Whitby High School

Battlefields Tour 18-21st March 2006

Belgium - Ypres and Salient Tour - Sunday 19th March

Bedford House Cemetery, Zillebeke, Ypres, Belgium

It was here where we came to trace an ancestor of Nick Paulson of Year Eleven. Nick's mum Anne is also the School Librarian at Whitby. Mrs Paulson was able to give Nick a brief family tree showing the relationship with his Great-Great-Grandfather William Storey. After a little research with Commonwealth War Graves Records we were able to locate the site of the grave. It would involve only a slight detour our our return journey to Ypres after a tour of the Salient. When we arrived Nick headed for the small door set into the gate arch, where he located the cemetery index, plan and visitors book. He was looking for reference Enclosure No.2 VI. A. 70 (see plan), which was near the perimeter wall to the east side.

Zillebeke village and most of the commune were in the hands of Commonwealth forces for the greater part of the First World War, but the number of cemeteries in the neighbourhood bears witness to the fierce fighting in the vicinity from 1914 to 1918. Bedford House, sometimes known as Woodcote House, were the names given by the Army to the Chateau Rosendal, a country house in a small wooded park with moats. Although it never fell into German hands, the house and the trees were gradually destroyed by shell fire. It was used by field ambulances and as the headquarters of brigades and other fighting units, and charcoal pits were dug there from October 1917.

In time, the property became largely covered by small cemeteries; five enclosures existed at the date of the Armistice but the graves from No. 1 were then removed to White House Cemetery, St. Jean, and those from No. 5 to Aeroplane Cemetery, Ypres. ENCLOSURE NO. 2 was begun in December 1915, and used until October 1918. After the Armistice, 437 graves were added, all but four of which came from the Ecole de Bienfaisance and Asylum British Cemeteries, both at Ypres. ENCLOSURE NO.3, the smallest, was used from February 1915 to December 1916; the burials made in August-October 1915 were largely carried out by the 17th Division. ENCLOSURE NO. 4, the largest, was used from June 1916 to February 1918, largely by the 47th (London) Division, and after the Armistice it was enlarged when 3,324 graves were brought in from other burial grounds and from the battlefields of the Ypres Salient.

Almost two-thirds of the graves are unidentified. ENCLOSURE NO. 6 was made in the 1930s from the graves that were continuing to be found on the battlefield of the Ypres Salient. This enclosure also contains Second World War burials, all of them soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force, who died in the defence of the Ypres-Comines canal and railway at the end of May 1940. The canal lies on high ground on the west side of the cemetery. In all, 5,139 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War are buried or commemorated in the enclosures of Bedford House Cemetery. 3,011 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate a number of casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

Other special memorials name casualties buried in other cemeteries whose graves could not be found on concentration. Second World War burials number 69 (3 of which are unidentified). There are 2 Germans buried here. The cemetery was designed by W C Von Berg

Bedford House is marked No.13 south of Ieper (Ypres)

Casualty Details

Initials: W
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Unit Text: 1st Bn.
Age: 39
Date of Death: 24/05/1915
Service No: 20768
Additional information: Husband of Annie M. Storey, of 112, Garden Lane, Chester. Born at Sheffield.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Enclosure No.2 VI. A. 70.

In Memory of

20768, 1st Bn., King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
who died age 39

on 24 May 1915
Husband of Annie M. Storey, of 112, Garden Lane, Chester. Born at Sheffield.

Remembered with honour

Commemorated in perpetuity by

the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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Updated 8th April 2006 by Mike Royden
The Whitby High School, Cheshire County Council.