LOCRE HOSPICE CEMETERY

Signpost for Locre Hospice Cemetery CWGC

At Locre Hospice Cemetery maintained by the CWGC near the village of Locre (Loker as it is known in Flemish) there are some graves of soldiers from the Royal Irish Regiment. The grave of Major Willie Redmond was left outside the Cemetery close to the boundary wall in the corner of a field where it was cared for over many years by a nun from the nearby convent.

Locre Hospice Cemetery with grave of Major Redmond beside wall in middle of picture

Private T Price (4692) from the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment is buried here. He was wounded and died on 7th June 1917, the same day as Major Willie Redmond of the same Regiment on the first day of the Battle of Messines. He came from Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary.

Grave of Pte T. Price died 7th June 1917

Graves at Locre Hospice Cemetery

Loker was in Allied hands during the greater part of the Great War, and field ambulances were stationed in the Convent of St Antoine. The village changed hands several times between 25th and 30th April 1918, when it was recaptured by the French. The hospice, or convent, was the scene of severe fighting on 20th May, but was not retaken until the first week in July.

The Hospice Cemetery was begun in June 1917 by field ambulances and fighting units, and was used until April 1918. After the Armistice four graves were transferred to it from the garden of the Hospice, which was ultimately rebuilt. The cemetery now contains 244 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. Twelve of the burials are unidentified and ten graves destroyed by shellfire are now represented by special memorials. The fourteen Second World War burials date from late May 1940 and the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force to Dunkirk ahead of the German advance. There are also two German burials in the cemetery. The cemetery was designed by W H Cowlishaw.

A cross, marking the grave of Major W H K (Willie) Redmond, Member of Parliament for Wexford, stands 100 meters along a grass track on the northern side of the cemetery. Major Redmond was mortally wounded at the battle of Messines and was buried in the Convent garden of the Locre hospice. His widow erected this memorial to mark his grave. Until the late 1950’s the grave was maintained by a Sister from the (new) Locre hospice. In the 1990’s the land was purchased by the Belgian State and is now maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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