Remembering those who fought in the Great War.

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

Historical Information

Sanctuary Wood is one of the larger woods in the commune of Zillebeke. It was named in November 1914, when it was used to screen troops behind the front line. It was the scene of fighting in September 1915 and was the centre of the Battle of Mount Sorrel (2-13 June 1916) involving the 1st and 3rd Canadian Divisions.

There were three Commonwealth cemeteries at Sanctuary Wood before June 1916, all made in May-August 1915. The first two were on the western end of the wood, the third in a clearing further east. All were practically obliterated in the Battle of Mount Sorrel, but traces of the second were found and it became the nucleus of the present Sanctuary Wood Cemetery.

At the Armistice, the cemetery contained 137 graves. From 1927 to 1932, Plots II-V were added and the cemetery extended as far as 'Maple Avenue', when graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields. They came mainly from the communes immediately surrounding Ypres, but a few were taken from Nieuport (on the coast) and the following smaller cemeteries:-

BEYTHEM COMMUNAL CEMETERY, RUMBEKE (one United Kingdom burial of October, 1918).

DEERLYCK GERMAN CEMETERY (two United Kingdom burials of October, 1918; two others were taken to Dadizeele New British Cemetery).

DONEGAL FARM GERMAN CEMETERY, DRANOUTRE, on the more Southerly road from Dranoutre to Lindenhoek (one unidentified British officer).

EISKELLAR GERMAN CEMETERY, GHELUVELT, the cemetery of the 106th Infantry Regiment, between Veldhoek and Herenthage Chateau (one unidentified; one other burial was taken to Harlebeke New British Cemetery).

FLANDERS FIELD AMERICAN CEMETERY, WAEREGHEM, one of the American Military Cemeteries (one R.A.F. Officer).

HOLLEBEKE CEMETERY No.60 (or THREE HOUSES GERMAN CEMETERY) (one unidentified; others were taken to Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery, Wytschaete).

INGELMUNSTER GERMAN CEMETERY (two R.F.C. three other British were taken to Harlebeke New British Cemetery).

KASTELHOEK GERMAN CEMETERY (No.61), HOLLEBEKE, on the road from Houthem to Zillebeke (five United Kingdom soldiers who died January-February, 1917; others were taken to Harlebeke New British Cemetery).

KLEIN-ZILLEBEKE GERMAN CEMETERY, ZILLEBEKE, between Klein-Zillebeke and Zwarteleen (three unidentified).

KORTEKEER GERMAN CEMETERY No.12A, LANGEMARCK, on the road running North from Kortekeer, which is between Langemarck and Bixschoote (three United Kingdom graves of 1914).

KRUISEECKE GERMAN CEMETERY, COMINES, on the road from Becelaere to Wervicq (two unidentified; other British were taken to Zantvoorde British Cemetery).

L'ALOUETTE GERMAN CEMETERY, NEUVE-EGLISE, 2,000 metes due East of Neuve-Eglise village (three unidentified).

LANGEMARCK GERMAN CEMETERY N0.9, on the Pilckem road (five United Kingdom soldiers).

LANGEMARCK NORTH GERMAN CEMETERY, on the road to Koekuit and Clercken (one unidentified).

MENIN COMMUNAL CEMETERY (one United Kingdom grave of 1914).

MESSINES GERMAN CEMETERY No.2, at the North-East corner of the village (seven United Kingdom graves of 1915).

MESSINES GERMAN CEMETERY No.3, a little East of the Church (one United Kingdom grave and one Canadian).


PETIT-PONT GERMAN CEMETERY, PLOEGSTEERT, between Petit-Pont and Hill 63 (two unidentified M.G.C. Officers).

RABSCHLOSS GERMAN CEMETERY No.64, MESSINES, 1500 metres West of Hollebeke village (one unidentified).

REUTEL GERMAN CEMETERY, BECELAERE (ten unidentified; other British were taken to Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Zillebeke).

SLYPSKAPPELLE CHURCHYARD, MOORSLEDE (two United Kingdom soldiers and one Newfoundland; one other is still buried there).

TERDEGHEM CHURCHYARD (Nord, France) (four R.G.A. and one Canadian).

THOUROUT GERMAN CEMETERY No.2, due East of Hooghe, on the road running North from Thourout (two R.A.F., September, 1918).

Most of these burials were from the 1914 Battles of Ypres and the Allied offensive of the autumn of 1917.

There are now 1,989 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 1,353 of the burials are unidentified. Many graves, in all five plots, are identified in groups but not individually.

In Plot I is buried Lieutenant G.W.L. Talbot, in whose memory Talbot House at Poperinghe was established in December 1915. The first list of the graves was made by his brother the Reverend N.S. Talbot, MC, later Bishop of Pretoria.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Inverclyde men and women listed at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery