Ploegsteert Memorial,

 

Ploegsteert,

 

West-Vlaanderen

The Panel Numbers quoted at the end of each entry relate to the panels dedicated to the Regiment served with. In some instances where a casualty is recorded as attached to another Regiment, his name may alternatively appear within their Regimental Panels. Please refer to the on-site Memorial Register Introduction to determine the alternative panel numbers if you do not find the name within the quoted Panels.

GENERAL DIRECTIONS: The Ploegsteert Memorial stands in Berks Cemetery Extension, which is located 12.5 kilometres south of Ieper town centre, on the N365 leading from Ieper to Mesen (Messines), Ploegsteert and on to Armentieres. From Ieper town centre the Rijselsestraat runs from the market square, through the Lille Gate (Rijselpoort) and directly over the crossroads with the Ieper ring road. The road name then changes to the Rijselseweg (N336). 3.5 kilometres along the N336 lies a fork junction with the N365. The N365, which forms the right hand fork, leads to the town of Mesen. The Cemetery lies 3 kilometres beyond Mesen on the right hand side of the N365, and opposite Hyde Park Corner Royal Berks Cemetery. The sounding of the Last Post takes place at the Ploegsteert Memorial on the first Friday of every month at 7 p.m.

The Ploegsteert Memorial commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave. The memorial serves the area from the line Caestre-Dranoutre-Warneton to the north, to Haverskerque-Estaires-Fournes to the south, including the towns of Hazebrouck, Merville, Bailleul and Armentieres, the Forest of Nieppe, and Ploegsteert Wood. The original intention had been to erect the memorial in Lille. Those commemorated by the memorial did not die in major offensives, such as those which took place around Ypres to the north, or Loos to the south. Most were killed in the course of the day-to-day trench warfare which characterised this part of the line, or in small scale set engagements, usually carried out in support of the major attacks taking place elsewhere. Berks Cemetery Extension, in which the memorial stands, was begun in June 1916 and used continuously until September 1917.

At the Armistice, the extension comprised Plot I only, but Plots II and III were added in 1930 when graves were brought in from Rosenberg Chateau Military Cemetery and Extension, about 1 kilometre to the north-west, when it was established that these sites could not be acquired in perpetuity. Rosenberg Chateau Military Cemetery was used by fighting units from November 1914 to August 1916. The extension was begun in May 1916 and used until March 1918. Together, the Rosenberg Chateau cemetery and extension were sometimes referred to as 'Red Lodge'. Berks Cemetery Extension now contains 876 First World War burials. Hyde Park Corner Royal Berks Cemetery is separated from Berks Cemetery Extension by a road. It was begun in April 1915 by the 1st/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment and was used at intervals until November 1917. Hyde Park Corner was a road junction to the north of Ploegsteert Wood. Hill 63 was to the north-west and nearby were the 'Catacombs', deep shelters capable of holding two battalions, which were used from November 1916 onwards. The cemetery contains 83 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and four German war graves.

The cemetery, cemetery extension and memorial were designed by Harold Charlton Bradshaw, with sculpture by Gilbert Ledward. The memorial was unveiled by the Duke of Brabant on 7 June 1931.

Number of identified casualties: 11367

The inscription on the memorial:

To the glory of god and to the memory of 11447 Officers and men of the forces of the British Empire, who fell fighting in the years 1914-1918 between the River Douve and the towns of Estaires and Furnes, whose names are here recorded but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.

View through the Memorial towards Hyde Park Corner Cemetery

One of the lions which stand guard at the memorial this one is baring its teeth, the second lion is more placid

View of one of the panels of the memorial inscribed with the name of the battles those commemorated fought in, this view shows "Fromelles 1916".

Names inscribed on the memorial

 

Victoria Cross: 136414 Sapper William Hackett, VC. 254th Tunnelling Coy. Royal Engineers. 27/06/1916, aged 43. Panel 1. Son of the late John and Harriet Hackett, of Nottingham; husband of Alice Flinders (formerly Hackett), of 53, Cross Gate, Mexborough, Rotherham.

Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," dated 4th Aug., 1916, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery when entombed with four others in a gallery owing to the explosion of an enemy mine. After working for 20 hours, a hole was made through fallen earth and broken timber, and the outside party was met. Sapper Hackett helped three of the men through the hole and could easily have followed, but refused to leave the fourth, who had been seriously injured, saying," I am a tunneller, I must look after the others first." Meantime, the hole was getting smaller, yet he still refused to leave his injured comrade. Finally, the gallery collapsed, and though the rescue party worked desperately for four days the attempt to reach the two men failed. Sapper Hackett well knowing the nature of sliding earth, the chances against him, deliberately gave his life for his comrade".

Victoria Cross: 8185 Private James Mackenzie, VC. 2nd Bn. Scots Guards. 19/12/1914, aged 27. Panel 1. Son of Mrs. Marion Mackenzie, of 22, Terregles St., Maxwelltown, Dumfries.

Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," dated 16th Feb., 1915, records the following:-"For conspicuous bravery at Rouges Bancs on the 19th Dec., in rescuing a severely wounded man from in front of the German trenches, under a very heavy fire and after a stretcher-bearer party had been compelled to abandon the attempt. Private Mackenzie was subsequently killed on that day whilst in the performance of a similar act of gallant conduct."

Victoria Cross: Captain Thomas Tannatt Pryce, VC. MC and Bar. 4th Bn. Grenadier Guards, 13.04/1918, aged 32. Son of Thomas and Rosalie S. Pryce, of Pentreheylin Hall Mont; husband of Margaret Sybil Pryce, of Craufurd Lodge, Maidenhead, Berks. Panel 1.

Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," dated 21st May, 1918, records the following-"For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty, and self-sacrifice when in command of a flank on the left of the Grenadier Guards. Having been ordered to attack a village he personally led forward two platoons, working from house to house, killing some thirty of the enemy, seven of whom he killed himself. The next day he was occupying a position with some thirty to forty men, the remainder of his company having become casualties. As early as 8.15 a.m., his left flank was surrounded and the enemy was enfilading him. He was attacked no less than four times during the day, and each time beat off the hostile attack, killing many of the enemy. Meanwhile the enemy brought three field guns to within 300 yards of his line, and were firing over open sights and knocking his trench in. At 6.15 p.m., the enemy had worked to within sixty yards of his trench. He then called on his men, telling them to cheer and charge the enemy and fight to the last. Led by Captain Pryce, they left their trench and drove back the enemy with the bayonet some 100 yards. Half an hour later the enemy had again approached in stronger force. By this time Captain Pryce had only 17 men left, and every round of his ammunition had been fired. Determined that there should be no surrender, he once again led his men forward in a bayonet charge, and was last seen engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle with overwhelming numbers of the enemy. With some forty men he had held back at least one enemy battalion for over ten hours. His company undoubtedly stopped the advance through the British line, and thus had great influence on the battle."

Shot at Dawn: 8278 Private Archibald Browne, 2nd Bn. Essex Regiment, executed for desertion 19/12/1914, aged 26. Panel 7. Son of Mrs. Elizabeth Browne, of Greene St., Ingatestone, Essex.

Shot at Dawn: 8747 Private Albert Henry Pitts, 2nd Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment, executed for desertion 08/02/1915. Panel 2 and 3. Husband of Mrs. A.L. Pitts, of 44, King Road, Bengeworth, Evesham.

Shot at Dawn: 9689 Private Thomas Hope, 2nd Bn. Leinster Regiment, executed for desertion 02/03/1915. Panel 10. Son of Mrs B. Hope, of 5, Mill Road, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

The mass pardon of 306 British Empire soldiers executed for certain offences during the Great War was enacted in section 359 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, which came into effect on royal assent on 8 November 2006.

 

3/6002 Private

 Peter Kennedy

 2nd Bn. Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

Killed in action 21/10/1914.

Ploegsteert Memorial

Panel 9 and 10

 

Image courtesy of Joe O'Raw and William Kilgour

 

12821 Private

John Carr

2nd Bn. Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

Killed in action 09/05/1915.

Panel 5

 

Image Courtesy of Joe O' Raw and William Kilgour

10441 Private

William Augustus Hursey

2nd Bn. The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

18/01/1915, aged 17.

