French Flanders: Armentières, Nieppe & Steenwerck Part Seven – Steenwerck German Military Cemetery

386

As we head towards Steenwerck, our next stop finds us at the German Cemetery named after the commune.

panorama-3

And after the previous two lengthy posts, you can have a bit of a breather during this one.

382

Cemetery entrance (above & photos below).

383

385

397

The cemetery register (above & below) can be found just inside the entrance.

399

396

Twenty seven year old Leutnant Christian Schneehagen,…

388

…one of 2,048 German soldiers whose remains now lie here.

390-2

The cemetery was created in April 1918 during the German Georgette offensive,…

400

…and it must have been a peaceful place in the years after the war,…

402

…although not so much today, as the traffic on the motorway linking Lille with Dunkirk thunders past only a few yards to the north.

404

The central sandstone pillar was added between the wars.

405

408

More graves were added during the late spring and summer of 1918, and as the Germans began their retreat in August.

410

The metal crosses bear anything between one and four names, and, surprisingly in a cemetery of over 2,000 graves, just three are unidentified.

411

413

Yet more burials were moved here by the French authorities after the war, either from small groups of German burials or from individual battlefield graves in the area.

417

The Germans buried a considerable number of British soldiers here during 1918, and after the war 116 bodies were moved from here to Le Grand Beaumart British Cemetery, to the west of Steenwerck.

416          415

In April 1918, the Germans buried eight British soldiers, from four different regiments, incidentally, in this cemetery.  Their graves were later lost, which often means destroyed by shellfire, but one wonders whether, on this occasion, the graves were simply lost after the German retreat.  Perhaps they are all still here, buried together, somewhere in the cemetery.  There is a Duhallow Block at Le Grand Beaumart British Cemetery (which we shall visit at the end of this tour) that remembers them.

418          419

Thirty one of the men buried here died in the years before 1918, presumably all post-war burials brought here from the nearby battlefields.

421

Occasionally, in the decades since the war, the bodies of soldiers have been found and brought here for burial.

422

Twelve Germans, for example, were uncovered during construction work in 1969, and reburied here with their colleagues.

panorama-2

423

The soldiers who now lie in this cemetery came from all over Germany,…

429

from Silesia,…

430

…Saxony,…

434

…Thuringia,…

435

…Pomerania,…

436

…Hesse,…

440

…Bavaria,…

442

…Westphalia,…

panorama-s

…Prussia,…

443

…the Rhineland,…

panorama-x

…and Alsace & Lorraine.  Do you see what I did there?  Seriously, and with respect, what else was I supposed to write?

448

Back at the cemetery entrance.

449

And finally, a cemetery signpost, because it would have looked naff had I started the post with it.  Our journey now continues into Steenwerck itself.

This entry was posted in French Flanders, German Military Cemeteries. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *