Perth (China Wall) Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery

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Perth (China Wall)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Entrance to the cemetery
Used for those deceased 1914–1917
Established November 1914
Location 50°50′32″N 02°55′19″E / 50.84222°N 2.92194°E / 50.84222; 2.92194
near Ieper, West Flanders, Belgium
Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens
Total burials 2791
Burials by nation
Burials by war
Statistics source: WW1Cemeteries.com

Perth (China Wall) Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission burial ground for the dead of the First World War located near Ypres (now Ieper) in Belgium on the Western Front.

The cemetery grounds were assigned to the United Kingdom in perpetuity by King Albert I of Belgium in recognition of the sacrifices made by the British Empire in the defence and liberation of Belgium during the war.[1]

Foundation[edit]

The cemetery was begun in 1914 by French troops and adopted by the 2nd Scottish Rifles in June 1917.[2] A front line cemetery, it was called Perth (as the predecessors of the 2nd Scottish Rifles were raised in Perth), China Wall (from the communication trench known as the Great Wall of China), or Halfway House Cemetery and was in use until October 1917.[3] At the time of the armistice, it was a small cemetery of some 130 graves. It was expanded dramatically by concentration of graves from smaller cemeteries. The French element was also expanded, although these 158 graves have since been removed entirely.[4]

The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.[2]

Notable graves[edit]

Captain Henry Charles Willders-Lewis was killed in action on his 21st birthday at Ypres on 31 July 1917. He is buried at Perth Cemetery (China Wall)

This cemetery contains the burial places of two Victoria Cross recipients namely:

The cemetery also contains the burial places of seven soldiers executed by their own side for cowardice or desertion:

  • Private George Ernest Roe, of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, from Sheffield.[7] He was executed for desertion in June 1915,[3] aged 19.
  • Private Thomas Harris, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment).[8] He was executed for desertion in June 1915,[3] aged 21.
  • Private Thomas Docherty, King's Own Scottish Borderers.[9] He was executed for desertion in July 1915.[3]
  • Corporal Frederick Ives, Worcestershire Regiment.[10] He was executed for desertion in July 1915,[3] aged 30.
  • Private Ernest Fellows, Worcestershire Regiment, from Birmingham.[11] He was executed for desertion in July 1915, aged 29,[3] leaving a wife, Annie, and his parents James and Emma.[citation needed]
  • Private Louis Phillips, Somerset Light Infantry.[12] He was executed for desertion in August 1915,[3] aged 23.
  • Private Evan Fraser, Royal Scots.[13] He was executed for desertion in August 1915,[3] aged 19. He is commemorated on a special memorial, his original grave having been lost. Fraser absconded from his regiment at 4pm on 24 May 1915. He was arrested the next day at a local railway station in possession of a forged pass and handed back to the British. Whilst in British custody he escaped, but again was caught after little more than 24 hours. Two weeks later, he escaped custody for a second time and again was arrested within a day. On 13 July he was charged with having deserted on three occasions and of conduct to the prejudice of good order (having a forged pass). He was undefended at his trial. He pleaded guilty to the forgery, but not guilty to the counts of desertion. His battalion adjutant gave evidence, saying that Fraser was "a continual source of annoyance", a shirker and a continual deserter. He was shot at 4am on 2 August 1915.[14]

On 7 November 2006, the British government reversed its previous decision and announced a pardon for all soldiers executed in the Great War.[15]

Concentrated cemeteries[edit]

The following cemeteries were concentrated into Perth (China Wall):[2]

  • Becelaere German No. 1 (2 soldiers)
  • Belgian Chateau, Vlamertinghe (12 UK, 11 Canadian)
  • Broodseinde German, Zonnebeke (12)
  • Durham, Zillebeke (52)
  • Garter Point, Zonnebeke (19 Australian, 8 UK, 3 unknown)
  • Gordon House No. 2, Zillebeke (30)
  • Hans Kirchner German, Poelcapelle (4)
  • Houthulst German (1)
  • Keerselaere West German, Langemark (29)
  • Keerselaerhoek German, Passendale (12 UK, 2 Canadian)
  • Langemarck German No. 7 (Totenwaldchen), Langemark (4)
  • Langemarch German No. 8, Langemark (27)
  • L'Ebbe Farm, Poperinge (21)
  • Manneken Farm German No 3, Zarren (13)
  • Nachtigall (also known as Rossignol or Vieux-Chien) German, Gheluvelt (69)
  • Poelcapelle German No. 2 (96)
  • Poelcapelle German No. 3 (23 UK, 19 Canadian)
  • Ration Dump Burial Ground, Zillebeke (28 UK, 1 Canadian)
  • Reutel German, Becelaere (125 UK, 2 Canadian, 1 New Zealand)
  • St Joseph German, Hooglede (4)
  • St Julien Communal, Langemark (6 Canadian)
  • St Julien East German, (65 UK, 31 Canadian)
  • Schreiboom German, Langemark (34)
  • Transport Farm Annexe, Zillebeke (27)
  • Trench Railway, Zillebeke (21)
  • Treurniet German, Poelcapelle (1 Canadian)
  • Wallemolen German, Passendale (20 UK, 15 Canadian)
  • Weidendreft German, Langemark (98)
  • Westroosebeke German No. 2 (1)

References[edit]

External links[edit]