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Photographer: Chris Knowles

Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery

Gazetteer No. G0754


Address Wijtschate, West-Vlaanderen Belgium


The construction of the cemetery began with two smaller cemeteries, now plots i, ii and iii. After the war, the cemetery was enlarged with graves from the neighbouring battlefields, especially from Hill 60, and from the German cemeteries in the vicinity. There are also graves from the Second World War.

The oldest part of the cemetery lies to the rear, and this is clearly visible in the irregular positioning of the graves. After the war, the cemetery was extended toward the road with regular rows of graves on either side of a central path. Due to the ascending ground, two horizontal plateaux with the War Stone and the Cross of Sacrifice have been installed with brick retaining walls. They are accessible via stairways. The retaining walls end in brick flowerbeds, which are combined with seats at the Cross of Sacrifice. On the outside, the embankment runs upward alongside the flower boxes. The wall around the cemetery follows the slope of the ground, with sudden increases in height where required.

At the entrance, the slanting lie of the road is accommodated by transforming the wall into the entrance building by means of convex and concave quarter circles, thus creating a modest entrance. The visitor approaches the building over a grassy area and a stone plateau. The entrance building consists of three openings with semicircular arches. The two outside ones are closed off by a fence. The structure of the building displays great similarity with the entrance buildings of Tilloy British Cemetery and Beacon Cemetery. However, the detailing has not been realized in brick with roof tiles but in stone and slates. The serrated frame of the round openings is also remarkable. At the rear of the field there is a storage space that has been incorporated into the wall surrounding the cemetery and into which features of the gateway have been adopted in more sober form. The coping ledge of the wall is continued in the building under a semicircular window, which recurs in the semicircular conclusion of the door opening.

The most conspicuous greenery is formed by the two tall Lombardy poplars, which were often used by Lutyens as sentinels adjoining the War Stone and the Cross of Sacrifice. Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery displays a similar set-up. Relatively young trees surround the cemetery, and large shrubs have been placed next to the entrance building. (Geurst, 2010, p.378)


Geurst, J. (2010) Cemeteries of the Great War by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.

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Imperial War Graves Commission