On a cycle ride around the Ypres salient we stopped off at Chester Farm, without any prior knowledge of this cemetery.
There are 93 members of 2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment commemorated, including 1 Special Memorial for a man believed be buried there. They all died in April to July
What stikes visitors most is the dominance of these burials in Plot I. I don’t recall seeing such a large number of graves for any of the Regiment’s Battalions in such concentration. The scene is certainly thought provoking.
Many of the Manchester Casualties will have been original members of the British Expeditionary Force, or Old Comteptibles. This page is published on 8th April 2019, 104 years after the first five members of 2nd Battalion were killed and later buried at Chester Farm.
Chester Farm Cemetery is located 5 kilometres south of Ieper town centre, on the Vaartstraat, a road leading from the Rijselseweg (N365) connecting Ieper to Armentieres. From Ieper town centre the Rijselseweg is located via the Rijselsestraat, through the Rijselpoort (Lille Gate) and by crossing the Ieper ring road, towards Armentieres and Lille. The road name then changes to Rijselseweg. 3 kilometres along the Rijselseweg lies the left hand turning onto the Vaartstraat. The cemetery is located 1.5 km along the Vaartstraat on the left hand side of the road.
Chester Farm was the name given to a farm about 1 Km South of Blauwepoort Farm, on the road from Zillebeke to Voormezeele. The cemetery was begun in March 1915 and was used by front line troops until November 1917. Plot I contains the graves of 92 officers and men of the 2nd Manchesters, who died in April-July 1915 and there are 72 London Regiment burials elsewhere in the Cemetery. There are 420 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. Seven of the burials are unidentified, but special memorials commemorate six casualties known or believed to be buried among them. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.