The churchyard at Zillebeke contains 30 CWGC headstones, two of which are special memorials, and, most unusually, two private memorials, a total of 32 burials in all. Six of these men are unidentified, and of the remaining 26, six are Canadians killed in 1916. The majority of the 20 British burials were made in December 1914, nearly all are officers, and many of their names reflect the aristocratic nature of the British officer class in the early days of the First World War.
Which is why you will often find this place referred to as the Aristocrats Cemetery.
Unfortunately for us, as you can see below, many of the headstones are snow-covered today, so we shall have to return here another time to view the majority of the inscriptions, but I can tell you that the tomb-like memorial visible in the above photograph is one of the two private memorials, that of Second Lieutenant Baron Alexis George de Gunzburg of the 11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars, killed on 6th November 1914.
The churchyard plan is available by clicking on the link below, and you can always check out the CWGC website to look at the names if you wish.
However a few of the inscriptions are legible, such as these two later burials, and the Royal Scots headstone in the photo below. Above, left to right:
|SAPPER C. P. ILSLEY||CANADIAN ENGINEERS||23||23/03/1916||H 2|
|LIEUTENANT COLONEL A. de C. SCOTT||CHESHIRE REGIMENT||49||05/05/1915||H 3|
|LANCE CORPORAL N. THOMSON||ROYAL SCOTS||u/k||09/12/1915||J 1|
The second of the two private memorials, nearest the camera in this photograph, is that of Lieutenant John Henry Gordon Lee-Steere of the Grenadier Guards, killed on 17th November 1914.
Beneath the churchyard wall are the two special memorials mentioned earlier, both to men who are known to be buried here but whose graves were lost due to later shellfire. Left to right:
|LIEUTENANT The Hon. W. R. WYNDHAM||LINCOLNSHIRE YEOMANRY attd 1st LIFE GUARDS||38||06/11/1914||Sp Mem 1|
|PRIVATE W. STEWART||ROYAL SCOTS||20||16/12/1915||Sp Mem 2|
The new church at Zillebeke, rebuilt on the remains of the original.
Now, you cannot tour the Zillebeke area without visiting one iconic site, and that’s where we are off to next. The clue’s in the signpost!