Our last stop, Le Touquet Railway Crossing Cemetery, is the furthest east of the six cemeteries on this tour. Here, we are only a few hundred yards away from where the front lines ran for much of the war.
The work of the CWGC never ends, and Le Touquet Railway Crossing is one of a number of cemeteries I have visited where a renovation in progress sign greets you on arrival (St. Julian Dressing Station Cemetery for example, where Baldrick and I found ourselves only a few days ago, currently resembles a building site*).
There are just 74 headstones here of which 24 are unidentified, the cemetery only being used between October 1914 and June 1915 (and not June 1918, as you will read everywhere else on the web). I suspect that because of its proximity to the front lines this place simply became too dangerous to use any more; its name suggests a location on the map that could be easily targeted by German guns, and the presence here of three men ‘known’ or ‘believed to be buried in this cemetery’, whom we will visit later, suggests that the area was heavily shelled during later years.
The majority of the unidentified burials are to be found in Rows D (right), E (left) & F (far left)…
…although the first three graves in Row F (along with the first headstone in the final row, Row H) are men of the Sherwood Foresters who were killed on 13th May 1915. The CWGC Cemetery Plan, no longer entirely accurate, as you will notice, can be viewed here:
Two men of the Rifle Brigade in Row A, killed near here at the end of October 1914. Left to right:
|CAPTAIN O. C. S. GILLIAT||THE RIFLE BRIGADE||31||30/10/1914||A 1|
|RIFLEMAN S. J. HENSHAW||THE RIFLE BRIGADE||u/k||28/10/1914||A 2|
Two unknown men of the 10th Hussars, presumably also killed in October 1914 along with the men of the Rifle Brigade and the King’s Own who lie on either side of them.
Looking north along Row A towards the Cross of Sacrifice.
Cross of Sacrifice.
View from the north west corner of the cemetery looking south (above) and west (below).
The final three burials in Row A. Note the unusually factual inscription on the headstone of Captain Lucas-Tooth; ‘Born March 19th 1879. Killed in action Le Touquet Flanders’. Left to right:
|CAPTAIN S. L. LUCAS-TOOTH||LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS||35||20/10/1914||A 10|
|CAPTAIN G. A. M. DOCKER||ROYAL FUSILIERS||31||17/11/1914||A 11|
|SERJEANT E. SHEPHARD||KING'S OWN (ROYAL LANCASHIRE REGIMENT)||25||12/11/1914||A 12|
Above and below: The headstones nearest the camera in both pictures appear to bear the same Memorial Reference number of B1, which is rather curious because in actual fact neither of them is B1! Rifleman Marshall (above) should be B8, and Rifleman Davey (below) should be B11, so what exactly has happened here is quite beyond me. Any ideas?
Three men of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, ‘known’ or ‘believed’ to be buried here, all three bearing Kipling’s choice of inscription; “Their glory shall not be blotted out”. Left to right:
|PRIVATE W. ALEXANDER||DUKE OF CORNWALL’S LIGHT INFANTRY||u/k||14/06/1915||Sp. Mem at Row G|
|LANCE CORPORAL A. CHIDGEY||DUKE OF CORNWALL’S LIGHT INFANTRY||29||13/06/1915||Sp. Mem at Row G|
|PRIVATE F. WILSON||DUKE OF CORNWALL’S LIGHT INFANTRY||u/k||13/06/1915||Sp. Mem at Row G|
The final burials, four men of the Leinster Regiment killed in late May and early June 1915, are visible in Row H behind.
Above and following two photos: As we take our leave, this view pans from west to east over the cemetery wall.
Ok Balders, that’s another tour done and dusted. Thanks as ever my friend. Where to next?
*see what I mean:
St. Julian Dressing Station Cemetery, 12th January 2013.