Locre Hospice Cemetery is located 10.5 kilometres south west of Ieper town centre.
From Ieper town railway station turn right off the ring road onto the N375 towards Dikkebus and Loker. Once in Loker (where there are a number of memorials and a CWGC cemetery) take the left hand turn at the church onto the Kemmelbergweg. Then turn immediately right onto Godtschalckstraat. The cemetery is located 900 metres along the Godtschalckstraat on the right hand side of the road. A small twenty metre grassed access path leads to this site.
The cemetery is not always visible from the road but the entrance is immediately alongside the house on your right just after the Convent. Parking can be difficult.
If on leaving the cemetery you continue straight on (away from Loker) you will arrive at the French Ossuary at the foot of the Kemmelberg (Mont Kemmel).
Locre (now Loker) was in Allied hands during the greater part of the war, and field ambulances were stationed in the Convent of St Antoine.
The village changed hands several times between 25 and 30 April 1918, when it was recaptured by the French. The hospice, or convent, was the scene of severe fighting on 20 May, but was not retaken until first week in July.
The Hospice Cemetery was begun in June 1917 by field ambulances and fighting units, and was used until April 1918.
After the Armistice four graves were transferred to it from the garden of the Hospice, which was ultimately rebuilt. The cemetery now contains 244 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 12 of the burials are unidentified and ten graves destroyed by shellfire are now represented by special memorials.
The 14 Second World War burials date from late May 1940 and the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force to Dunkirk ahead of the German advance. There are also two German burials in the cemetery.
The cemetery was designed by W H Cowlishaw.
Just to the rear of the cemetery and in a plot of its own lies the grave of the Irish Nationalist MP and brother of the movement’s leader John Redmond.
Major William Redmond
6th Bn Royal Irish Regiment
Died on 7th June 1917 aged 56
Husband of Eleanor Redmond
Nationalist Member of Parliament for Wexford since 1884
Awarded the Legion of Honour (France).
Following his death at the Battle of Messines Redmond was originally buried in the Nuns’ Garden within the hospice alongside other graves. (The modern building was rebuilt on the other side of the road). When the graves were consolidated into the cemetery, Eleanor Redmond, his widow, requested that the body be left where it was. The nuns gave their consent and for many years this was a private plot. The grave is now in the care of the CWGC.
William Redmond had succeeded his father as MP for Waterford and had travelled to Australia with his brother on a number of occasions, writing two books about his travels there.
When the war broke out he agreed with his brother John that Ireland should fight and despite his age joined the 6th Royal Irish Regiment at its formation.
Although in his fifties he had insisted on being allowed to lead his men forward in the battle at Messines on 7th June 1917.
He was wounded once and then again. The wounds were more serious for a man of his years.
By chance the stretcher bearers were from the 36th (Ulster) Division who were fighting alongside Redmond’s 16th (Irish) Division, for the first time in their history.
Private John Meeke from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was one of those stretcher bearers, and had noticed Redmond falling wounded.
Meeke was a member of the original Ulster Volunteer Force, formed to oppose the Redmonds’ Nationalist ideals. At home in Ireland they would have been very much on opposing sides. Here on the battlefield however, things were different.
Whilst looking after Redmond, Meeke was himself hit by shrapnel but managed to get Redmond back to the 36th Division’s dressing station.
Unfortunately his wounds were too serious and Willie Redmond never recovered from the shock.
John Meeke survived the war, although he died quite young in December 1923, aged just 28.
Brigadier General Ronald Maclachlan DSO
Formerly Rifle Brigade
Commanding 112th Infantry Brigade
Died on 11th August 1917 aged 45
Son of the Rev Campbell Maclachlan
of Newton Valence, Alton, Hants
Husband of Elinor Maclachlan
of Rookley House, Kings Somborne, Hants
Grave: II C 9
Lt Colonel Chester-Master DSO and Bar
13th Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Died on 30th August 1917 aged 47
Son of Colonel Thomas and
Husband of Geraldine Chester-Master
of Querns Lane House, Cirencester
Chief Constable of Gloucestershire
Native of Cirencester, Glos.
Grave: II C 8
Private Daniel O’Connell 13583
7th/8th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers
Died on 7th June 1917
Born in Newcastle West, Co Limerick.
Grave: I A 5
Private Thomas Price 4692
2nd Bn Royal Irish Regiment
Died on 7th June 1917 aged 24
Son of Robert and Bridget Price
of Hurley’s Lane, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary
Grave: I A 6
Private William Jones 15954
9th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Died on 25th October 1917
Grave: I C 4
Shot at Dawn for desertion
Jones was under a suspended sentence for desertion when he used his position as a stretcher bearer to slip away on 15th June 1917. He gave himself up in Bristol three months later and was returned to Belgium where he was shot on Mont Kemmel on 25th October 1917. 68 men from his Battalion were killed during his absence.
Private Denis Blakemore 40435
8th Bn North Staffordshire Regiment
Died on 9th July 1917 aged 28
Son of George and Sophia Blakemore
of 3 St George’s St, Mountfields, Shrewsbury.
Native of Bicton, Shrewsbury.
Grave: I A 22
Shot at Dawn for desertion
Arrested in Boulogne after having deserted (for the second time) during the first day of the Battle for Messines. Like Jones he was already under a suspended sentence for desertion. His explanation that he was too upset to go into battle fell on deaf ears at his Court Martial (27 men from his Battalion were killed during his absence). Having previously been sentenced to death on 25th May 1917, the second conviction led to his execution at Mont Kemmel on 9th July 1917.