MENIN ROAD SOUTH MILITARY CEMETERY

 

Ieper

 

West-Vlaanderen

 

Belgium

 

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Victoria Cross: Captain Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson, VC,

2nd Bn. Northamptonshire Regiment Plot II. E. 1. he was killed in action on 31/07/1917 aged 21. Son of Thomas Colyer Colyer-Fergusson and the late Beatrice Stanley Colyer- Fergusson, of Ightham Mote, Sevenoaks, Kent. Born in London. His brother Max Christian Hamilton Colyer-Fergusson fell in the 1939-1945 War.

 

 

Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 30272, dated 4th Sept., 1917; records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery, skilful leading and determination in attack. The tactical situation having developed contrary to expectation, it was not possible for his company to adhere to the original plan of deployments, and owing to the difficulties of the ground and to enemy wire, Captain Colyer-Fergusson found himself with a Serjeant and five men only. He carried out the attack nevertheless, and succeeded in capturing the enemy trench and disposing of the garrison. His party was then threatened by a heavy counter-attack from the left front, but this attack he successfully resisted. During this operation, assisted by his Orderly only, he attacked and captured an enemy machine gun and turned it on the assailants, many of whom were killed and a large number driven into the hands of an adjoining British unit. Later, assisted only by his Serjeant, he again attacked and captured a second enemy machine gun, by which time he had been joined by other portions of his company, and was enabled to consolidate his position. The conduct of this officer throughout forms an amazing record of dash, gallantry and skill, for which no reward can be too great, having regard to the importance of the position won. This gallant officer was shortly afterwards killed by a sniper."

 

  General Directions: Menin Road South Military Cemetery is located 2 Kms east of Ieper town centre, on the Meenseweg (N8), connecting Ieper to Menen.

From Ieper town centre the Meenseweg is located via Torhoutstraat and right onto Basculestraat. Basculestraat ends at a main crossroads, directly over which begins the Meenseweg. The Cemetery is located 800 metres along the Meenseweg on the right hand side of the road.

The Menin Road ran east and a little south from Ypres (now Ieper) to a front line which varied only a few kilometres during the greater part of the war. The position of this cemetery was always within the Allied lines. It was first used in January 1916 by the 8th South Staffords and the 9th East Surreys, and it continued to be used by units and Field Ambulances until the summer of 1918. The cemetery was increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from isolated positions on the battlefields to the east and the following cemetery:-

MENIN ROAD NORTH MILITARY CEMETERY was on the North side of the road at almost the same point. It was used by the units and Field Ambulances of another Corps from May, 1915, to August, 1916, and again to a small extent in 1917 and 1918. It contained the graves of 130 soldiers from the United Kingdom, three from Canada, and three from Newfoundland.

There are now 1,657 servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 119 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials are erected to 24 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. In addition, there are special memorials to 54 casualties who were buried in Menin Road North Military Cemetery, whose graves were probably destroyed by shell fire and could not be found. These are numbered between 1 and 57.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

 

The cemetery at the end of the war

 

The Menin Road North Special Memorial (above) stands on either side of the entrance gate, it commemorates the 57 men whose graves were destroyed by shell fire in Menin Road North Cemetery and could not be found after the war.

The San Fairy Anne Train, Hooge, near the Menin Road South Cemetery.

 

Menin Road South Cemetery in 1917

 

Menin Road South Cemetery in 1918

 

The simple wooden crosses marking the graves of officers, N.C.O.'s and men of the 8th South Staffordshire Regiment, in the Menin Road Cemetery, near Ypres, seen in October 1916. In the background can be seen St Martin's Cathedral. The foremost cross reads 'R.I.P. Pte. F.W. Dicken 8 S.Stafford. Regt. Regt.No.13460 Killed in Action 30.11.15'.
Other graves include: the following members of the 8th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment: Private T Cartwright, Corporal. Horton, Private. C Millward, Lance Corporal Hall, (name obscured),Lance Corporal Owen, Corporal Harry Farr and Private T S Holmes of 10th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment).