Our journey continues east until we reach the little village of Verbrande Molen. Here, our road turns south beneath the low range of wooded hills, known as the Bluff and fought over almost continuously for much of the war due to the close proximity of the front line trenches, that we saw in the distance way back at Bedford House Cemetery. After little more than, a mile a left turn brings us to a conveniently situated car park, from where a ten minute stroll through the trees reveals a clearing, and the first of the three cemeteries located in these woods; Hedge Row Trench Cemetery.
Hedge Row Trench Cemetery is unusual in that every headstone here is actually a special memorial. Being so close to the front lines, and, as its name implies, being the site of a British trench that undoubtedly the Germans were well aware of, the cemetery was so devastated by shellfire that after the war it proved impossible to identify the individual burials that lay here. The names of the dead, however, were known, and special memorial headstones were erected bearing the inscription ‘known to be buried in this cemetery’ and placed around the Cross of Sacrifice in the manner you can see in these photographs.
Hedge Row Trench Cemetery entrance. The cemetery, which at the time of its use was also known as Ravine Wood Cemetery, was begun in March 1915 and used until August 1917. You can see the Cemetery Plan, courtesy of the CWGC, here:
View looking north east along the eastern wall of the cemetery towards the cemetery entrance. Row A is on the right.
Rows H (right foreground), F (far left), and G (background, lining the wall).
Row E, with two London Regiment graves at the end of Rows D (left) and F (right) nearer the camera.
Closer view of the headstones in Row E.
Three First Surrey Rifles graves in Row D (left photograph) with Row C behind, and a closer view of headstones in Row C (right photograph). You may have noticed that many of the headstones in this cemetery bear the inscription ‘Their glory shall not be blotted out’, a line chosen by Kipling and taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus (as indeed was the better known line – ‘Their name liveth for evermore’ – that he chose to be inscribed on Lutyens’ Stone of Remembrance in the larger CWGC cemeteries).
View looking south with Row F in the foreground.
Row G along the wall, Row H (left foreground) and Row F (left background). Our next destination is just a couple of hundred yards down the grass corridor between the trees in the background.
Au revoir, but not quite goodbye, to Hedge Row Trench Cemetery (we shall pass this way again on our return journey), as we make our way towards the next cemetery on our agenda; 1st D.C.L.I. Cemetery, The Bluff.