of the enemy occupying the position, and captured a machine gun.

Shortly afterwards he organised a small party and attacked another strong point which was occupied by about twenty-five of the enemy, of whom many were killed and an officer and fifteen men captured. During the consolidation this officer did magnificent work in reorganising parties of other units which had been disorganised during the operations.

By his wonderful coolness and personal bravery 2nd Lt. Birks kept his men in splendid spirits throughout. He was killed at his post by a shell whilst endeavouring to extricate some of his men who had been buried by a shell.

 


Captain Hon. Charles Monck

Captain Hon. Charles Monck
3rd Bn Coldstream Guards
Died on 21st October 1914 aged 37
Son of 5th Viscount Monck and Viscountess Monck
Husband of the Hon. Mrs. C Monck
Served in the South African Campaign
1899-1902.

St. Julien East German Cemetery
Memorial 107


Lt Colonel Victor Flower

Lt Colonel Victor Flower DSO
London Regiment
13th Kensington Battalion
Died on 15th August 1917 aged 40
Son of the late Sir William Flower
Husband of Winifride Flower
of “Glencaird,” Sheringham, Norfolk

Grave: I E 20


Private Sidney Caton

Private Sidney Caton G/86641
1/8th Bn Middlesex Regiment
Died on 16th August 1917 aged 31
Son of William and Mary Caton
of 48, Lopen Rd, Upper Edmonton, London
Born at Woodford, Essex

Grave: I E 21


Corporal John Beith

Corporal John Beith 27165
15th Bn Canadian Infantry
48th Highlanders of Canada
Died on 24th April 1915 aged 27
Son of Thomas and Sarah Beith

Grave: XIV A 7


Private Alfred Corrick

Private Alfred Corrick 14728
1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment
Died on 6th July 1915 aged 17
Son of William and Ellen Corrick
of 8, Albert St., St. Philip’s, Bristol

Trench Railway Cemetery
Memorial 86


Private Herbert Watts

Private Herbert Watts 15303
2nd Bn Suffolk Regiment
Died on 30th September 1915 aged 17
Son of G and E Watts
of Sturmer, Haverhill, Suffolk

Grave: XI C 9


Private Frederick Thomas

Private Frederick Thomas 9858
3rd Bn Gloucestershire Regiment
Died on 21st October 1914 aged 17
Son of Elizabeth Thomas
of 39, Park St., Gloucester

Grave: XVI B 13

 

Shot at Dawn

There are a number of executed soldiers within the cemetery.


Private George Roe

Private George Roe 3/1433
2nd Bn King’s Own Yorkshire Light infantry
Died on 11th June 1915 aged 19
Son of Mrs Mary Roe
of 24, Brough Street, Sheffield, Yorks

Grave: VI K 20

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Roe had gone missing in the aftermath of the May 1915 fighting on Hill 60 when the Germans employed a chlorine gas discharge. His commanding officer stated that up until his absence Roe had been a good soldier but appeared to have lost his nerve.


Private Thomas Harris

Private Thomas Harris L/10132
1st Bn Royal West Kent Regiment
Died on 21st June 1915 aged 21

Grave: V K 14

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Harris had joined the Army in 1913 but soon found that warfare was not for him and he went missing shortly after the battles of Mons and Le Cateau. He managed to evade the authorities until he was arrested (in Paris !) by the Military police in May 1915.

At his trial on 12th June he pleaded that the experience of battle had been too much for him to stand. His plea for leniency was ignored by his Brigade commander who recommended that the sentence be carried out.


Private Louis Phillips

Private Louis Phillips 10315
6th Bn Somerset Light Infantry
Died on 19th August 1915 aged 23

Grave: VI K 1

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Phillips arrived in France in April 1915 and saw action in the salient in July, following which he went absent for four days. At his Court Martial he stated that he had been stressed by not having received any mail from home for a number of weeks.

 

During the First World War there were eight soldiers of the Worcestershire Regiment shot by firing squad. On the 26th July 1915 the 3rd Bn Worcestershire Regiment shot five of its soldiers for desertion — the largest single execution by the British Army throughout the war.

All five were shot on the Ieper Ramparts but following the war and the consolidation of the smaller cemeteries the five bodies ended up in two different cemeteries. Two are here and the other three (Privates: Alfred Thompson, John Robinson and Bert Hartells) are in Aeroplane Cemetery at Sint Jan.

Private Ernest Fellows

Private Ernest Fellows 9722
3rd Bn Worcestershire Regiment
Died on 26th July 1915 aged 29
Son of James and Emma Fellows
of 65, Moseley Rd., Birmingham
Husband of Mary Crosby (formerly Fellows)
of 5 Court, 5 House, Dymoke St., Birmingham

Grave: V K 13

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Fellows had served in the regiment prior to the war and as an active reservist was recalled to the colours in September 1914.

Early in June 1915 the 3rd Battalion was holding a line of trenches from the Menin Road on the left to Sanctuary Wood on the right. After four days of fighting, on the 9th June 1915 the 3rd Battalion was relieved by the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles.

Whilst the battalion was resting in the area of Poperinge Fellows went missing. He was arrested shortly afterwards and sent for court martial on the 14th July 1915. At his trial he offered no evidence in his defence and was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to death.

Corporal Frederick Ives 12295
3rd Bn Worcestershire Regiment
Died on 26th July 1915 aged 30

Grave: I G 41

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Corporal Ives had only been in France just over a month when on the 15th September 1914 he went absent without permission during the fighting on the Marne. He was already on remand for an earlier offence. Ives managed to avoid capture for 9 months. He was eventually arrested on the 24th June 1915 by an officer of the Army Veterinary Corps. At the time he was wearing civilian clothes.

Ives court martial took place on the 7th July 1915, and in his defence he stated that he had suffered memory loss due to shell fire. Although he was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to death, the members of the court martial recommended mercy on the grounds that he might be telling the truth.

Note that the Commonwealths War Graves Commission shows the date of death incorrectly as the 22nd July 1915. The five men were definitively shot on the same day.

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Canadian Cemetery No.2

Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery

Petit Vimy British Cemetery

CWGC Poppy Button