Along the River Lys: The Franco-Belgian Border Part Five – Wervik Communal Cemetery

Curious places, these communal cemeteries, at least to an English eye.  Every shade of grey that you could wish for, and very little green.

There are six Second World War CWGC burials in Wervik Communal Cemetery, two of them unidentified, but all killed at the end of May 1940, quite probably defending the bridge at Wervik against the advancing Germans.

CWGC plaque at the cemetery entrance.

As we enter the cemetery all six British graves are visible, three just to the right of the entrance, and three at the far end of the hedge to the right of the picture.

To the immediate right of the first British burials are the graves of Belgian casualties from the Second World War.  The first three are civilians, presumably caught in the wrong place at the wrong time during the fighting in May 1940.

Belgian soldiers (above & below), ‘Fallen for the Fatherland’.

More May 1940 civilian casualties.

The graves pictured in the previous photographs are to the left with the three CWGC headstones beyond; those nearest the camera (see next series of photos) are all Great War casualties.

Joseph Vanacker.  Not forgotten.

The grave of Robert Verack, soldier, killed in May 1915.

Three Belgian soldiers who nearly made it.

Baldrick pays his respects.

Continuing our walk through the cemetery, Baldrick stops me as we pass this grave.

It says, “Tortured to death”, he tells me.  We are silent for a while.

Wervik, only a few miles behind the front lines, would have been packed with German soldiers throughout the Great War, although why Leutnant Kühne, who died in August 1915, was buried here, as opposed to in one of the military cemeteries, I know not.

Final view, looking towards the British graves as we leave the cemetery.  A couple of minutes north and slightly east of here the small town of Geluwe, although not strictly along the river, is worth a visit.

This entry was posted in Along the River Lys: Comines, Wervik, Geluwe & Menen, Wervik & Wervicq-Sud. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Along the River Lys: The Franco-Belgian Border Part Five – Wervik Communal Cemetery

  1. Waelkens Kristof says:

    wat betreft luitenant kühne , in wo1 zijn Duitse militairen op een 800 tal burger en militaire begraafplaatsen en kerkhoven begraven , rond de jaren 50 is de Volksbund de graven beginnen te verzamelen naar 4 verzamelbegraafplaatsen in West-Vlaanderen , Vladslo -Houthulst- Langemark en Menenwald (47.000) . in enkele gevallen heeft de famillie de gemeente of lokale ocmw een bedrag gedoneerdt om het graf van hun zoon daar te kunnen houden .

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hi Kristof. I’m afraid that until I get my colleague Baldrick to translate your message for me I’m a but stuck! Please be patient. Thanks!

      • Magicfingers says:

        But I think you have explained why Leutnant Kuhne is here, so thank you very much indeed.

      • Baldrick says:

        Translation: As for Lieutenant Kühne, during WWI German soldiers were buried at about 800 civil as well as military burial places and cemeteries. In the 1950’s the Volksbund started to gather the graves on to 4 burial places in West-Flanders: Vladslo, Houthulst, Langemark and Menenwald (47.000). In some cases the families donated a certain amount of money to the city or the OCMW, so that the grave of their son could be maintained there.

    • Magicfingers says:

      And thank you again Kristof. I had no idea that families could make a payment to keep their loved ones’ graves in their original place.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.