POELKAPELLE CEMETERY

Poelkapelle Military Cemetery

Poelkapelle cemetery is the third largest Commonwealth Graves Commission cemetery in the Westhoek area near Ieper in Belgium.

New Zealand soldiers are buried at Poelkapelle

Among the soldiers buried there are some from New Zealand.

The great majority of the graves in this cemetery date from the last five months of 1917, and in particular October, but certain plots contain many graves of 1914 and 1915.

There are now 7,479 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Poelkapelle British Cemetery. Of the burials, 6230 are unidentified but special memorials commemorate eight casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

Other special memorials commemorate 24 servicemen buried by the Germans in other burial grounds in the area whose graves could not be located. There is also one burial dating from the Second World War.

The cemetery was designed by Charles Holden. Among those buried in the cemetery is Private John Condon of the Royal Irish Regiment, who at 14 is thought to be the youngest battle casualty of the First World War commemorated by the Commonwealth Graves Commission.

PTE JOHN CONDON

Grave of Private John Condon

The youngest soldier to be killed in the Great War of 1914-18 was 2622 Private John Condon, of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment and came from Waterford in Ireland. Like a quarter of a million other boy soldiers from all over Ireland and Great Britain, John was underage. He arrived at the Western Front in March 1915 and two short months later he was dead. Killed in a German Gas attack at a place called Mouse Trap Farm near Ypres, Belgium on the 24th of May, a day they say when a greenish yellow mist crept from the German lines with deadly poison. John’s grave is in Poelkapelle Military Cemetery (CWGC) and is now reputedly the most visited grave on the entire Western Front for obvious reasons. There, amongst thousands of white headstones, there is usually an array of poppies, flags and wooden crosses around the final resting place of young John Condon and a gravestone that says it all. 6322 Private John Condon 24th May 1915 Age 14.

CWGC memorial book at the cemetery