A Tour of Langemark Part Nine – Minty Farm Cemetery

Minty Farm Cemetery is a little under three miles north and a little east of the centre of Ypres (Ieper), and less than a mile south east of the Welsh Memorial Park where this tour started, and once you arrive it can be reached by following this grass pathway round the farm buildings.

We saw signs for this cemetery during the recent Tour of Boesinghe (there’s a link at the end of this post), and I did say we’d visit soon, hence its late addition as the final part of the Tour of Langemark.  The cemetery is actually larger than it looks,…

…192 men buried here in total.  The farm buildings were converted by the Germans into a blockhouse, which, once captured, was used as company headquarters by the British; the CWGC website tells us that the name Minty Farm probably comes from the time that the Wiltshires were in residence.  The cemetery was in use between September 1917 and April 1918, although the majority of the men buried here died in October 1917.  One hundred and one men, including a single German, were buried here that month, and on only four days did burials not take place.

Immediately on entering, a line of eight headstones, Plot III Row A (although there are no other rows in the plot), are among the last burials in the cemetery; in fact the two Royal Irish Riflemen on the right are the final burials made in this cemetery, towards the end of April 1918.

Next to the riflemen, another of the last burials here, Gunner A. Hartley, killed in action, as his headstone says, on 1st April 1918, aged 22.  Men of the Royal Artillery make up more than a third of the identified burials here.

With the single row of Plot III now on the right, this view shows Plot II Rows B (on the left) & A, the Cross of Sacrifice in the background,…

…and now looking north along the cemetery’s eastern boundary, Plot II Row A on the left.  Thanks to our friends at the CWGC, here’s the cemetery plan.

Plot II Rows A (nearest camera), B & C.

Looking along Plot II Row C, with two more of only five April 1918 burials in the cemetery nearest the camera.

Plot II Row D, another later (February 1918) burial nearest the camera, and walking to the far end,…

…looking back along the row, with Rows E & F behind.

And so we find ourselves in Plot I, these four graves on the western boundary being the start of Row F.

Looking due south across Plot I, Row D in front of us, Row E on the right. Follow the boundary wall on the right and you will eventually come to the four headstones in the previous picture.

Plot I Row E, the third and fourth headstones two of only five unidentified soldiers buried here, and peeking out behind,…

…the final four headstones in Row F on the far right, placed at 90 degrees to the rest of the cemetery.

Why these four headstones are placed in such a way I don’t know.

Private Paul Tannen, 13th Kensington Bn., posted to 6th Bn. London Regiment (City of London Rifles), who died on 13th December 1917 aged 29, and, incidentally, the only Tannen to lose his life on active service during the Great War.

The remainder of Plot I, Row C in the foreground.

Panoramic view from the northern corner looking south.

Panning across the cemetery from the north west corner, this view looking south west,…

…and this one, towards the Cross of Sacrifice, south east.

Cross of Sacrifice (also below), Plot I on the left, Plot II on the right.

Panoramic view of the cemetery from behind the Cross looking west(ish), the headstone in the centre with the wreath…

…that of Corporal F. J. Adams, Royal Field Artillery, one of nine men buried on 30th October 1917, the most burials, in a single day, that were made here.

Back at the entrance, the eight headstones of Plot III.  The Cemetery Register can be found in the depositary in the background,…

…along with the Visitor’s Book, within which Ken, down in Kent, had left the following to his Uncle, Gunner A. Featherbe (one ‘e’), who is buried in Plot I Row A4.

As we make our exit…

…we pass the In Perpetuity and Great War tablets.

More staring sheep.

We finish the tour with this view across the fields looking west towards the wind farm that appeared in so many photos during our recent Tour of Boesinghe.  Finish, that is, apart from a postscript, which you might find of interest – but you’ll never know unless you click here.

Update September 2018: Remember Ken in Kent from a little earlier?

Allow me to introduce Kenneth Sidney Austin, nephew to Gunner Featherbe, who has returned once more to Minty Farm Cemetery, in his eighty seventh year, along with daughter Val and, I suspect, looking at the number of crosses and the wreath at Gunner Featherbe’s grave, other family members too, to pay his respects once more.

Note the single German casualty that I mentioned earlier, a Leutnant, in the row behind.

Kenneth, proudly wearing, among others, Gunner Featherbe’s medals, and his grandson Thomas, laying wreaths at the Menin Gate, 29th August 2018.

R.I.P. Gunner Alfred Featherbe.

Update May 2020:  And there’s more.  Val recently sent me a scan of the following page regarding Gunner Featherbe’s sister Kate (Ken’s mother) during the Great War,…

…along with this picture of a street party at Dallas Brett, down Folkestone way; I am unsure of the date, and you have to guess which one is the young Ken.

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