WESTOUTRE BRITISH CEMETERY

 

Heuvelland

 

West-Vlaanderen

 

Belgium

 

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Westoutre British Cemetery is located 11.5 Kms south-west of Ieper town centre on a road leading from the N375 Dikkebusseweg.

From Ieper town centre the Dikkebusseweg (N375) is located via Elverdingsestraat, straight over a roundabout onto J.Capronstraat (for 30 metres), then left along M.Fochlaan. Immediately after the train station, the first right hand turning is the Dikkebusseweg.

10 Kms along the Dikkebusseweg lies the right hand turning onto the N315 Sulferbergstraat. 2.5 Kms along the N315 lies the village of Westouter.

The cemetery itself is located on the Poperingestraat, 200 metres from the village centre, opposite the fire station.

 

The village of Westoutre (now Westouter) remained in Allied hands from the early months of the First World War to the Armistice, but in the summer of 1918, after the Battles of the Lys, it was within 2.4 Kms of the front line.

Westoutre British Cemetery was begun in October 1917. It was used until the following April and again in August-October 1918, and 50 graves were brought into it from the battlefields of the Ypres salient, from BIXSCHOTE GERMAN CEMETERY and KEMMEL FRENCH CEMETERY after the Armistice. French units used the cemetery in April-August 1918, but these graves were later removed.

The cemetery now contains 175 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 52 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to five casualties known or believed to be buried among them. The four Second World War burials all date from May 1940 and the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force to Dunkirk ahead of the German advance. There is also one French burial from this period.


The cemetery was designed by 
William Harrison Cowlishaw

Casualty Details: UK 167; Canada 5; New Zealand 3; Total Burials: 175

 

 

 

 

     
 

 

Damaged Church at Westoutre. 6 September 1918. Stereoscopic.

IWM (Q 8280)

 

Victoria Cross: Major Eric Stuart Dougall, VC. MC. "A" Battery, 88th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, 14/04/1918, aged 32. Special Memorial 1. Son of the late Andrew Dougall, of Tunbridge Wells, and of Emily Elizabeth Dougall, of 16A, Loudoun Rd. St. John's Wood, London. Born at Tunbridge Wells.

Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," dated 31st May, 1918, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery and skilful leadership in the field when in command of his battery. Capt. Dougall maintained his guns in action from early morning throughout a heavy concentration of gas and high-explosive shell. Finding that he could not clear the crest owing to the withdrawal of our line, Captain Dougall ran his guns on to the top of the ridge to fire over open sights. By this time our infantry had been pressed back in line with the guns. Captain Dougall at once assumed command of the situation, rallied and organised the infantry, supplied them with Lewis guns, and armed as many gunners as he could spare with rifles. With these he formed a line in front of his battery which during this period was harassing the advancing enemy with a rapid rate of fire. Although exposed to both rifle and machine gun fire this officer fearlessly walked about as though on parade, calmly giving orders and encouraging everybody. He inspired the infantry with his assurance that "So long as you stick to your trenches I will keep my guns here". This line was maintained throughout the day, thereby delaying the enemy's advance for over twelve hours. In the evening, having expended all ammunition, the battery received orders to withdraw. This was done by man-handling the guns over a distance of about 800 yards of shell-cratered country, an almost impossible feat considering the ground and the intense machine gun fire. Owing to Captain Dougall's personality and skilful leadership throughout this trying day there is no doubt that a serious breach in our line was averted. This gallant officer was killed four days later whilst directing the fire of his battery."

 

 

WW2 Graves