Sanctuary Wood Cemetery - Ypres

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery - Hill 62, Ypres in Belgium

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery is situated adjacent to Hill 62 off the Menin road near Ypres in Belgium. It holds the remains of  1,989 men of which 1,353 are unidentified. Originally three cemeteries in 1915, two were lost after bombardment during 1916 and many stones carry the soldiers details with "Buried Near This Spot" inscribed on them. As well as British there are Canadian, Kiwi, Australian, South African and Newfoundland soldiers and a single German officer.

Sanctuary Wood was so named as it acted as a screen for allied troops but during the battle of Mount Sorrel they were practically obliterated. The cemetery today stands on the site of one of the original ones.

Interesting graves are those of Lt Gilbert Talbot of whom Talbot House in Poperinghe was founded and named by his brother Neville and Tubby Clayton. Another stone shows the details of two RFC pilots shot down over Zillebeke. Lt Eric Stroud and Capt Cecil White were finally identified 9 years after they were shot down in April 1918.

A Celtic memorial cross stands outside the cemetery dedicated to Lt Keith Rae killed on that spot July 30th 1915. The Germans attacked with the new "liquid fire" on that day and Rae was last seen standing on the parapet, badly burned but still resisting the enemy.