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Tyne Cot British Military Cemetery & Memorial

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The Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing

Grave of a British soldier 'Known unto God'. (copyright: www.greatwar.co.uk)Unknown Soldiers

About 70% - almost 8,400 - of the total graves in Tyne Cot cemetery are marked with headstones which are inscribed with the words 'Known unto God'. These are some of the 90,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who fought and died in the Ypres Salient but whose identities could not be established at the time of burial or reburial. The names of these unidentified soldiers are inscribed either on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres or on the Memorial wall at the rear of Tyne Cot cemetery.


Design and Construction

Aerial photograph of Tyne Cot British cemetery. (copyright: www.greatwar.co.uk)The Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing was designed by Herbert Baker, one of four Principle Architects engaged in directing the construction of over 1,200 cemeteries and memorials along the Western Front. The sculptured figures were by F V Blundstone.

As seen in the photograph (left) the Memorial is a semicircular flint wall of 4.25 metres high and over 150 metres long, faced with panels of Portland stone on which are carved nearly 35,000 names of those who have no known grave. There are three apses and two rotundas.

Two domed arched pavilions mark the ends of the main wall, each dome being surmounted by a winged female figure with head bowed over a wreath.


The New Zealand Memorial

The central apse forms the New Zealand Memorial and bears the names of nearly 1,200 officers and men who gave their lives in the Battle of Broodseinde and the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) in October 1917.

The Memorial to United Kingdom Forces

View of the memorial wall at the north end of Tyne Cot Military Cemetery (copyright: www.greatwar.co.uk)Two apses, as well as the rotundas and the wall itself, carry the names of United Kingdom dead who fell in the Salient between the night of 15-16 August 1917 (the start of the Battle of Langemarck) and the Armistice of 11 November 1918.

The inscription carved on the frieze above the panels which contain the names of the missing is:

1914 - HERE ARE RECORDED THE NAMES OF OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE ARMIES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE
WHO FELL IN YPRES SALIENT, BUT TO WHOM THE FORTUNE OF WAR DENIED THE KNOWN AND HONOURED BURIAL
GIVEN TO THEIR COMRADES IN DEATH - 1918



Location

Leave Ieper via its eastern exit (Menin Gate). At the traffic lights go straight on on the N332 to Zonnebeke. Continue straight on through Zonnebeke and at the next major junction take the left turn to Passendale (formerly called Passchendaele). In approximately 1 kilometre Tyne Cot Military Cemetery is signposted to the left.


Acknowledgements

Extracts of text by kind permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Copyright Joanna Legg & Graham Parker 2002 All rights reserved