Son of Ellen Sophia Hursey, of "Northville," Court Rd., Caterham, Surrey, and the late James Edward Hursey.

Panel 1 and 2

 

 

7429 Private

Patrick Finn

1st Bn. North Staffordshire Regiment

04/04/1915

Panel 8

 

Picture courtesy of Gerard Finn

 

Picture and cutting courtesy of Peter Rufus

Captain Thomas Rufus, MC

"A Coy" 11th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers

 

Killed in action 14/04/1918, aged 28.

 

Son of Frederick and Eliza Rufus, of The Willows, Goostrey, Cheshire.

 

Panel 4.

 

 

235380 Private

Joseph Edgar Devine

4th Bn. The King's (Liverpool Regiment)

19/04/1918, aged 40.

Son of the late Joseph and Jenny Devine; husband of Mary Elizabeth Devine, of 27, Ashwood Avenue, Gorton, Manchester.

Panel 3.

 

Picture courtesy of Shirley Peacock, granddaughter of this soldier

 

10461 Lance Corporal

James Gilmore

2nd Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

21/10/1914, aged 20.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Gilmore, of 66, Stanhope St., Belfast.

Panel 5.

 

 

Picture courtesy of Gareth MacAllister, James Gilmore was his grandmother's brother

 

8380 Corporal

Donald Mclean

2nd Bn. Argyll & Sutherland

Highlanders

21/10/1914, aged 34.

Son of John and Jane McLean, of Kelvinhaugh St., Glasgow; husband of Nellie McLean, of 31, Sleigh Drive, Lochend, Edinburgh.

Panel 9 and 10.

Corporal Donald McLean [8380] 2nd Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, of Rothesay, Isle of Bute officially notified as “missing”.  Shortly after entering the fighting line in France he was promoted from Lance-Corporal to Corporal for an act of bravery in going to the assistance of Lieut. Stirling in the retirement from Cateau, and thereby saving the officer’s life.  McLean performed the gallant act at considerable risk to himself.  It is hoped that McLean, who has been 12 years in the army and took part in the South African war, is still unharmed and may have become separated for a time from his regiment.'   Buteman & West Coast Chronicle
 
Killed 21.10.1914, day after his 34th birthday.  Left a [pregnant] wife and 3 children, my father being the unborn child.

 

Picture courtesy of granddaughter, Sheila McLean
 

 

65679 Private

William Henry Hall

1st/5th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers

10/04/1918, aged 19.

Son of Herbert and Florence Hall, of 137, Skinnerthorpe Rd., Pitsmoor, Sheffield.

Panel 2.

 

Picture courtesy of Kerry Stanley

 

11440 Private

Edmund Revely

2nd Bn. Durham Light Infantry

28/10/1914, aged 23.

Husband of Daisy Revely, of 379, Main Rd., Glascote, Tamworth.

Panel 8 and 9.

 

He was born in West Hartlepool on 18th July 1891 and he worked as a hand putter at Trimdon Colliery before joining up. He had an attestation before he joined up and was given a very good conduct record from the highest ranking member of the police force in that town.

His name is also commemorated at St Editha’s church and St George’s church in Tamworth. Also in St Aidans’s church in Hartlepool and in a memorial book alongside his brother Thomas Revely who also served in WW1.

Plus a new generation came to our family. the same day he was killed I was in labour with my son all those years later and I have given him the middle name of REVELY after Edmund

 

 

Picture courtesy of Jackie Newman, great granddaughter

 

359246 Private

George Smallshaw

2nd/10th Bn. Liverpool Scottish

24/08/1917, aged 26.

Panel 3.

Father of George and Dorothy Leah, one of 4 brothers, he is pictured above with the only brother to survive the war, Ernest (left)

 

Picture courtesy of Lance Smallshaw

 

 

8851 Private

Jesse Reuben Mitchell

2nd Bn. Royal Berkshire Regiment

09/05/1915, aged 24.

Panels 7 and 8

Son of Reuben and Mary Mitchell, of I, London Rd., Wokingham.

Picture courtesy of great niece, Ros Pottinger

44100 Private

Edmund Adams

2nd Bn. King's Own Scottish Borderers

Formerly 2308 H. C. (Highland Cyclists) Bn.

15/04/1918

Panel 5.

Born Perth, Scotland.

Husband to Christina Brown Henderson, father to Edna.

 

Picture courtesy of grandson, Graham McLaren

 

10362 Private

Charles Henry Gwilliam

1st Bn King's Shropshire Light Infantry

02/01/1915, aged 21.

Panel 8.

He was the son of Samuel & Emily Gwilliam, of Bishopstone,  Bridge Sollars. Hereford, Herefordshire.

Picture courtesy of Phil Turner

104936 Sapper

Richard Thomas

183rd Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers

01/12/1915.

Panel 1

 

Picture courtesy of grandson, Vic Webber

2463 Private

John Sanders

2nd Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment

19/12/1914, aged 43.

Panels 2 and 3.

Husband of Nellie Hughes (formerly Sanders), of 2, Back, 65, Great Russell St., Birmingham.

 

Pictures courtesy of Great Granddaughter Margaret Anne Clewley on behalf of Grandson Derek James Clewley.

43012 Serjeant

Oscar Reginald Hazell, MM

11th Bn. Suffolk Regiment

Between 09/04 - 19/04/1918, aged 22.

We believe he died during the Lys Offensive, holding the right flank between
Gris Pot and Bois Grenier.
 
The line was just behind Hollebeque Farm.
 
He is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial – Panel 3.
 
No-one alive in my family today knew of his existence. I discovered that my
Grandfather had a brother purely by chance. The day after this - once again
purely by chance, I came across this photograph of him.
 

Picture courtesy of Chris Hazell, great nephew

7876 Private

Robert Chapman

1st Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment

20/10/1914, aged 31.

Husband of Florence Chapman of 23 Summer Lane, Barnsley, he also left two daughters Lorna Chapman aged 2 years and Vera Chapman who was just 12 months.

Panel 4.

 

Picture courtesy of granddaughter Brenda Thurling, who regrettably never knew him

13968 Private

Christopher John Caudwell

2nd Bn. Lincolnshire Regiment

25/09/1915, aged 20.

Son of Alfred and Sarah Ann Caudwell, of Wellow, Newark, Notts.

Panel 3.

 

Picture courtesy of great-niece, Ruth Bulman

 

 

3472 Rifleman

Philip Claude Harris

3rd Bn. Rifle Brigade

23/10/1914, aged 20.

Philip died after being shot in the head by a sniper at Chapelle d' Armentieres.

Dedicated by his niece Pauline

10699 Private

James Statham

15th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment

28/06/1918, aged 40.

Panel 2 and 3.

 

Born 1878 in Fazeley, near Tamworth, Staffordshire.

 

Picture courtesy of Jacky Robinson-Wing

 

12786 Private

Henry (Harry) Holden

2nd Bn. Scots Guards

13/04/1918, aged 25.

Son of Mr and Mrs Thomas Holden of 63, Clarence Street, Newton Common.

Panel 1.

 

Pictures courtesy of Kevin Ashcroft

 

 

265485 Serjeant

James Bury

DCM. MM. Mentioned in Despatches

1st/6th Bn. Duke of Wellington's

(West Riding Regiment)

13/04/1918, aged 32.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. James Bury, of 8, Victoria Rd., Barnoldswick, Yorks.

Panel 6.

 

 

 

23681 Private

Arthur Flower

2nd Bn. Devonshire Regiment

05/09/1917, aged 30.

Son of Mrs. Julia Flower, of 3, Alma Cottages, Widcombe, Bath.

Panel 3.

 

240876 Private

Percy Algernon Longstaff

1st/5th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers

10/04/1918, aged 29.

Son of Catherine Longstaff (nee Beagle), of 35, Bank St., Gateshead-on-Tyne,

and the late David Longstaff.

Panel 2.

 

Picture courtesy of great nephew, Derick Lawson

 

12/1071 Private

Alfred (Fred) Sykes

12th Bn. King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

13/04/1918

Panel 8.

 

The image on the right shows Fred with Mary Jane Wade

Pictures courtesy of John Wood

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