South of Ypres

Bedford House CWGC
Less than two miles south of the Ypres Lille Gate, this is one of the largest cemeteries in the Salient.
The cemetery shortly after the war, giving some indication of its deceptive enormity.
Chateau Rosendal, aka Woodcote House, aka Bedford House, before the war, as depicted in a 1917 sketch, and remains from its ruins within the cemetery itself.
Brigade H.Q. in in Bedford House, Grounds
 Enclosure no. 2 then and now from the same site. It had started as a burial ground in December 1915 and used throughout the war until October 1918. After the Armistice a further 400 graves were moved into this Enclosure from two British military cemeteries close to the Ypres town centre, the École de Bienfaissance Cemetery and the Asylum Cemetery.
A generation later a new inscription had to be added to mark those dead from another world war, all of them soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force, who died in the defence of the Ypres-Comines canal and railway at the end of May 1940.

Zillebeke village and most of the commune were in the hands of Commonwealth forces for the greater part of the First World War, but the number of cemeteries in the neighbourhood bears witness to the fierce fighting in the vicinity from 1914 to 1918.  Bedford House, sometimes known as Woodcote House, were the names given by the Army to the Chateau Rosendal, a country house in a small wooded park with moats which still remain in place as is the drive leading to the chateau, now leading instead to the cemetery.  The ruins of the chateau can distinctly be viewed within the cemetery.  During the First World War the chateau was used by local British Field Ambulances and Dressing Stations.  At an early stage burials were effected in the grounds.  In January 1917 the chateau was adopted by 55 Brigade as its headquarters until it was severely damaged by German 8-inch shells (with 500 gas shells falling in one day during the Third Battle of Ypres). It was used by field ambulances and as the headquarters of brigades and other fighting units, and charcoal pits were dug there from October 1917.  In time, the property became largely covered by small cemeteries


Inscribed on the grave of M.H. Ride, died at age 19, September 30, 1915 of the King's Royal Rifle Corps: 'DAD'S BEST PAL'
The entrance with its gates and driveway lined with conifers was in fact for the original 'Bedford House' - the name given by the British to the existing Chateau Rosendal that stood here. Throughout one sees the remains of the building scattered around the site.
 The grave of Rupert Price Hallowes VC MC  of the 4th Bn Middlesex Regiment. During the fighting at Hooge in the Ypres Salient, Belgium, between the dates of September 25 to 30, 1915, 
2nd Lieutenant Hallowes set a magnificent example to his men under heavy and prolonged bombardments. On more than one occasion he climbed up on the parapet, utterly regardless of danger, in order to put fresh heart into his men. He made daring reconnaissance's of the German positions in our lines. When the supply of bombs was running short he went back under very heavy shell fire and brought up a fresh supply. Even after he was mortally wounded he continued to cheer those around him and to inspire them with fresh courage. 
He later died of his wounds and for most conspicuous bravery was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross on November 16, 1915.
5,139 soldiers either lie buried or commemorated here, over 3,000 of which remain unidentified.

St. Eloi
 Distant view of St. Eloi Ridge and Craters, and a photograph of the Crater on the Bluff looking towards St. Eloi from July, 1916.

At a crossroads on the N365 is a Belgian Krupp 95 mm gun and Union flag commemorating the underground mine warfare that took place here at St. Eloi. The site of many bloody encounters, this marks the spot where the Germans fired their first mine in March 1915 to counter-attack British attacks on this position. At the start of the June 7, 1917 attack on Messines Ridge, the 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company detonated the largest single charge containing 95, 600 pounds of ammonal. This led to the capture of St Eloi by the British 41st Division.
Trenches: St Eloi
Over the flat slope of St. Eloi
A wide wall of sand bags.
Night,
In the silence desultory men
Pottering over small fires, cleaning their mess-tins:
To and fro, from the lines,
Men walk as on Piccadilly,
Making paths in the dark,
Through scattered dead horses,
Over a dead Belgian's belly.

The German have rockets. The English have no rockets.
Behind the line, cannon, hidden, lying back miles.
Before the line, chaos:

My mind is a corridor. The minds about me are corridors.
Nothing suggests itself. There is nothing to do but keep on.

T. E. Hulme
The Tunnellers Memorial at the site shown right honours the British, Canadian and Belgian sappers who dug the explosive mines detonated under enemy lines on March 27, 1916. Tunnellers were not infantrymen but their work was dangerous, harrowing and definitely not for claustrophobes. Sebastian Faulk's war novel Birdsong includes extended sections conveying all too well how appalling the work of tunnellers could be.
St. Eloi crater


Turning off of the main road nearby is Bus House CWGC
A mile outside Voormezele is this cemetery standing behind a farmhouse known as "Bus House" during the war because it was close to a wrecked London Omnibus which had broken down in no man's land whilst transporting soldiers to the Front. Clapham mentions it in his memoirs Mud and Khaki:The Memories of an Incomplete Soldier when in early April 1915 'suddenly out of the darkness in front of us there loomed up the spectre of a London bus, broken and derelict, but still standing at the side of the road'.
http://www.ww1battlefields.co.uk/flanders/south.html

Blauwepoort Farm CWGC
Immediately after the war and today.
Sited in Zillebeke in West Flanders, some 3 kilometres south-east of Ypres, Blauwepoort Farm Cemetery is situated in the grounds of the farm bearing the same name.  The cemetery was started by a French battalion of Chasseurs Alpins in November 1914 for use during the First Battle of Ypres.  It was subsequently used by British forces from February the following year until February 1916.  The cemetery closed in November 1916, with the French graves being removed after the armistice. It contains 83 British and 7 dominion burials.

Railway Dugouts CWGC
The cemetery just after the war and a near-approximation of the same area.
The name derives from the dugouts located in the railway embankment that was located here during the war. Siting dugouts on the side away from the Germans protected them from artillery fire. The railway still passes today, and trains can be seen rushing past the cemetery from time to time. 

One poignant inscription for Pte. Merchant of 58th Bn., Canadian Inf. who died aged only 16 years on June 6, 1916 reads:
"THE ONLY CHILD OF AGED PARENTS"
There are just under 2,500 buried here, with 400 brought in after the Armistice who had survived long enough to be sent or brought back from the front line, but eventually succumbed to their wounds at the Advanced Dressing Station.
 Among the graves is that of Frederick Youens VC who was twenty three years old, and a temporary second lieutenant in the 13th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC:
On 7 July 1917 near Hill 60, Belgium, it was reported that the enemy were preparing to raid the British trenches and Second Lieutenant Youens, who had already been wounded, immediately set out to rally a Lewis gun team which had become disorganised. While doing this an enemy bomb fell on the Lewis gun position without exploding. The second lieutenant picked it up and hurled it over the parapet, but soon after another bomb fell near the same place and again he picked it up, but it exploded in his hand, severely wounding him and some of his men. The officer later succumbed to his wounds.
Youens had been training to become a teacher before the outbreak of the war and had been granted a scholarship to Oxford University.
War debris I came across nearby.
Southeast of Ypres
Larch Wood Railway Cutting CWGC
The cemetery was founded by Commonwealth troops in April 1915 and remained in use until April 1918, when the Western Front had moved away from the area. Most of the dead are from the defence of the nearby Hill 60. After the Armistice, the cemetery was enlarged with the concentration of graves from the battlefield, smaller cemeteries in the area and Commonwealth troops buried in from German war cemeteries.
The graves of 86 people are defined as "special memorials" in that they are either recorded as being buried here but the CWGC was unable to find proof (headstones marked "Believed to be buried in this cemetery") or they are known to be buried here but their exact location was lost or destroyed by later fighting (headstones marked "Known to be buried in this cemetery"). These graves all carry (unless replaced by a personalised family message) the inscription at the foot of the stone "Their Glory Shall Not Be Blotted Out" - a line from Sirach 44:13 suggested by Rudyard Kipling as seen in the last photograph here.
Poppies across from the entrance
Oak Dump CWGC
A typical pastoral scene across from and outside the cemetery.
Oak Dump Cemetery is a few miles south of Ypres on the Bernikkewallestraat a road leading from the Rijselsesweg (N365) through the Lille Gate to Armentieres.
It was made by fighting units in July, August and September 1917 and one grave of 1914 was brought in after the Armistice. In March 1918 a sap opposite the cemetery was blown in, and seven men of the 180th Siege Battery were killed. Their bodies were found in 1927 and buried in the cemetery. The cemetery now contains 111 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, five of them unidentified. Two of the graves destroyed by shell fire are represented by special memorials. The cemetery was designed by W H Cowlishaw.

Southwest of Ypres

Reninghelst during the war.
 
The church, St. Vedastuskerk, taken from 3rd Cdn. Div. H.Q. and today
As Alec Paton was passing through Reninghelst he noticed a sign, erected by HQ for the troops, which read 'DO NOT SPEAK TO THE CHINESE.' Underneath, also in large letters, a wit had written, 'WHO THE HELL CAN?'.
THE CHINESE LABOUR CORPS IN FRANCE 1917-1921, BRIAN C FAWCETT
Reninghelst  New Military Cemetery
The village of Reninghelst was occupied by Imperial forces from the late autumn of 1914 to the end of the war and was sufficiently far from the front line to provide a suitable station for field ambulances. The earliest burials took place in the Churchyard but, in November 1915, the New Military Cemetery was opened. It remained in use until September 1918. 798 lie buried here.
An example of a grave immediately after the war and today, standardised. This is of Canadian Lieutenant Arnold Thurston.
Three examples of soldiers 'shot at dawn'-  Rifleman Barker, shot for for cowardice November 4, 1916, Private Loader, executed for desertion August 19 1917, and Private Smith, executed for desertion November 11, 1917

La Clytte Military Cemetery

Unique iron wreath at the entrance.
La Clytte Military Cemetery is located about five miles southwest of Ypres turning off on the N375 connecting Ypres to Dikkebus, Klijte and on to Loker onto the N304 Klijtseweg.
1082 lie here.
John Lynn, VC, DCM
On 2 May 1915 near Ypres, Belgium, when the Germans were advancing behind their wave of asphyxiating gas, Private Lynn, although almost overcome by the deadly fumes, handled his machine-gun with great effect against the enemy, and when he could not see them, he moved his gun higher up the parapet so that he could fire more effectively. This eventually checked any further advance and the outstanding courage displayed by this soldier had a great effect upon his comrades in the very trying circumstances. Private Lynn died later from the effects of gas poisoning.
Lynn was recipient of the Cross of the Order of St. George, 4th Class, from Russia.
 The Church of Our Lady in what is now De Klijte then and now

West of Ypres
Railway Chateau CWGC
This small cemetery of roughly an hundred graves less than a mile west of Ypres was originally known as Augustine Street Cabaret Cemetery when it was begun in November 1914 as well as L.4 Post Cemetery. 105 lie buried here.

Some graves have two to a plot.

Belgian Battery Corner CWGC
A couple of miles south of Ypres at a road junction where three batteries of Belgian artillery were positioned in 1915 lies 573 casualties. The cemetery was begun by the 8th Division in June 1917 after the Battle of Messines (although one grave in Plot III, Row A, predates this) and it was used until October 1918, largely for burials from a dressing station in a cottage near by. Almost half of the graves are of casualties who belonged, or were attached, to artillery units. Seven of the burials are unidentified and special memorials commemorate three casualties known to have been buried in the cemetery, but whose graves could not be located.
The graves of two soldiers of undivided India. Among the poignant inscriptions is this for Private Frederick Charles Nutkins, 6th Battn. Machine Gun Corps, Infantry:
A brave boy
and a good son.
Sadly missed,
remembered by all.
 Photograph of the Belgian Battery Corner First Aid Dressing Station