Bandaghem Military Cemetery

In preparation for the Third Battle of Ypres, the British Fifth Army decided to increase the number of medical posts or Casualty Clearing Stations (C.C.Ss) in order to more quickly receive and care for wounded soldiers. Each C.C.S was given its own specialisation. Bandaghem also got two field hospitals nearby in the summer of 1917. The name Bandaghem was derived from the English term 'to bandage', meaning 'to bind'.

One hospital specialized in taking care of the sick, the other in treating nervous cases. Today this phenomenon is better known by the appellations "shell shock," "shock," "battle fatigue," "post-traumatic stress syndrome. At the beginning of the war, however, psychiatry was still in its infancy. With neuroses, people looked for a physical cause, but often the symptoms were attributed to cowardice. The medical stations right behind the front had neither the time nor the knowledge to make the correct diagnosis. From 1917 onward, however, people began to recognize that traumata could also have a psychological cause, yet this was not taken seriously. From then on, patients were labeled "N.Y.D.-N", Not Yet Diagnosed-Nervous case and were no longer sent to hospitals in England, but referred to specific field hospitals behind the front, such as the hospital in Bandaghem. There they were kept for a month for observation to distinguish the "real" cases from the so-called feinzers. After diagnosis by the chief physician, the patients were either sent back to the front immediately, or after a therapy consisting of rest or farm work, or evacuated to basic hospitals in Rouen or Etaples. Perhaps quite a few patients were also executed. Of the approximately 5,000 cases that ended up in the Bandaghem field hospital, only 16% were eventually transferred to the base hospitals

The 816 graves at Bandaghem Military Cemetery, designed by Sir R. Blomfield, are scattered in four beds. Burials of those killed in World War I continued until October 1918. Most died during the Third Battle of Ypres in autumn 1917 or during the German Spring Offensive in spring 1918. Originally more dead were buried here, but after the war, 4 French pits, 4 British pits, 1 German perk, 2 American graves and 2 Belgian graves were cleared. Among the First World War casualties, are 746 dead from the UK (5 of whom are unidentified), 2 Australians, 6 Canadians, 11 New Zealanders, 7 South Africans, 38 Germans (3 of whom could not be identified) and 1 French citizen. The British dead also include 4 men from the 'Chinese Labour Corps'.

Three members of the 'Royal Engineers', Furlonger, Johnson and Farren (buried in perk III, row D, graves 31, 32, 33) were posthumously awarded the rare 'Albert Medal' (AM). On 30 April 1918, a wagon containing ammunition exploded. Five men managed to hitch the locomotive back to the burning wagon in time to lead it away from the ammunition depot to avoid worse. Three of the five men died in the blast: Furlonger, Johnson and Farren. All five were awarded the Albert Medal which rewarded acts of exceptional bravery.

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