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Remembered Today:

Tyne Cot Cemetery - my first visit


michel knockaert
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to the hazard of a walk in Belgium,I went this afternoon for the first time to the British military cemetery of Tyn Cot.

My heart was submerged of sadness to the sight of the number impressing of tombs which it contains and especially tombs without name.

My thoughts went towards all these brave men brought together in anonymity as towards their families which will never know where they rest.

Michel KNOCKAERT

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hi michel,at the end of the month I am taking my in laws to ypres,we will take them to tyn cot so that they to can see the waste of life,the graves of so many unknowns brings it home as does the menin gate

biffo

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I visited Tyne Cot a year or so ago, my first time, and was touched by the size and number of dead. Yet strangely it was not this that touched me the most. It was the smaller, seamingly 'not worth the trouble cemteries', that in this days society you would think some official would have said lets save time and money and move them together. These smaller ones were beautiful and a credit and fitting tribute to the men who gave their lives.

regards

Arm

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Dear Michel,

I read that you and many others are impressed by the number of headstones, it's true. Cold statistics say that the los of life for the "Passendaele Ridge" was 35 man per meter, a battle fought over 13 weeks, from 31 july - to - 10 November 1917. Nearly 300.000 British causalties.

For your information, Tyne Cot (the row of bunkers, pillboxes was nicknamed Tyne Cottage by the Northumberland Fusiliers, hence Tyne Cot), is worlds largest British War Cemetery. And also a memorial to the soldiers "who will for ever be on patrol" (35.000 names on the enclosure walls beginning in August 1917, the other missing men are on the Menin Gate)

Indeed, when you see those headstones, row on row, like soldiers standing in attention, anyone may ask, WHY ??? Pourquoi???

But returning to Tyne now. The Cross of Sacrifice, is build upon german pillboxes (a german defence line . The graves around that cross, is the original burial site.

Yours fauthfully

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I visited Tyne Cot a year or so ago, my first time, and was touched by the size and number of dead. Yet strangely it was not this that touched me the most. It was the smaller, seamingly 'not worth the trouble cemteries', that in this days society you would think some official would have said lets save time and money and move them together. These smaller ones were beautiful and a credit and fitting tribute to the men who gave their lives.

regards

Arm

I fully agree, Arm.

There's nothing like a tiny cemetery in the middle of a massive field hundreds of yards from any road to put things in perspective.

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Pals

Isn't this just a great example of the work that the CWGC gardeners do :) .

Whether we are talking Tyne Cot or one of the many smaller cemeteries, they are always immaculate.

Rgds

Andy

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Valley Cemetery, Vis-En-Artois. Well worth the trek through the fields.

Cemetery: VALLEY CEMETERY, VIS-EN-ARTOIS

Country: France

Locality: Pas de Calais

Location Information: Valley Cemetery lies south of Vis-en-Artois, some 12 kilometres south-east of Arras on the D939 road. From Vis-en-Artois take the D9 towards Cherisy for 1.5 kilometres, then take a track towards the cemetery on your left.

Historical Information: The cemetery was begun on 31 August 1918 with the burial of 31 officers and men of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion, who had died the previous day in the capture of Orix Trench, in the big grave in Row A, now numbered 8-11. Ten further burials were made in Row A during the early part of September and in 1924-25, Rows B and C were added when graves were brought in from the battlefields and from Thilloy German Cemetery. Valley Cemetery now contains 69 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 19 of the burials are unidentified and there is a special memorial to one casualty buried in Thilloy German Cemetery, whose grave could not be found on concentration. The cemetery was designed by W H Cowlishaw.

No. of Identified Casualties: 50

post-7183-1155730117.jpg

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Yes, Tyne Cot is breathtaking and the smaller, even tiny in comparision are beautiful. all kept so immaculate.

Like so many of us, I have a loved one somewhere out there, no known grave but remembered on the Menin Gate. As I walk around Tyne Cot and other cemetaries surrounding Ypres, I pause, and look at a headstone that says ' A Soldier known only to God' and think could that be you Edwin?

Two of the most beautifull among others that I have vistited are Ramparts Cemetery (Lille Gate) Ypres and Minty Farm, just outside Ypres. There are so many others equally as lovely and well kept.

