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Webmatters : Aeroplane Cemetery, Potijze
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Aeroplane Cemetery

Location

Aeroplane Cemetery is located 3.5 kilometres north east of Ieper town centre on the Zonnebeekseweg (N332), a road connecting Ieper to Zonnebeke. Two roads connect Ieper town centre onto the Zonnebeekseweg; the Torhoutstraat leads from the market square onto a small roundabout. At the roundabout the first right turn is Basculestraat. At the end of Basculestraat there is a crossroads and Zonnebeekseweg is the turning to the left. The cemetery itself lies three kilometres along the Zonnebeekseweg on the right hand side of the road, shortly after the French cemetery.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.864193 2.930893 Map

Aeroplane Cemetery

 

Historical Information

From October 1914 to the summer of 1918, Ypres (now Ieper) was the centre of a salient held by Commonwealth (and for some months also by French) forces.

The site of the cemetery was in No Man’s Land before 31st July 1917 when the 15th (Scottish) Division, with the 55th (West Lancashire) Division on their left, took nearby Verlorenhoek and Frezenberg. The cemetery was begun the following month (under the name of the New Cemetery, Frezenberg) by the 15th and the 16th (Irish) Divisions, but by October it had acquired its present name from the wreck of an aeroplane which lay near the present position of the Cross of Sacrifice. It was used by fighting units until March 1918, and again, after a period of occupation by the Germans, in September 1918. Plots II to VIII, and part of Plot I, were formed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from small burial grounds and the surrounding battlefields.

The only considerable burial grounds concentrated into Aeroplane Cemetery were the following:

  • Bedford House Cemetery (Enclosure No. 5), Zillebeke, a little East of the Ypres-Wytschaete Road. This enclosure, which was separate from the others now forming Bedford House Cemetery, contained the graves of 14 men of the 1st Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and six of the 1st Devons who fell in April 1915.
  • Lock 8 Cemetery, Voormezeele, in a field about 200 metres North of Lock 8 on the Ypres-Comines Canal. It contained the graves of 19 soldiers from the United Kingdom and two from Australia and two German prisoners, who fell in July-September, 1917.

There are now 1,105 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 636 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate eight casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Aeroplane Cemetery

 


Lieutenant Stanley Bates

Lieutenant Stanley Bates
1/5th Bn King’s Own
Royal Lancaster Regiment
Died on 9th May 1915 aged 17
Son of Lieutenant Colonel John Bates, TD
1st/5th Bn. King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regt
and Sarah Bates
of Fir Bank, Penrith, Cumberland
Gazetted 10th Aug., 1914
from Royal Lancaster Grammar School Cadet Corps
Native of Morecambe, Lancs

Grave: II B 41


Private H Brickhill

Private H Brickhill 10658
Served as H Brixton
3rd Regiment
South African Infantry
Died on 18th September 1917

Grave: I C 12


Private William Hoskins

Private William Hoskins 217
5th Dragoon Guards
Princess Charlotte of Wales’s
Died on 14th May 1915 aged 27
Son of William Hoskins
of Parsonage Lane, Chilcompton, Bath
Husband of Margaret Hoskins,
of West Grove, Heswall, Heswall Hill, Birkenhead

Grave: II A 4


Private John Batey

Private John Batey 1617
1/9th Bn Durham Light Infantry
Died on 12th May 1915 aged 17
Son of Robert and Fanny Batey
of 23, Peel St., Southbank, Yorks

Grave: VIII A 14


Private Joseph McDonald

Private Joseph McDonald 414435
3rd Division
Canadian Machine Gun Corps
Died on 2nd June 1916 aged 17
Son of Michael and Elizabeth McDonald
of New Waterford, Nova Scotia

Grave: VI A 35

 

Shot at Dawn

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. Three are here and the other two (Corporal Fred Ives and Private Ernest Fellows) are in Perth (China Wall) Cemetery at Zillebeke.


Private A Thompson

Private Alfred Thompson 7625
3rd Bn Worcestershire Regiment
Died on 26th July 1915 aged 25
Son of Mrs. Martha Thompson
of 24 Florence St., Holloway Head, Birmingham.

Grave: II A 8

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Thompson and Robinson (see below) were both regular soldiers and had been in France from the beginning of the war in Robinson’s case and November 1914 in Thompson’s. On the 27th June 1915 having been warned for duty at Hooge the two men made off and managed to reach Abancourt (thirty odd kilometres south-west of Amiens in France) where they boarded a train for Rouen on 5th July.

It was as far as they got, both were arrested. At their hearing both men were described as being good soldiers but suffering from nervous strain.


Private John Robinson

Private John Robinson 7377
3rd Bn Worcestershire Regiment
Died on 26th July 1915 aged 31
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Robinson
of 120, Long Acre, Nechells, Birmingham

Grave: II A 6/7

Shot at Dawn for desertion

See Thompson above.


Private Bert Hartells

Private Bert Hartells 8164
3rd Bn Worcestershire Regiment
Died on 26th July 1915 aged 32

Grave: II A 6/7

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Hartells had originally joined the army in 1904, before transferring to the reserves. He was mobilised at the beginning of the war and like Robinson (above) arrived in France at the very beginning of the war. In November he absented himself and on his capture received a 3 month prison sentence in March 1915. Almost immediately on his release, on 15th June 1915, he made off again and this time was classed as a deserter. This time he received a death sentence.

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Canadian Cemetery No.2

Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery

Petit Vimy British Cemetery

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