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Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

1 Old Bristolian

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery (CWGC, 2016)

Sanctuary Wood Cemetery is located 5 Kms east of Ieper town centre, on the Canadalaan, a road leading from the Meenseweg (N8), connecting Ieper to Menen. From Ieper town centre the Meenseweg is located via Torhoutstraat and right onto Basculestraat. Basculestraat ends at a main cross roads, directly over which begins the Meenseweg. 3 Kms along the Meenseweg lies the right hand turning onto Canadalaan. The cemetery itself is located 1.5 Kms along Canadalaan on the right hand side of the road. 100 metres beyond the cemetery at the end of the Canadalaan is the Hill 62 Memorial.

Sanctuary Wood is one of the larger woods in the commune of Zillebeke. It was named in November 1914, when it was used to screen troops behind the front line. It was the scene of fighting in September 1915 and was the centre of the Battle of Mount Sorrel (2-13 June 1916) involving the 1st and 3rd Canadian Divisions. There were three Commonwealth cemeteries at Sanctuary Wood before June 1916, all made in May-August 1915. The first two were on the western end of the wood, the third in a clearing further east. All were practically obliterated in the Battle of Mount Sorrel, but traces of the second were found and it became the nucleus of the present Sanctuary Wood Cemetery. At the Armistice, the cemetery contained 137 graves. From 1927 to 1932, Plots II-V were added and the cemetery extended as far as 'Maple Avenue', when graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields.

There are now 1,989 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 1,353 of the burials are unidentified. Many graves, in all five plots, are identified in groups but not individually. In Plot I is buried Lieutenant G.W.L. Talbot, in whose memory Talbot House at Poperinghe was established in December 1915. The first list of the graves was made by his brother the Reverend N.S. Talbot, MC, later Bishop of Pretoria. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.


Kinsey, Albert Thornley

Son of Albert Thornley Kinsey, Post Office engineer, and Annie Kinsey, of 51 Manor Park Road.


Kinsey was born on 26/01/1898, and attended the School from 1910-1916. He served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, with the Somerset Light Infantry 7th Bn.. Kinsey sadly lost his life on 16/08/1917, as a result of the War.


Kinsey is buried in Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, Belgium, grave reference V. B. 17.


Captain of Holmes' House (Chronicle December 1917)

"left the School only last year as senior sergeant of the Corps, and captain of Holmes' House. He gained his colours in all games, and was specially valuable in the hockey team. After training in an O.C.B. at Oxford, he received a commission in the Somerset Light Infantry. His commanding officer writes that he was killed instantaneously by a bullet while gallantly leading his platoon in the capture of a village. 'He was a very promising young officer, and his loss is deeply mourned by us all.' His death at the age of 19 came as a great shock to the School, where almost everyone remembers him well."

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