God rest all those that repose in them, known and unknown.

We will never forget.

Terry W.

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Arm.

I echo your sentiments entirely.

I too have visited off the beaten track little cemeteries and thought that these lads should be among their comrades in one of the larger cemetaries close by. But then on reflection they were probably first buried by their comrades in close proximty to where they fell in battle, then later other lads who fell nearby were interred there too, or perhaps it was the site of a Field dressing station, whatever. They lay in peace among their comrades as is their right, in a now peaceful and beautiful place, undesturbed. Visited perhaps by the likes of you and I and their surviving loved ones.

RIP.

Regards.

Terry W.

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Tyne Cott is a place that chilled me on the first and only occasion that I visited. Perhaps it was the large number of 'Unknowns' or the fact that the town spires of Ypres can be made out from its wall of missing. However I have to confirm what others are saying because it is the smaller cemeteries which have moved me the most in recent visits. The few around Serre wood (or whatever it is called), where the Pals battalions advanced on July 1st, so small that you wonder why they were not concentrated in the massive Serre Road number 2 which is only a matter of a few hundred yards away, are among the most poignant that I have ever seen.

Jon :)

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QUOTE(armourersergeant @ Aug 15 2006, 06:57 AM)

I visited Tyne Cot a year or so ago, my first time, and was touched by the size and number of dead. Yet strangely it was not this that touched me the most. It was the smaller, seamingly 'not worth the trouble cemteries', that in this days society you would think some official would have said lets save time and money and move them together. These smaller ones were beautiful and a credit and fitting tribute to the men who gave their lives.

regards

Arm

I fully agree, Arm.

There's nothing like a tiny cemetery in the middle of a massive field hundreds of yards from any road to put things in perspective.

Ditto

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I'm new to this research mallarkey so forgive me if I'm asking a stupid question but is there anywhere online where I can research those who are burried at Tyne Cot. My Great Uncle died at Passchendaele on 12th October 1917, his body was found 4 weeks later (according the the Aus Red Cross Missing in Action report), althought his memorial is on the Menin Gate Memorial I have been informed that his actual grave may be at Tyne Cot. His name was Pte.Robert Hennessey and he served with the 34th Bn of the Australian Infantry.

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My Great Uncle died at Passchendaele on 12th October 1917, his body was found 4 weeks later (according the the Aus Red Cross Missing in Action report), althought his memorial is on the Menin Gate Memorial I have been informed that his actual grave may be at Tyne Cot.

Joan,

If a soldier has his name on one of the panels of Menin Gate Memorial (Ypres) or Tyne Cot Memorial (Zonnebeke), this means that he has no known grave. This does not mean that he has no grave, only : not a grave with his name on. So it is possible that he has a grave "A Soldier of the Great War, Known Unto God".

What are the odds ? Tyne Cot Memorial + Menin Gate Memorial have the names of approx. 90.000 men. In the cemeteries in the Ypres Salient there are approx. 40.000 Unknown graves (not quite sure, it could be a little more, I'd better check my figures). So we can say that (almost) half of the men who have no grave with a name on, do have a grave, but nameless. The remains of the other are still in Flanders fields...

If your greatuncle has a grave (as an Unknown), it's not possible to say where that is. It may be Tyne Cot Cemetery (70% of the headstones are Unknowns), but it may just as well be in another cemetery nearby or elsewhere in the Salient.

Aurel

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Joan

Welcome to the forum :D .

The stats for Tyne Cot are almost unbelievable. Nearly 12000 graves and almost 35000 men commemorated on the Memorial at the back of the cemetery. of the graves only 3587 are actually named, this means that 8366 are un-named.

As mentioned above the only real source of information is the CWGC site.

Some may disagree, but I always get a very warm feeling (even in winter) when I visit Tyne Cot as my great-uncle is buried there, so IMHO always worth a visit.

Kind Rgds

Andy

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Joan

Welcome to the forum :D .

The stats for Tyne Cot are almost unbelievable. Nearly 12000 graves and almost 35000 men commemorated on the Memorial at the back of the cemetery. of the graves only 3587 are actually named, this means that 8366 are un-named.

As mentioned above the only real source of information is the CWGC site.

