Langemark Cemetery - History and Facts | History Hit

Langemark Cemetery

Langemark - Poelkapelle, Flanders, Belgium

Langemark Cemetery is a German World War One burial ground in Flanders, Belgium.

Peta Stamper

09 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Langemark Cemetery

Langemark Cemetery in Flanders, Belgium, is the burial site of around 44,000 German soldiers who fought in World War One. Many of the graves at Langemark Cemetery are mass graves.

Langemark was the site of one of the battles which together made up the Battle of Ypres between German and Allied forces. Ypres, today known as Iepers, was a vital strategic location for the Allies during the war.

Langemark Cemetery history

During World War One, German and Allied forces (French, British and Belgians) met at the First Battle of Ypres throughout October and November 1914. The inexperienced German infantry suffered great losses: a futile attack against the allies positioned near Langemark, reinforced by an experienced French infantry and British riflemen.

Only 6 months later over the Spring of 1915, the Second Battle of Ypres was fought for control of the small but strategic Flemish town. It was during this conflict that the German forces used poisonous chlorine gas for the first time on the Western Front. French and Canadian troops particularly in the main path of the gas suffered massive casualties, allowing the Germans advance. By the battle’s end, Ypres was destroyed and the British had withdrawn.

The cemetery at Langemark evolved from a small group of German graves from 1915, the result of the battles over Ypres. The cemetery was dedicated in 1932, and has been extended since.

Langemark Cemetery today

Today, visitors to Langemark Cemetery will find 4 imposing bronze statues of mourning soldiers watching over the graves of German soldiers at the front of the cemetery, designed by German artist Emil Krieger and added in 1956. There are no individual graves at Langemark. Instead, soldiers are buried together in a grave plot with their names inscribed in dark stone gravestones.

The cemetery also recognises the 3000 unexperienced young soldiers that died in the First Battle of Ypres, many of them students, which is Langemark is also known as the Studentenfriedhof (Student’s Cemetery). You will also see the mass grave that marks nearly 25,000 men, known as the ‘Comrades Grave’, surrounded by beautiful oak trees.

Getting to Langemark Cemetery

If coming from the nearby village of Langemark-Poelkapelle, it is an 8 minute walk to the cemetery. The Langemark Duits Kerkhof bus stop is directly outside, along the 95 bus route. The cemetery is a 16 minute drive from Iepers via Noorderring, and there is parking on-site.

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