The road to Ploegsteert Wood.
Looking south east across the cornfield to our left towards the north eastern corner of Ploegsteert Wood; the farm house in the centre is close to the site of a British strongpoint known as Moated Farm.
Looking back up the ridge at Prowse Point Military Cemetery.
Mud Corner Cemetery has only 85 burials, all being Australians and New Zealanders (despite what you may read elsewhere) and all except one being killed in June, July or August 1917. The cemetery was begun on 7th June 1917, the first day of the Battle of Messines, and many of the soldiers in Plot I Row A were killed on that date. If you wish to have a look at the Cemetery Plan you will find it, courtesy of the CWGC, here: Mud Corner Cemetery Plan
Mud Corner lives up to its name to this day, hence the little bridge we have to cross to gain access.
Cross of Sacrifice.
Rows of New Zealand headstones in Plot II. Foreground, left to right:
|PRIVATE W. G. FLEMING||WELLINGTON REGIMENT, N.Z.E.F.||36||18/08/1917||II E 2|
|PRIVATE W. J. CARTWRIGHT||OTAGO REGIMENT, N.Z.E.F.||18||03/08/1917||II E 3|
|AN UNKNOWN NEW ZEALAND SOLDIER OF THE GREAT WAR|
The three headstones in the previous picture are out of shot to the right; in the foreground is the only other headstone in Plot II Row E, in fact the final burial in the cemetery, that of Private A. H. V. French of the Australian Pioneers. Behind is Plot II, while Plot I can be seen in the left background. In the distance, Prowse Point Cemetery sits in its perfect position on the crest of the ridge.
Plot II, this time looking north east towards the cemetery entrance. Private French’s headstone is in the centre foreground, and the headstones of Privates Fleming and Cartwright are visible to the far right.
Plot I. The Australians killed on the first day of the Battle of Messines, 7th June 1917, are all buried in the back row. The four New Zealanders in the front row are:
|PRIVATE F. E. OLDMAN||NEW ZEALAND MACHINE GUN CORPS||20||23/07/1917||I B 1|
|SECOND LIEUTENANT G. A. ROBBIE||WELLINGTON REGIMENT, N.Z.E.F.||42||22/07/1917||I B 2|
|PRIVATE W. MORROW||NEW ZEALAND MACHINE GUN CORPS||u/k||23/07/1917||I B 3|
|PRIVATE J. G. W. PARSONS||WELLINGTON REGIMENT, N.Z.E.F.||21||20/07/1917||I B 4|
Mud Corner Cemetery, with the brooding mass of Ploegsteert Wood beyond. That’s my Belgian chauffeur Baldrick, by the way. As opposed to in the way. More of him later.
Final view of Mud Corner, at least for the moment, with the track (referred to as Mud Lane on trench maps) we came down from Prowse Point visible in the right background. Time to head into the wood itself…
While we’re walking, you will have noticed that I’ve found a way to use the expression “brooding mass”. Given that whoever first came up with “brooding mass” deserves all due respect (don’t you think?), I’d say that’s another ambition achieved. You don’t care, do you? Thought not.