Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery is located 12 Kms west of Ieper town centre, on the Boescheepseweg, a road leading from the N308 connecting Ieper to Poperinge. From Ieper town centre the Poperingseweg (N308) is reached via the Elverdingestraat, then over two small roundabouts in the J. Capronstraat. The Poperingseweg is a continuation of the J. Capronstraat and begins after a prominent railway level crossing. On reaching Poperinge, the N308 joins the left hand turning onto the R33, Poperinge ring road. The R33 ring continues to the left hand junction with the N38 Frans-Vlaanderenweg. 800 metres along the N38 lies the left hand turning onto Lenestraat. The next immediate right hand turning leads onto Boescheepseweg. The cemetery itself is located 2 Kms along Boescheepseweg on the right hand side of the road.
Boescheepseweg, 8970 Poperinge, Belgium
From 1915 until 1920 the hamlet of Lijssenthoek became the venue for the biggest evacuation hospital in the Ypres Salient.
The second largest Allied cemetery in Belgium (only Tyne Cot is larger).
It is the largest hospital cemetery in the Ypres Salient, with almost 11,000 victims, representing 30 nationalities.
Lijssenthoek was the site of a major cluster of Casualty Clearing Stations near the town of Poperinge, which also housed hospitals. Most of the burials here died of their wounds in the course of their treatment. Consequently, all but 24 of the graves are identified.
The dates 1914-1920 are inscribed above the imposing entrance way which has large cast iron gates set within it.
There are French graves just inside to the left and German graves at the front right, but most of the French and German graves are located towards the rear of the cemetery. There is also a small plot of Chinese Labour Corps graves. The cemetery was originally started by the French 15th Hopital d'Evacuation, and used by British forces from June 1915.
In parts, there is an interesting distinction between the burials of officers and other ranks. The graves in the front rows of Plots 14, 15 and 16 are mainly officers, with other ranks buried in the rows behind. There are rows of officer graves in other parts of the cemetery too - such as Plot 2, Row A.
A recent addition is an excellent museum located adjacent to the entrance to the cemetery set partially below natural ground level. A private trust is closely involved with the operations of the cemetery and operates its own website.
A unique feature is the boundary fence comprising steel posts each of which represents one day of the First World War. Into each of these are punched perforations representing the number of burials on each day. The tempo of operations is very easily gauged. A very sombre commemoration indeed.
The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and Captain Arthur James Scott Hutton. Hutton was appointed to the Commission as Assistant Architect in France, Belgium and Germany, working with Blomfield, Sir Herbert Baker and Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Sourced and submitted by Steve Larkins (2013) & Julianne T Ryan. 17 September 2014. Lest we forget.