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Frenchman's Farm Cemetery


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Pals,

I am trying to locate the position of Frenchman's Farm Cemetery. My interest relates to casualties from the 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt who were killed in action in February 1915 and were originally buried there. According to the Register, Frenchman's Farm casualties were:

CHRISTMAS , H A L/Corporal 9680 Dorsetshire Regt 12/02/1915 Frenchman's Farm Cemetery Memorial 3

CRAWSHAW , A F L/Corporal 9085 Dorsetshire Regt 11/02/1915 Frenchman's Farm Cemetery Memorial 4

TUBBS, H G Private 3/5770 Dorsetshire Regiment 19/02/1915 Frenchman's Farm Cemetery Memorial 5

CUTTING , H Sapper 24714 Royal Engineers 25/02/1915 Frenchman's Farm Cemetery Memorial 6

STODGELL , J T Private 6997 Royal Fusiliers 28/01/1915 Frenchman's Farm Cemetery Memorial 7

They are now commemorated on Special Memorials in WULVERGHEM-LINDENHOEK ROAD MILITARY CEMETERY. CWGC states

"there are special memorials to...seven others buried elsewhere whose graves were destroyed in the fighting of 1917-18."

For interest, Special Memorials 1 and 2 relate to men previously buried in Cornwall Cemetery.

Any information on Frenchman's Farm Cemetery would be gratefully received.

Thanks

Steve

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Steve,

For the past 2 years I have been doing this research on Disappeared Cemeteries in the Ypres area. A few hundred so far. (All nationalities) Many leaving me with problems as to when and where and who.

Frenchman's Farm Cemetery is one of them I'm afraid.

But this is what I have found so far :

FRENCHMAN’S FARM, WULVERGEM

Location : “1 mile north of the village” (Michael Scott, Ypres Salient, p. 131) ; Frenchman’s Farm (the farm itself, with no indication of a cemetery, can be found on the British trench map "Wytschaete", 28 S.W. 2, 1 April 1917, N.34.b.30.90. This is north west of Wulvergem, west side of the present Vrooilandstraat, approx. 700 meters from the crossroads with the "Gremmerslinde".

This disappeared cemetery must have been not so far from the present CWGC cemetery Pond Farm Cemetery.

Number of graves : 29 British, and 1 French (1914-15)

Transferred to : Wulvergem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery (don't know when, post Armistice, early 1920s)

I'm afraid that's all. Sorry I don't have the trench map here. So I cannot scan the fragment showing Frenchman's Farm.

Hope this is useful.

Aurel

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Aurel,

Thank you very much for the reply. I have the War Diary and CSM Ernest Shephard's book (A Sergeant-Major's War) which cover this period. I also have the IWM Trench Maps CD, so will have to try and pin down their location as best I can.

It is interesting that some of the casualties from this period are in different cemeteries; KIA in Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery, DoW = Dranouter Churchyard, Bailleul Communal Cemetery (Nord), Boulogne Eastern Cemetery and also Menin Gate Memorial. It is also notable that DoW far outweighed those KIA - perhaps a feature of the fighting at that time?

Regards

Steve

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1. I have the War Diary and CSM Ernest Shephard's book (A Sergeant-Major's War) which cover this period. I also have the IWM Trench Maps CD, so will have to try and pin down their location as best I can.

2. It is interesting that some of the casualties from this period are in different cemeteries; KIA in Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery, DoW = Dranouter Churchyard, Bailleul Communal Cemetery (Nord), Boulogne Eastern Cemetery and also Menin Gate Memorial.

3. It is also notable that DoW far outweighed those KIA - perhaps a feature of the fighting at that time?

Regards

Steve

Steve,

1. If you can't find the location, let me know.

2. Can't we say that this is what could be expected ? Wounded men were moved away from the front lines, and when they died "along the line" (dressing stations, casualty clearing stations etc.) they were buried nearby I guess ?

3. Possible. What does the War Diary say with regard to Feb 1915 ? I am not so familiar with that area (I live north of Ypres), but I guess Feb 1915 ... nothing significant happened there, either north or south of Ypres ? It was between First Ypres and Second Ypres... Occasional shelling or so ?

Aurel

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Steve,

1. If you can't find the location, let me know.

2. Can't we say that this is what could be expected ? Wounded men were moved away from the front lines, and when they died "along the line" (dressing stations, casualty clearing stations etc.) they were buried nearby I guess ?

3. Possible. What does the War Diary say with regard to Feb 1915 ? I am not so familiar with that area (I live north of Ypres), but I guess Feb 1915 ... nothing significant happened there, either north or south of Ypres ? It was between First Ypres and Second Ypres... Occasional shelling or so ?

Aurel

1. I don't have access to any maps at present (abroad at work), so if you could scan the appropriate trench map with an 'X marks the spot' it would be greatly appreciated.

2. Indeed - I just never stated it.

3. On 9 February the 1st Bn left Bailleul and marched via the Lille Road and Neuve Eglise (Nieuwkerke) to the front line at Wulverghem in E. Sector. The War Diary entries and CSM Shephard's diary both refer to almost continual shelling and musketry fights and some sniping early on, but things then quietened down. The fire fight then increased and several casualties inflicted by snipers.

Thanks for your help and interest.

Steve

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1. I don't have access to any maps at present (abroad at work), so if you could scan the appropriate trench map with an 'X marks the spot' it would be greatly appreciated.

Steve

Steve,

OK, I'll try. "Try", for there might be a technical problem. Here at home I have to make a scan of a photocopy of the (extract of the) trench map that will be in the Ypres Documentation Centre.

However, it's no longer allowed there to make a photocopy of a genuine trench map. (Fear of damaging it on the photocopying machines, some maps are very fragile). But they may have a reproduction there, or a copy, which can be photocopied. And if not I'll try with my digital camera.

Aurel

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Aurel here is one of the area

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Thanks, Annette ! I saves me some time and trouble.

Frenchman's Farm in the bottom left corner.

And if ever Steve is in the area and is trying to find where it was (or "is" ? For I don't know if there is a post war farm now)

That main road north of it, with Parrain's Farm and Taffin Farm, is the "Wijtschatestraat" (road going from Wijtschate (right) to Kemmel (west, not on map)

That smaller road, south of it and more or less parallel to it, with the farms Store Farm and Spy Farm (in the T junction), is "Gremmerslinde"

And the road with Frenchman's Farm, is "Vrooilandstraat".

Good luck ! :)

Aurel

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Hi Steve, Aurel, Anette,

The 1st Gordon Highlanders and the 2nd Royal Scots made a final attempt to take Wytchaete in December 1914. After this the Kemmel sector became known as a 'Quiet' sector. The Dorsets may well have been sent there for a rest! The Battalion I am researching, the 1/5th Lincolnshires (TF) relieved the the 1/4th Leicestershires in the E- trenches on April 6th 1915, the Leicesters in turn had relieved the 1st Monmouths (The divisional pioneers) on April 1st.

The E-trenches were at this time merely an unconnected series of breastworks, with an outpost trench E1 Left about 30 yards from the enemy line, just south east of Spanbroekmolen, which dominated all of the British trenches. The men facing the Lincolns were the 5th Bavarian R.I.R. and had been in the area for sometime. The Bavarians had amongst their ranks some excellent marksmen and the Lincolns and Leicesters suffered many casualties through snipers. Both the Lincoln and Leicester histories mention several French and British dead lying unburied in the area in front of E1 Left which could not be recovered due to the snipers.

The 1/5th Lincolns first H.Q. was at One Tree Farm, but they later moved the H.Q. to Frenchmans Farm. The farm was also the starting point for a communication trench called Piccadilly which started just to the left, you can just see the track (which became part of it) on Anette's map. The Farm was marked by the Germans with 'fixed' rifles and several casualties occured here at night.

Aurel, there is still a Farm (quite a smart one) on the road. But only on the Siuiverbeck side, it has a sort of courtyard, which would correspond to the markings on Anette's map. It was 2004 when I walked the area and I remember at the time wondering if this could have been the site of Frenchman's Farm, but something just did not feel right! It was my first ever attempt at walking out trench lines though.

I have the same map as Anette's, which if I am not mistaken is from 1917. I have superimposed the 1915 E sector trenches on it to the best of my ability, using a sketch map taken from the 1/4th Leicesters War Diary at the NA. If any of you would like a copy then drop me a line.

It was a very enjoyable walk I remember, on a glorious day, with not a soul about, well worth the effort. Especially as there are some seldom visited cemeteries on the route.

Steve,

Several of my 'sniper' victims lie in Bailleul and Boulogne. Bailleul had a casualty Clearing station if I remember correctly and at Boulogne they had nearly made it home. Our Divisional officers were buried in Dranouter Churchyard.

Regards,

Steve.

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Aurel, Annette and Steve,

Very many thanks for all your postings. Excellent to see Frenchman's Farm on a map. It will have to be another site to be visited when I finally get to Flanders (am off to the Somme again in a few weeks). Altogether a very successful topic.

Best Regards

Steve

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