General Directions: Mendinghem Military Cemetery is located 17 Kms north-west of Ieper town centre on the N308 connecting Ieper to Poperinge and on to Oost-Cappel.
From Ieper town centre the Poperingseweg (N308), is reached via Elverdingsestraat then directly over two small roundabouts in the J. Capronstraat. The Poperingseweg is a continuation of the J. Capronstraat and begins after a prominent railway level crossing.
On reaching the ring road of Poperinge R33 Europalaan, the left hand clockwise route circles the town of Poperinge and rejoins the N308 towards Oost-Cappel. 6.5 Kms after joining the N308 lies the village of Proven. The cemetery is located 500 metres beyond the village of Proven on the left hand side of the road (which at this point is called Roesbruggestraat).
Further Information: The cemetery is accessed by a 200m gravel track, which is suitable for vehicles, therefore access and parking are easy.
In July 1916, the 46th (1st/1st Wessex) Casualty Clearing Station was opened at Proven and this site was chosen for its cemetery. The first burials took place in August 1916. In July 1917, four further clearing stations arrived at Proven in readiness for the forthcoming Allied offensive on this front and three of them, the 46th, 12th and 64th, stayed until 1918. From May to July 1918, while the German offensive was at its height, field ambulances were posted at Proven. The cemetery was closed (except for one later burial) in September 1918.
There are now 2,391 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in this cemetery and 52 German war graves.
The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield
Victoria Cross: Lieutenant Colonel, Bertram Best-Dunkley, VC, commanding 2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers Plot 3. D. 1, he died of wounds on 05/08/1917, aged 27.
Citation: An extract from the London Gazette No. 30272, dated 4th Sept., 1917, records the following. "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in command of his battalion, the leading waves of which, during an attack, became disorganised by reason of rifle and machine gun fire at close range from positions which were believed to be in our hands. Lt. Col. Best-Dunkley dashed forward, rallied his leading waves, and personally led them to the assault of these positions, which, despite heavy losses, were carried. He continued to lead his battalion until all their objectives had been gained. Had it not been for this officer's gallant and determined action it is doubtful if the left of the brigade would have reached its objectives. Later in the day, when our position was threatened, he collected his battalion headquarters, led them to the attack, and beat off the advancing enemy.
The original grave of Lieutenant Colonel Best Dunkley
Shot at Dawn: R/27615 Private John J. Hyde, 10th Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps, executed for desertion, 05/09/1917. Plot V. A. 29. Son of Mr. W. Hyde, of 35, Ridgdale St., Bow, London.
Shot at Dawn: 200757 Private Charles Britton, 1st/5th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment executed for desertion, 12/09/1917. Plot VII. F. 36. Son of John and Ellen Britton, of 31, Allison Street, Birmingham.
Shot at Dawn: 38332 Private David Gibson, "C" Coy. 12th Bn. Royal Scots, executed for desertion, 24/9/1918, aged 25. Plot X. E. 19. Son of John and Jane Gibson, of Bridgeton, Glasgow; husband of Agnes Gibson, of 3381, Gallowgate, Glasgow.
The mass pardon of 306 British Empire soldiers executed for certain offences during the Great War was enacted in section 359 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, which came into effect on royal assent on 8 November 2006.
Casualty Details: UK 2300; Canada 31; Australia 15; New Zealand 12; South Africa 33; Germany 51; Total Burials: 2442
Edwin Galletly Haliburton
2nd Regt. South African Infantry
24/09/1917, aged 17.
Son of William and Mary Haliburton, of "Galahill," 5c, Ritson Rd., Durban, South Africa. Native of Galashiels, Scotland.
Plot V. E. 34.
Picture courtesy of Allan Berry, grand-nephew of the soldier.
Harold William Boyd
2nd Bde. Australian Field Artillery
24/07/1917, aged 21.
Son of Samuel and Florence Boyd, of 22, Harker St., Alphington, Victoria, Australia. Native of Victoria.
Plot II. F. 32.