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Langemark War Cemetery

Langemark War Cemetery

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Langemark Cemetery is a few miles to the north of Ypres. Langemark Cemetery is for German soldiers killed in and around the Ypres Salient in World War One. There are relatively few German war cemeteries on what was the Western Front. Though the cemetery at Langemark is smaller in size that the nearby Tyne Cot cemetery, it contains more burials.

In October 1914, the German Volunteer Reserve Corps attacked what was deemed to be a weak British position at Langemark. The Corps was made up of young students who had just six weeks training. They advanced on British positions with their arms linked and singing patriotic songs about the Kaiser, Wilhelm II. Men from the British Expeditionary Force cut them down. The fire from their standard issue Lee Enfield rifles was mistaken for machine gun fire. 1,500 Germans were killed and 600 taken as prisoners. It was the start of the war around Langemark. Langemark Cemetery is sometimes called the 'Students Cemetery' as a result of the 3,000 students in total who died in the fighting around Langemark between October to November 1914 and who are buried at Langemark

Burials of the German dead at Langemark started in 1915 but increased between 1916 and 1918 as a result of a directorate from the German High Command. 44,061 men are buried at Langemark; 19,378 of these are known and their names are on the graves that are at Langemark.

The land where the cemetery is situated was damaged during the war as the Ypres Salient saw a great deal of fighting. The three German bunkers that are still in the cemetery can see memories of this fighting. In the mid-1920's the German Burial Service was given permission to renovate German cemeteries in Flanders. In the 1930's about 10,000 German soldiers were brought from other burial sites to Langemark to be buried.

The layout of the cemetery is different from Allied cemeteries as eight soldiers are buried in a plot with their names on a horizontal lying gravestone. Where the names of those buried are not known, the gravestone states this.

October 2007