Tyne Cot Cemetery is located on the site where three German bunkers once made the allied army pay a terrible price for attacking that section of the Ypres Salient. Once the Australian 3rd Division captured the bunkers on 4th October 1917, a first aid post was set up there, and a cemetery created for 343 soldiers. The ground passed back into German hands in April 1918 before being retaken again by Belgian troops on 28th September 1918. After the Armistice the cemetery was greatly enlarged.
There are 11,954 grave markers at Tyne Cot Cemetery, of which 8,369 are unidentified. At the top of the hill is the Memorial to the Missing which contains the names of 34,959 UK and New Zealand soldiers whose bodies were never found.
King George V visited Tyne Cot Cemetery during his pilgrimage to France and Belgium in May 1922. It is suggested that he recommended that the memorial cross be placed on top of the largest bunker within the cemetery grounds. The King’s Pilgrimage was captured with photographs and text and turned into a book. The book was sold to help raise funds for people who wished to travel and visit the last resting place of their loved ones. The entire book with images can be read for free here.
The King, whose tour took in most of the cemeteries in land still bearing the scars of the Great War was deeply moved by what he saw. He said â€œIn the course of my pilgrimage I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon earth through the years to come than this massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of warâ€.
The cemetery is on a hill which is not reflected in the panoramic photo above. I kept the camera at a set height above the grave markers as I panned, but should have taken a double row – high and low. A lesson learned.
You can view all pictures full size by clicking on them.