LOCRE HOSPICE CEMETERY

 

Heuvelland

 

West-Vlaanderen

 

Belgium

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Shot at Dawn: 40435 Private, Denis Jetson Blakemore, 8th Bn. North Staffordshire Regiment executed for desertion 09/07/1917, aged 28. Son of George L. and Sophia Blakemore, of 3, St. George's St., Mountfields, Shrewsbury. Native of Bicton, Shrewsbury. Plot I. A. 22.

 

Shot at Dawn: 15954 Private William Jones, 9th Bn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers, executed for desertion 25/10/1917, Plot I. C. 4.

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.

 

Locre Hospice Cemetery is located 10.5 Kms south-west of Ieper town centre on the Godtschalckstraat, a road leading from the Dikkebusseweg (N375).

From Ieper town centre the Dikkebusseweg is reached via Elverdingsestraat, straight over a roundabout onto J.Capronstraat (for 30 metres), then left along M.Fochlaan.

Immediately after the train station, the first right hand turning is the Dikkebusseweg. On reaching the village of Loker (formerly Locre) the first left hand turning leads onto the Kemmelbergweg. There follows an immediate right hand turning onto Godtschalckstraat. The cemetery is located 900 metres along the Godtschalckstraat on the right hand side of the road. A small 20 metre grassed access path leads to this site. Visiting Information Wheelchair access with some difficulty due to the entrance being accessed via a narrow 20 metre grassed path and 4 steps within the cemetery itself. Historical Information Locre (now Loker) was in Allied hands during the greater part of the war, and field ambulances were stationed in the Convent of St. Antoine. The village changed hands several times between 25 and 30 April 1918, when it was recaptured by the French. The hospice, or convent, was the scene of severe fighting on 20 May, but was not retaken until first week in July.

The Hospice Cemetery was begun in June 1917 by field ambulances and fighting units, and was used until April 1918. After the Armistice four graves were transferred to it from the garden of the Hospice, which was ultimately rebuilt.

The cemetery now contains 244 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 12 of the burials are unidentified and ten graves destroyed by shellfire are now represented by special memorials. The 14 Second World War burials date from late May 1940 and the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force to Dunkirk ahead of the German advance. There are also two German burials in the cemetery.

A Celtic cross, marking the grave of Major W H K (Willie) Redmond, Member of Parliament for Wexford, stands 100 meters along a grass track on the northern side of the cemetery. Major Redmond was mortally wounded at the battle of Messines and was buried in the Convent garden of the Locre hospice and his widow erected this memorial to mark his grave. Until the late 1950's the grave was maintained by a Sister from the (new) Locre hospice. In the 1990's the land was purchased by the Belgian State and is now maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The cemetery was designed by William Harrison Cowlishaw.

Casualty Details: UK 240; Canada 1; Australia 2; New Zealand 1; Germany 2; Total Burials: 246

 

The memorial Celtic cross that now marks the grave of Major W H K (Willie) Redmond, Member of Parliament for Wexford, and an image of the original grave in the Convent garden

 

 

 

 

28015 Private

John Spencer George Watts

10th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment

30/07/1917, aged 20.

Plot I. B. 9.

 

Picture courtesy of Vic Terry

 

John was my Mother's Cousin, the 3rd Son of  Albert E. & Annie E.  Watts of Rugby, Born 26 Sept 1896.

He was also the Brother of  Pvt. A Watts,   Born 17 Oct 1893 and buried at Fontaine-au-Pire. His full name was

Albert Edward George Watts.

 

 
     

24489 Private

Thomas Kellett

7th Bn. King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

23/09/1917, aged 35.

Plot III. A. 2.

He died on 23rd September 1917 and is buried in Locre Hospice Cemetery in grave III. A. 2.  He lived in Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire - working as a brick setters labourer - where his name is remembered on the Cenotaph in the town centre. He had a wife named Mary Alice and 3 daughters Lilian, Alice (my Grand Mother) and Betty (Elizabeth I presume) all of whom have passed away now. I have just learned that going by his army number he joined the army in December 1915 as a volunteer and went to France in 1916 where he fought in several battles until he died in the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). It seems, after talking to the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum, that Thomas Kellett may have been severely wounded and transferred to Locre Hospice (which was being used as a hospital) where he died of his wounds, although this is not the story that was passed down through the family.

 

Pictures courtesy of great grandson Darren Kellett

 

 

 

293408 Bombardier

Walter Alfred Soley

10th Heavy Bty. Royal Garrison Artillery

12/04/1918, aged 30.

Son of William and Louisa Soley, of 116, London Rd., Colne, Wilts.

Plot I. C. 24.

Walter was a great athlete who won many prizes. Walter was a partner in my grandfathers laundry business that started in 1906 at Richmond upon Thames. Grandad also served in ww1 in the army veterinary corps. He left grandma to carry on running the business and looking after their 4 young children.

Picture courtesy of great nephew, David Soley