Military Wiki
Spanbroekmolen British Cemetery
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Spanbroekmolen British Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery
Used for those deceased 1917
Established 1917
Location 50°46′43″N 02°52′01″E / 50.77861°N 2.86694°E / 50.77861; 2.86694
near Wijtschate, Heuvelland, Belgium
Designed by J R Truelove
Total burials 58
Burials by nation
Burials by war
Statistics source: [1] and CWGC

Spanbroekmolen British Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) burial ground for the dead of the First World War located in the Ypres Salient on the Western Front in Belgium. It is located on one of the highest points of the Messines Ridge.

The cemetery grounds were assigned to the United Kingdom in perpetuity by King Albert I of Belgium in recognition of the sacrifices made by the British Empire in the defence and liberation of Belgium during the war.[1]

Graves in Spanbroekmolen British cemetery


The cemetery, named after a nearby windmill,[2] was established in summer 1917. It mainly contains burials from the first day of the Battle of Messines, plus one from the day after.[3] As in Lone Tree War Cemetery nearby, many of those buried here were from the 36th (Ulster) Division.

The cemetery was destroyed in later fighting and was reconstructed after the Armistice.[4] Six graves could not be located and a "special memorial" notes the names of the men whose graves were not found.[3]

Some of the men buried here were killed by the force of the explosion of a mine placed by the British Royal Engineers.[5] The mine at Spanbroekmolen, which formed part of a series of mines under the German lines, was charged with 91,000 pounds (41,000 kg) of ammonal and set 88 feet (27 m) below ground, at the end of a gallery 1,710 feet (520 m) long.[6] When detonated around 15 seconds later than planned at the start of the battle on 7 June 1917, its blast formed a crater with a diameter of 250 feet (76 m) and a depth of 40 feet (12 m),[6] destroying the German trenches and throwing communications into turmoil.[7] The explosion crater, now filled with water, still exists and is called "Spanbroekmolenkrater" or "Lone Tree Crater".[8] It was acquired in 1929 by the Toc H foundation in Poperinge, today recognised as the "Pool of Peace".[9][10][11]

The cemetery was designed by J. R. Truelove.[4]


  1. First World War, accessed 19 August 2006
  2., accessed 31 August 2009
  3. 3.0 3.1, accessed 31 August 2009
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cemetery register, accessed 31 August 2009
  5. Michael Duffy, accessed 31 August 2009
  6. 6.0 6.1 Edmonds 1948, p. 53.
  7. Great War 1914-1918, accessed 31 August 2009
  8. Michael Duffy, accessed 31 August 2009
  9. Photo gallery: Battle of Messines Ridge, access date 16 February 2015.
  10. Messines, access date 16 February 2015.
  11. Holt & Holt 2014, pp. 192–193.

External links[]

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).