The Lille Gate, southern entrance to the city of Ypres. Note the CWGC signpost to right of the picture pointing the way to Ramparts Cemetery (Lille Gate), and the IWGC (all will be explained) signs beneath the Gate itself (see below).
Just to the west of the Lille Gate, Ramparts Cemetery is reflected in the now peaceful waters of the moat. The Cross of Sacrifice is just visible through the trees to the right of the photograph (and in the photo below).
So, the explanation. Beneath the arch of the Gate, old-style Imperial War Graves Commission signs point the way to the cemeteries to the immediate south of Ypres. These are not the original signs*, but when the CWGC decided the old ones needed replacing a few years back, they chose to do so using the old IWGC style, and jolly good job too, I say. We shall, of course, visit all these cemeteries at a later date.
*actually, if you compare photos of the old and new signs, they appear to be so similar (except in condition) that I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that the CWGC had managed to renovate the old ones, rather than make entirely new ones. Anyone out there know?
View from inside the Lille Gate. The IWGC cemetery signs can be seen in the centre, and just to their left, although not visible in the photograph, is a memorial plaque (see below) for which Baldrick can doubtless offer a translation.
Ramparts Cemetery (Lille Gate) is just a short walk from here up to the top of the ramparts, so it’s time we paid it a visit.
Ramparts Cemetery entrance.
Surely one of the prettiest cemeteries in the Salient, Ramparts Cemetery was begun by the French in November 1914, and now contains 198 British graves from between February 1915 and April 1918, the French graves having been later removed.
Thanks to the CWGC, you can check out the cemetery plan below. It is worth remembering that these cemetery plans were all drawn a long time ago, and occasionally are not entirely accurate (compare the fourth photo below with the plan and you’ll see what I mean). Makes it damned tricky at times when you are trying to annotate photographs, I can tell you.
You will probably have noticed that young Baldrick* has nonchalantly snuck his way into this otherwise beautiful photograph of flowers in bloom between the headstones and trees reflected in the still waters of the moat, but as he has brought the delightful Mrs. B with him, we shall forgive him on this occasion.
*You haven’t met Baldrick? May I point you in the direction of the ‘Tour of Ploegsteert Wood’ elsewhere on this site.
View from Row J looking east towards the Cross of Sacrifice. The headstone in the foreground is that of:
|LANCE CORPORAL F. W. MAWSON||AUSTRALIAN ENGINEERS||u/k||09/11/1917||J 24|
Those to the right in the front row are all Royal Engineers.
There are numerous different regiments represented in Ramparts Cemetery. These men in Row H (the second row in the previous picture), all killed on the same August day in 1915, are, right (closest to the camera) to left:
|PRIVATE D. DONNELLY||WEST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT (PRINCE OF WALES’S OWN)||27||09/08/1915||H 8|
|BANDSMAN L. REDMAN||THE BUFFS (EAST KENT REGIMENT)||21||09/08/1915||H 7|
|CORPORAL W. G. RYAN||ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS||31||09/08/1915||H 7|
|GUNNER A. GOODFELLOW||ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY||23||09/08/1915||H 7|
|SAPPER F. R. VINER||ROYAL ENGINEERS||22||09/08/1915||H 7|
|PRIVATE G. F. SMITH||YORK & LANCASTER REGIMENT||34||09/08/1915||H 7|
|PRIVATE J. CONNOR||YORK & LANCASTER REGIMENT||u/k||09/08/1915||H 7|
|PRIVATE N. ARMSTRONG||YORK & LANCASTER REGIMENT||33||09/08/1915||H 7|
|PRIVATE F. J. MAYHEAD||YORK & LANCASTER REGIMENT||u/k||09/08/1915||H 7|
View from near the western edge of the cemetery looking east towards the Cross of Sacrifice. The headstones in Row J in the foreground are, left to right:
|PRIVATE W. BATE||MANCHESTER REGIMENT||19||30/06/1917||J 7|
|PRIVATE W. H. THOMPSON||WILTSHIRE REGIMENT||19||02/06/1917||J 8|
|PRIVATE A. G. BURBIDGE||WILTSHIRE REGIMENT||20||02/06/1917||J 9|
|LANCE CORPORAL P. A. WARMAN||WILTSHIRE REGIMENT||19||02/06/1917||J 10|
|PRIVATE F. H. SPACKMAN||WILTSHIRE REGIMENT||19||02/06/1917||J 11|
|SAPPER M. P. GIFF||CANADIAN ENGINEERS||u/k||03/06/1917||J 12|
|SAPPER E. KUNNOS||CANADIAN ENGINEERS||u/k||29/06/1917||J 13|
Above and below: At the far western edge of the cemetery are stone tablets, inscribed with the words that are to be found somewhere in every CWGC cemetery in Belgium:
“The land on which this cemetery stands is the free gift of the Belgian people for the perpetual resting place of those of the allied armies who fell in the war of 1914 – 1918 and are honoured here”.
CWGC plaque giving a brief outline of the war on the western front and some statistics about the cemetery.
Six New Zealanders, about as far away from home as you can get.
South-easterly view across the cemetery. Beyond the eight touching headstones in Row H in the right background (details of which you will find in a previous photo), you can just make out the bridge across the moat leading to the Lille Gate, from where the first few photos of this section were taken.
There are only ten unknown graves in the cemetery, four of which are pictured here. The headstones at either end of the row are, to the left:
|CAPTAIN W. C. K. MEGAW MC||NORFOLK REGIMENT||29||31/03/1915||D 29|
To the right:
|PRIVATE P. E. TIDDY||CHESHIRE REGIMENT||29||17/04/1915||D 34|
Headstones at the eastern end of the cemetery. Front row, left to right:
|LIEUTENANT R. M. FERNIE||ROYAL ENGINEERS||25||16/08/1915||I 1|
|2nd LIEUTENANT A. R. GRIFFITHS||ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY||22||09/08/1915||I 2|
|PRIVATE G. LEATHERLAND||SHERWOOD FORESTERS (NOTTS & DERBY REGIMENT)||u/k||20/06/1917||I 3|
|LIEUTENANT W. G. F. WELCH||ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY||24||30/10/1914||I 4|
Front row, left to right:
|LANCE CORPORAL C. GILIGAN||DUKE OF WELLINGTON’S (WEST RIDING REGIMENT)||u/k||07/04/1915||H 15|
|CORPORAL S. O. GAMBLE||ROYAL ENGINEERS||31||30/04/1915||H 16|
Try to imagine what this view would have been like some time in 1917.
Nine Royal Engineers headstones near the cemetery entrance, left to right:
|SAPPER T. GRAHAM||ROYAL ENGINEERS||u/k||11/02/1915||C 20|
|SAPPER A. CAMPBELL||ROYAL ENGINEERS||u/k||18/02/1915||C 21|
|DRIVER J. WILSON||ROYAL ENGINEERS||19||11/02/1915||C 22|
|DRIVER A. H. LUKE||ROYAL ENGINEERS||18||11/02/1915||C 23|
|COMPANY QUARTERMASTER SERJEANT J. H. CURTIS||ROYAL ENGINEERS||33||12/02/1915||C 24|
|SERJEANT L. A. WOODS||ROYAL ENGINEERS||33||07/03/1915||C 25|
|2nd LIEUTENANT R. E. WHITE||ROYAL ENGINEERS||24||05/03/1915||C 26|
|SAPPER G. B. BONE||ROYAL ENGINEERS||u/k||13/02/1915||C 27|
|SAPPER S. LANDERS||ROYAL ENGINEERS||20||16/03/1915||C 28|
Final view of the Cross of Sacrifice as we leave Ramparts Cemetery.