As we approach CWGC Buttes New British Cemetery, we walk in the middle of what was a pre-war Belgian cavalry horse racecourse from around 1874. Soldiers billeted at Ypres braved numerous obstacles there, such as movable hedges, walls and wells. After the war, it was decided to reforest the entire area and the racecourse was not rebuilt. Horses had lost many of their functions as fighting animals.
CWGC Buttes New British Cemetery becomes an assembly cemetery after the war. Immediately the symmetry is striking, centred on the large obelisk atop the hill, the memorial to the 5th Australian Division. The target mound or ‘butte’ was used as a firing range before World War I.
New Zealand Memorial
Opposite the ‘butte’ is the New Zealand Memorial. Here the New Zealanders who went missing near Polygon Forest in the winter of 1917-1918 are commemorated. In front of the hill is the Stone of Remembrance. A special feature of the cemetery is the lack of a Cross of Sacrifice. Those can be found at the CWGC Polygon Wood Cemetery. Both cemeteries are visually connected, which was also the intention when they were established.
- Open every day from sunrise to sunset
- Can be done with a guide