Lancashire Cottage Cemetery is situated about three quarters of a mile east of Ploegsteert Village along what was once the main route to the front lines, only a short distance down the road in front of the hamlet of Le Gheer (now simply Gheer). Begun by the East Lancashire Regiment and the Hampshire Regiment in November 1914, the cemetery was used regularly until early 1916, and occasionally afterwards.
View from the western end of the Cemetery looking east. The headstones nearest the camera comprise Plot III, while Plot II begins just past the shadow of the tree, with Plot I in the distance. The cemetery entrance is to the left of the tree, the road is just beyond the cemetery wall, and in the left background Ploegsteert Wood can just be seen to the north of the road. The front line ran from north to south down the eastern edge of the wood (from left to right in the photo) just half a mile away from here. Here’s the CWGC cemetery plan:
Two special memorial headstones, both “Known to be buried in this cemetery”. Left to right:
|PRIVATE T. J. DAVIES||SOUTH LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||u/k||08/11/1915||Spec. Mem|
|PRIVATE A. CHAPMAN||CHESHIRE REGIMENT||u/k||08/11/1915||Spec. Mem|
Four Durham burials from the last few months of the war, tucked away in the south east corner of the cemetery. Left to right:
|PRIVATE H. IREDALE||DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY||19||01/10/1918||III E 1|
|PRIVATE G. W. GROUNSELL||DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY||19||29/09/1918||III E 2|
|PRIVATE J. SHEARD||DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY||18||30/09/1918||III E 3|
|LANCE CORPORALT. H. CORNER||DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY||25||30/09/1918||III E 4|
View looking east from Plot II towards the Cross. Note the German headstones beneath the southern wall of the cemetery. The headstone nearest the camera is that of Private B. Broomfield (see next photograph).
The lone headstone of Private Broomfield.
Baldrick, here looking particularly stylish, peruses the German headstones.
Three East Lancashire Regiment burials from 1914, left to right:
|LANCE CORPORAL S. LINNEY||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||26||10/11/1914||I A 1|
|PRIVATE E. BICKERSTAFFE||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||u/k||11/11/1914||I A 1|
|PRIVATE R. THOMPSON||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||36||09/11/1914||I A 1|
Three East Lancashire Regiment burials from 1915, left to right:
|PRIVATE E. HIGHAM||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||32||29/01/1915||I E 12|
|LANCE CORPORAL J. SELF||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||18||29/01/1915||I E 12|
|PRIVATE J. T. DEWSNIP||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||u/k||28/01/1915||I E 12|
Lancashire Cottage Cemetery is unusual in that, apart from a few examples in the previous and next two photos, many of the headstones are spaced some distance from each other, as this view across Plot I looking south west shows.
There are some unusual headstones in this cemetery too. Here the headstones to the left and right are each inscribed with two names, whilst the middle one is blank except for the cross, presumably because of the lack of room for a cross on those on either side. The names on the headstone to the left are:
|SERJEANT J. P. CORBETT||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||24||02/11/1914||I A 2|
|LANCE CORPORAL P. DEAKIN||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||u/k||02/11/1914||I A 2|
The names on the right are:
|PRIVATE G. SCHOLES||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||u/k||03/11/1914||I A 2|
|PRIVATE H. CLARKE||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||u/k||02/11/1914||I A 2|
On this occasion the two end headstones are inscribed with three names each, and again the middle one has just a cross. The names on the headstone to the left are:
|PRIVATE G. RAYNER||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||33||12/11/1914||I A 5|
|PRIVATE W. LYNES||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||u/k||14/11/1914||I A 5|
|PRIVATE R. GREEN||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||35||13/11/1914||I A 5|
The names on the right are:
|PRIVATE W. VAREY||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||u/k||09/11/1914||I A 5|
|PRIVATE G. WILSON||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||u/k||12/11/1914||I A 5|
|PRIVATE M. JOYCE||EAST LANCASHIRE REGIMENT||25||11/11/1914||I A 5|
A decorated Corporal of the Devonshires.
Our journey now continues along the southern boundary of the wood to the hamlet of Gheer (visible on the horizon in the picture below). From there we shall head north, following the front line up the eastern edge of the wood, before finally turning west and ending our tour back at Prowse Point Military Cemetery, where it all began.
Watch this space folks. There’s more to come…