La Brique Military Cemetery No.1

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It doesn’t matter which route, nor which direction, you take out of Ypres (Ieper), you will soon come across British military cemeteries at the side of the road, and the road to Pilckem, away to the north east of the city, is no exception.  Except, I suppose, that there’s a cemetery on either side at this point.

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By far the smaller of the two cemeteries, La Brique Military Cemetery No.1, dwarfed by its neighbour across the road, is our first port of call.

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Strangely, this cemetery was actually begun a few months after La Brique Military Cemetery No.2, although I suppose that is an idiosyncrasy of the later naming of the cemeteries rather than anything else.

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Started in May 1915, the cemetery was only used until December the same year.  There are just 87 identified and four unidentified burials here.

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The cemetery consists of six rows of headstones, Row F immediately to our right as we enter.

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The graves in Row F date from August & September (the three West Yorkshire Regiment men nearest camera), to November (almost obscured at the far end).

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The land tablet has been placed at the northern end of the cemetery, but you will notice that there is no Cross of Sacrifice here; the one across the road has to suffice.

La Brique Military Cemetery No.1 Cemetery Plan

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To understand the development of this little cemetery, it is necessary to start at the southern end, Row F now being farthest away from us.  The first burials here, in May 1915, are the nine nearest the camera in Row A.  The single headstone in Row A to the far right, however, is a much later burial from December, and that, in essence, is how this cemetery works.

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Originally, it grew in a south-north direction, the earlier graves being adjacent to the road, with all the burials at the far, eastern end of each row being made later in the year.  Thus the headstones pictured above, near the start of Row B, are all burials from June, the first seven graves of Row C are all from July, and the first headstones of Rows D, E & F are all from August.  Note the Leinster man in Row B, three from the left, whose headstone bears the inscription ‘Believed to be buried in this cemetery’.

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The final burial here was that of Private G. Webb of the Bedfordshire Regiment, who died on 4th January 1916 and is buried near the eastern end of Row E, the third headstone from the right in the front row above.  The Bedfordshire men buried on either side of him were killed in October & November 1915.

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These men of the Buffs (East Kent Regiment), killed in September & October and buried in Row E, are four of 22 men of the regiment who lie here, by far the largest number from any regiment.

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Men of the North Staffordshire Regiment, killed in September and buried in Row C.

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View from the south eastern corner of the cemetery, three December burials in Row A in the foreground (see below).

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Among the final burials here, these three men of the York & Lancaster Regiment lost their lives just before Christmas 1915.

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Before we cross the road to visit La Brique Military Cemetery No.2, this last view looks south towards the City of Ieper in the distance.

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