Mont Kemmel Part Five – Godezonne Farm Cemetery

A favourite little cemetery of mine, looking golden in the autumn sunshine. 

Cemetery entrance, and immediately within,…

…the ‘In Perpetuity’ tablets.

Cross of Sacrifice.  Let’s take a look at where we are.

The cemetery is marked in the centre in pink, but it has nothing, really, to do with a map of September 1918, when this map was published (our previous four stops, along the Vierstraat road, are also marked).  There are a few identified 1918 burials here, but all are post-war concentrations.  In fact, much like Suffolk Cemetery, almost all the wartime burials were made here in the early months of 1915.

The cemetery is constructed on two levels, with the two rows of Plot II, the first nine headstones of each seen here on our left, on the lower level,…

…the four rows of Plot I beyond the Cross…

…on the upper level, and, in the foreground,…

…the continuation of the two rows of Plot II.  Thanks to the CWGC, you can peruse the cemetery plan here.

The four rows of Plot I on the upper level contain forty three graves in total.  All the wartime burials in the cemetery, of which there are twenty, are to be found in Rows A & B at the front of the plot, with all the graves in Rows C & D being post-war additions.  The only graves in the first two rows that are reburials are two unidentified men at this end of Row B,…

…although at first sight you might think that, as they appear at the very bottom of this GRRF which lists all the original war-time burials, they too were buried here during the war.  Not so.  The red ‘C’ marked in two places next to each man stands for concentration; both are post-war reburials, and there’s more proof of this to be found,…

…because here they both are, at the top of this list of reburials, with map references showing where their bodies were found.

At which point I am either going to put on my pedant hat, or just be accurate, depending on your point of view.  Should you refer to the CWGC website, you will find the following as part of their brief historical piece about Godezonne Farm: ‘Three further burials were added in 1916 and the cemetery was enlarged after the Armistice……’.  Well, I’m afraid they weren’t.  Seventeen of the twenty identified burials in Plot I Rows A & B were made between 24th February & 24th April 1915, all men of the 4th Bn. Middlesex Regiment or the 2nd Bn. Royal Scots, including the subaltern whose grave is pictured above in Row A, killed when he chose to remain with his wounded men despite his unit being relieved.  One burial is from May 1915, and two men did indeed die in 1916, one in September and one in November, and were buried here at the time.  However there is only one other identified man buried in this cemetery who died in 1916 and he was brought here after the war, as I will show you later, and thus only two burials can be proven to have been added here in 1916, not three.  Pedantic or accurate, as I said.  Your choice.

So what you have to imagine, should you wish to visualise this cemetery at the end of the war, is just two rows of burials in the garden of a shattered farm amidst a desolate, broken landscape.  It all looks much prettier now.

Plot I Row B, and turning to our left,…

…Plot I Rows C & D, all post-war reinterments, as you now know.  The three Gordon Highlanders at the start of the row, probably all March 1915 casualties, are listed on the previous Burial Return form, immediately beneath the two unknown reburials from Row B.

Only three men in Row C (foreground above, looking north) are identified,…

…as is also the case in Row D.

Two unknown Yorkshiremen (one Yorkshire Regiment, one West Yorkshire Regiment) in Row D, and on the left, a Bedfordshire Regiment casualty from May 1918, one of the three identified men in the row.

More unknown Yorkshiremen in Row D, these three all from the King’s Yorkshire Light Infantry.

Of the seventy nine graves here, the names of thirty five are known; all twenty of the wartime graves are identified, but the names of only fifteen among the fifty nine post-war reinterments to be found here are known.

Cross of Sacrifice,…

…looking west,…

…and looking north.

On the lower level, just eight of the thirty six graves in Plot II are identified, all these burials, let’s not forget, brought here post-war.  So, if we head across to the other side of the cemetery,…

…the first grave in Row A nearest the camera,…

…and the earliest date to be found on a headstone in the cemetery, is that of Captain The Honourable Douglas Arthur Kinnaird, Master of Kinnaird, aged 35, commanding 2nd Bn. Scots Guards.  Killed by shellfire on 24th October 1914, somewhere in the Polygon Wood area, his body originally found and buried by a fellow officer, he would be reburied here after the war.

Only two other men on this side of the plot are identified, both in Row A, including a South African infantryman, one of four men killed in 1917 buried here post-war.

All the reburials in this first part of Row B,…

…despite many of the regiments being known, are unidentified.

Rows A & B continue on the western side of the cemetery, five of these men identified, one in Row A in the foreground,…

…the other four, which includes, on the far left, the other identified reburial from 1916,…

…and the three other 1917 burials, to be found in Row B.

So, a pretty little cemetery, looking beautiful on a glorious Flanders afternoon.

And yet, by the magic of the internet, it’ll be evening next post, even though we are going no more than five hundred yards down the road.

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8 Responses to Mont Kemmel Part Five – Godezonne Farm Cemetery

  1. Morag Sutherland says:

    Thanks for the memories. Long time since my feet walked there …and unlikely to do so in the near future

  2. sendergreen says:

    so many, the heart sometimes feels tired,
    but a duty to see and, remember them all.

  3. Nick Kilner says:

    A very pretty cemetery indeed, Gods own country one might say (see what I did there? 😉
    I often wonder with concentration burials that are unknown, just when their identity was lost. As we’ve seen previously, more than a few have become ‘Unknown’ somewhere between their first grave and their final resting place. Must have been a god awful business mind you, exhuming rotting corpses and loading them onto a cart for transport. The Honourable Captain travelled quite some distance to be reburied here, which seems rather curious, but there must have been a reason.
    And I’m going to go with ‘pedantically accurate’ lol, nothing wrong with that.

    • Nick Kilner says:

      I’ve also just noticed that there is a Pte H Dunkley on the same burial return, which is my paternal grandmothers maiden name. A side of the family that I have still to look at, when I get time

    • Magicfingers says:

      Took me about a day, but I finally said it out loud and then I got it!!! Doh!
      Pedantically accurate will do……..

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