Just a few minutes drive east from Ledegem, Moorseele Military Cemetery is another burial ground now rather incongruously surrounded by a modern housing estate.
An alleyway between two houses leads to this small secluded grassy area, once part of the grounds of the Convent of the Holy Family which stood nearby. The convent school was situated here and was used by the Germans as an aid post during the war; the associated cemetery was begun by them in 1915.
Moorseele was in German hands for most of the war, finally being liberated by the Royal Irish Rifles on 14th October 1918, later the same day that Ledegem (which, provided you have previously accompanied Baldrick and myself on our visit to Ledeghem Military Cemetery, you will already know all about) was itself recaptured by the Leinsters.
You can download the Cemetery Plan, if you so wish, from here:
Cross of Sacrifice.
98 British soldiers are buried here, the majority killed during the second half of October 1918, after the village had been liberated.
Above, left to right:
|LIEUTENANT E. J. HALIWELL||ROYAL FLYING CORPS||u/k||11/09/1917||A 6|
|PRIVATE T. LAWLER DCM, MM & BAR||MACHINE GUN CORPS (INFANTRY)||23||28/10/1918||A 7|
|PRIVATE C. ELLIS||EAST SURREY REGIMENT||u/k||27/10/1918||A 8|
Pilot and observer, perhaps, brought down behind German lines and buried here in early 1917. Note that they share the same grave reference numbers. Left to right:
|CAPTAIN C. M. CARBERT MC||20th BN. CANADIAN INFANTRY attd ROYAL FLYING CORPS||22||01/02/1917||A 4|
|SECOND LIEUTENANT E. D. SPICER||ROYAL FLYING CORPS||18||01/02/1917||A 4|
Some 800 Germans were once buried here, but in 1930 the bodies were exhumed and re-interred in the Geman Military Cemetery at Mesen. When the first British burials were made here after the Germans had retreated in 1918, it’s worth remembering that the whole of the now-vacant space visible in the background of the photo above, and the foreground of the one below, would have been filled with German crosses.
A surprisingly high number of the men buried here had earned decorations. Left to right:
|PRIVATE J. MARTIN MM & BAR||ROYAL SCOTS||29||23/10/1918||D 1|
|LANCE CORPORAL J. P. PEATIE DCM||ROYAL SCOTS||20||22/10/1918||D 2|
|SERJEANT H. CHRISTIE MM||ROYAL IRISH RIFLES||u/k||23/10/1918||D 3|
Surrey men. Left to right:
|COMPANY SERJEANT MAJOR G. W. FISHER MM||THE QUEEN'S (ROYAL WEST SURREY REGIMENT)||24||25/10/1918||C 5|
|PRIVATE C. MANCKTELOW||THE QUEEN'S (ROYAL WEST SURREY REGIMENT)||19||25/10/1918||C 6|
Why a Canadian Major was buried here in June 1916 I don’t suppose we’ll ever find out. If anyone knows…? *
|MAJOR S. L. JONES||PRINCESS PATRICIA'S CANADIAN LIGHT INFANTRY||u/k||08/06/1916||AA 12|
* Oh me of little faith. See John’s comment at the end of the post.
Two more RFC men buried here by the Germans. Again, I suspect, these two men were pilot and observer of a British two-seater. Left to right:
|SECOND LIEUTENANT W. M. KENT||ROYAL FLYING CORPS||27||21/02/1918||AA 10|
|LIEUTENANT G. B. CRAIG||ROYAL FLYING CORPS||23||21/02/1918||AA 11|
At the beginning of Row AA lie three men, two from the Northumberland Fusiliers and one from the King’s, who were buried here within a few days of each other in June 1915; I wonder what the story behind their deaths might be? Perhaps a raid that went wrong? Perhaps a raid that went right. But not for them. Left to right:
|PRIVATE W. FORD||NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS||u/k||21/06/1915||AA 1|
|PRIVATE J. McCULLAGH||NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS||u/k||17/06/1915||AA 2|
|PRIVATE J. R. McADAM||THE KING'S (LIVERPOOL REGIMENT||u/k||18/06/1915||AA 3|
After the Armistice a number of graves were moved into the cemetery from Moorselele Churchyard, which was also used by the Germans until October 1917, and perhaps these three men originally lay there.
Two huge stone seats either side of the Cross of Sacrifice bear the inscriptions that dedicate this land to those who lie here ‘in perpetuity’.
|LIEUTENANT G. H. SEAL MC||HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT & HANTS CARABINIERS YEOMANRY||29||29/10/1918||A 10|
Final view as we leave this little cemetery and head back down the alleyway back to the modern world beyond.