Some may disagree, but I always get a very warm feeling (even in winter) when I visit Tyne Cot as my great-uncle is buried there, so IMHO always worth a visit.

Kind Rgds

Andy

Thank you for the welcome! It's unbelievable the amount of graves there are without a name, so many men lost their lives and yet having no named grave for them to be remembered by.

If I remember correctly I read on the forum that Tyne Cot was given it's name by the Northumberland Fusiliers, it would be a strange coincidence if my Great Uncle was buried at Tyne Cot, his brother served (and died) with the Northumberland Fusiliers.

I have also been informed that the Tyneside Scottish is now known as 204 Brigade Royal Artilliery(T.A.) based at Kingston Park, Newcastle and they have photographs on show of the Tyneside Scottish Battalions from WW1 on show, I'm not sure yet how reliable this information is so any confirmation from posters would be appreciated, as this is only 20 mins drive from me it might be worth arranging a visit.

I've only just started researching my family over the last couple of weeks and I'm amazed at how much information I have been able to find out, although I must say the information has been more easily accessible from Australian Army records than any over here in the UK.

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The smallest and saddest cemetery i ever visited was Pigeon Ravine :(

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Joan,

I guess you have seen Robert Hennessey's army service record online at the Australian National Archives?

It seems there was an enquiry into his burial whereabouts in 1921, which drew a blank. He was last seen walking in the direction of a dressing station on 12/10/17. The records further state 'buried place not stated'

which is an entry dated 1/12/17, and the killed in action confirmation is dated 11/2/18.

If, as you say the Red Cross records state, his body was found later after his death it ties in with his army records entries as mentioned above.

It seems that any grave he might have had was lost. He was said to be near 'Frise House', vicinity of Passchendaele when last seen. Maybe a consultation of trench maps will show where that dressing station was.

He may or may not be an unknown at Tyne Cot, and I suspect it will not now be possible to discover more, but you never know.

Ian

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Joan.

I haven't been able to find Frise House on a map. However, CW Bean's Official History mentions his officer (Captain Gilder) in connection with the 12 October.

"....the leading company commanders (Captains Jeffries and Gilder of the 34th) stopped their men at the entrance to the Broodseinde railway cutting*, and themselves went on to make sure that their column might not run into the enemy. At Keerselaarhoek cemetery they found the tape duly laid .... and by 3 o'clock, the time set, the 34th was extended on its jumping off position. But during the previous halt and afterwards, as it lay on the tape, the battalion was persistently shelled and suffered many casualties."

*I think this will be the eastern end of the cutting as their start point for the attack appears to have very near to Tyne Cot cemetery - Neil

It later talks about machine gun fire coming from "Hillside Farm" and a pillbox in the centre (presumably at Hillside Farm) which was captured by Captain Jeffries and a dozen men. It goes on to say:-

"The pillbox captured by Jeffries , being not far short of the 1st objective, the 34th dug in there. Great loss had been incurred; the 34th had only 3 officers left, and there were wide gaps in the line. The right flank had swung far away from the railway......, but on the left Captain Gilder (34th) found the 10th Brigade digging in slightly to his left rear ..... and fell back 70 yeards to join it."

In a note he says that Captain Gilder had been wounded by a machine gun bullet but was carrying on.

Neil

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In a note he says that Captain Gilder had been wounded by a machine gun bullet but was carrying on.

Neil

So it sounds like that machine gun bullet injury was the injury he suffered when Robert helped him to the D/S. Thanks for going to the trouble of finding out that information for me (you're a star!), like I said I'm new to this and wouldn't have a clue where to look to find that out.

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Joan.

I have tried to indicate on a modern map where the starting line was (blue line) - 34th would have been on the right hand side near the railway. The entrance to the railway cutting (circled in red) and Hillside Farm (circled blue) although the WW1 building may have been slightly more up the road (going north) than the present building.

I still don't know where Frise House was but presumably Robert would have walked down the railway line, or very near to it, and off the bottom of the map going back towards Ypres. This bit of the railway line seems disused now (may be a cycle track).

Due to size contraints the image does not look very good on the Forum. I can email you a better version if required (just send me a personal message with your email).

Neil

post-719-1156589106.jpg

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