Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing

Detail of recumbant lion at the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing

Commemorated Casualties

View of Ploegsteert Memorial looking north.
Ploegsteert Memorial.

The Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing commemorates 11,386 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African Forces who died and who have no known grave. The battlefield sector covered by this memorial lies in an area to the south of the Ypres Salient and, although this sector is not formally included in the battlefields of the Ypres Salient, many visitors to the Ypres Salient include a visit to this memorial.

Ploegsteert Memorial Battle Sector

The sector covered by this Memorial to the Missing lies between a northern boundary line from Caestre (north-west of Bailleul in France) via the Belgian villages of Dranouter and Warneton on the Belgian-French border. The southern boundary line lies between the French towns of Haverskerque (west of Merville) to Estaires and Fournes-en-Weppes (south-east of Fromelles). Towns lying inside this sector include Bailleul, Armentières, Hazebrouck, Merville. Two large woods at the time of 1914-1918 in the sector were the Forest of Nieppe and the wood of Ploegsteert (called “Plugstreet Wood” by the British Army).

Visitors at the Ploegsteert Memorial.
Ploegsteert Memorial.

This battlefield sector on the Western Front astride the Belgian-French border was relatively “quiet” with regard to major battle offensives by either the Allied or German Armies. For this reason most of the casualties who were killed in this sector and subsequently commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial will have been killed in small-scale operations carried out here or in the daily activities of tours of duty in the trenches.

Commemoration of Canadian Forces Missing in the Sector

The Canadian servicemen killed in this sector and missing in action are commemorated on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on the Artois battlefield in France. For information and location of the Vimy Memorial see our page at:

Canadian National Vimy Memorial, France

Commemoration of Indian Forces Missing in the Sector

Indian servicemen killed and missing in this sector of the Western Front are commemorated on the Indian Memorial at Neuve-Chapelle.

Register of Names

Looking at the Memorial Registers.
Memorial register at Ploegsteert Memorial.

The name of each man commemorated on the memorial can be found in the Memorial Registers. These are a series of books listing the casualties on this memorial in alphabetical order.

The Registers are located in a brass register box at the memorial. A Visitors' Book is usually also present in the box for visitors to leave comments.

The Memorial Registers are provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

Search for Names on the Ploegsteert Memorial

Search the online “Debt of Honour” Register held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for names inscribed on the Ploegsteert Memorial. Go to this link and look in the Casualty Records for this memorial at:

CWGC Cemetery Record Search: Ploegsteert Memorial

“Plugstreet Wood”

The large wood north of the village of Ploegsteert was quickly named “Plugstreet Wood” by the British soldiers serving there. It has become one of the well-known place names in British military history. The Ploegsteert Memorial may also be known by the name of “Plugstreet Memorial” as a consequence.

Memorial Design

Ploegsteert Memorial.
Ploegsteert Memorial

Harold Chalton Bradshaw designed the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing, Berks Cemetery Extension and the Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery.

Gilbert Ledward was the sculptor for the scultpure at the memorial, which includes two large recumbant lions.

Memorial Unveiling

The memorial was unveiled at a ceremony on 7th June 1931 by the Duke of Brabant.

Last Post Monthly Ceremony

The Last Post is sounded at the Ploegsteert Memorial once a month in a short ceremony on the first Friday of the month at 19.00 hours.

Cemeteries Nearby

Information about the two cemeteries in the immediate vicinity of the Ploegsteert Memorial can be found in our pages at:

Berks Cemetery Extension

Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery

Location of the Ploegsteert Memorial

The Ploegsteert Memorial is located in the Berks Cemetery Extension, approximately 12.5 kms south of the centre of Ypres (Ieper). It is situated on the west side of the N365 main road between Mesen (Messines) and Armentières.

Parking

There is a designated parking layby at the memorial on the side of the road. Visitors are advised to take great care when moving about parked vehicles and crossing the road to the Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery on the opposite side of the road. Children should be supervised at all times when near this road.

Related Topics

Monuments & Memorials in the Ypres Salient

Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, Ypres Salient

Memorials in the Ypres Salient

Acknowledgements

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Website: www.cwgc.org

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission