West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen) Belgium
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Visiting Information: Wheelchair access to the cemetery with some difficulty. For further information regarding wheelchair access, please contact our Enquiries Section on telephone number 01628 507200.
Location Information: Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery is located 10.5 kilometres west of Ieper town centre, in the town of Poperinge itself. From Ieper, Poperinge is reached via N308. From Ieper town centre the Poperingseweg (N308), is reached via Elverdingsestraat then directly over two small roundabouts in the J.Capronstraat. The Poperingseweg is a continuation of the J.Capronstraat and begins after a prominent railway level crossing. On reaching the town of Poperinge the left hand turning from the N308 leads onto the R33 Poperinge ring road. 1 kilometre along the N33 lies the right hand turning onto Deken De Bolan. The cemetery is located 200 metres from the ring road level with the junction with Polenlaan, on the right hand side of the road.
Historical Information: The town of Poperinghe (now Poperinge) was of great importance during the First World War because, although occasionally bombed or bombarded at long range, it was the nearest place to Ypres (now Ieper) which was both considerable in size and reasonably safe. It was at first a centre for casualty clearing stations, but by 1916 it became necessary to move these units further back and field ambulances took their places. The earliest Commonwealth graves in the town are in the communal cemetery, which was used from October 1914 to March 1915. The Old Military Cemetery was made in the course of the First Battle of Ypres and was closed, so far as Commonwealth burials are concerned, at the beginning of May 1915. The New Military Cemetery was established in June 1915. The Old Military Cemetery contains 450 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 24 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to seven casualties known or believed to be buried among them. The graves of about 800 French and Belgian soldiers and nearly 500 civilians were removed from the cemetery after the Armistice. For the most part, the civilians died in an epidemic of typhoid at the end of 1914, and were buried from an emergency hospital in the neighbouring chateau. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.
No. of Identified Casualties: 429