Ypres (now Ieper) was, from October, 1914 to the summer of 1918, the centre of a Salient held by the British (and for some months also by the French) forces in Belgium. The site of the cemetery was in No Man's Land before the 31st July, 1917; but on that day the 15th (Scottish) Division, with the 55th (West Lancashire) Division on their left, took Verlorenhoek and Frezenberg. The cemetery was begun in the following month (under the name of the New Cemetery, Frezenberg) by the 15th and the 16th (Irish) Divisions; but by October it had acquired its present name, which is due to the presence in it, near the Cross, of the wreck of a British aeroplane. It was used by fighting units until March, 1918, and again (after a period of enemy occupation) in September, 1918. Plots II to VIII, and part of Plot I, were formed after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from small burial grounds and from the surrounding battlefields. There are now over 1,000, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over half are unidentified and special memorials are erected to four soldiers from the United Kingdom and four from Australia, known or believed to be buried among them.
The cemetery covers an area of 4,159 square metres and is enclosed partly by a low brick wall and partly by a curb. The only considerable burial grounds concentrated into Aeroplane Cemetery were the following:
- BEDFORD HOUSE CEMETERY (ENCLOSURE No. 5), ZILLEBEKE, a little East of the Ypres-Wytschaete Road. This enclosure, which was separate from the others now forming Bedford House Cemetery, contained the graves of 14 men of the 1st Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and six of the 1st Devons who fell in April, 1915.
- LOCK 8 CEMETERY, VOORMEZEELE, in a field about 180 metres North of Lock 8 on the Ypres-Comines Canal. It contained the graves of 19 soldiers from the United Kingdom and two from Australia and two German prisoners, who fell in July-September, 1917.
Burials (Commonwealth War Graves Commission):
- United Kingdom: 831
- Canada: 48
- Australia: 208
- New Zealand: 17
- South Africa: 1
- Total Commonwealth: 1 105