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