Poperinge Communal

Poperinge town centre remained in British hands throughout the war. It was a strategically well-placed place: large, close to Ypres and relatively safe from bombing. Initially there were many field hospitals or 'Casualty Clearing Stations' there, but in 1916 these were replaced by a medical aid station or 'Field Ambulance'. Near the municipal cemetery, a military hospital was located in the castle of justice of the peace D'Hondt. Initially the hospital was named 'Hôpital Château', but after a visit by Queen Elizabeth, it was renamed Elisabeth Hospital.

The first wounded who died in the nearby field hospitals at Poperinge were interred in the municipal cemetery. During the period 21 October 1914 until June 1915, mainly Belgian, British and French military burials took place there. From 1916 onwards, only sporadic burials of fallen soldiers took place in the tombs of Poperinge families. After the war, some bodies were exhumed and transferred to other cemeteries. Today there are still 22 graves of British soldiers who died in the period October 1914-June 1915, one of whom could not be identified. There are also 6 graves dating from after World War I: 1 major who died in 1921 and 5 employees of the Imperial War Graves Commission (the forerunner of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) who were responsible for the management and maintenance of the military cemeteries.

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