Poelcapelle (now Poelkapelle) was taken by the Germans from the French on the 20th October, 1914, entered by the 11th Division on the 4th October, 1917, evacuated by the British in April, 1918, and retaken by the Belgians on the 28th September, 1918. It has given its name to the battle of the 9th October, 1917, one of the Battles of Ypres. The village contains a monument to Captain Guynemer, the French airman, who fell in the neighbourhood in September, 1917. The commune contained a number of German Cemeteries; and close to the British Cemetery were POELCAPELLE EAST GERMAN CEMETERY, made by the Germans, and POELCAPELLE NEW GERMAN CEMETERY, made by British burial parties after the Armistice. Poelcapelle British Cemetery was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from other cemeteries and from the battlefields. The great majority of the dead who now rest in it fell in the last five months of 1917, and particularly in the month of October, but certain plots (IA, VIA, VIIA, LI and LXI) contain many graves of 1914 and 1915.
There are now nearly 7,500, 1914-18 and 1, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 6,200 from the 1914-18 War are unidentified and special memorials are erected to eight soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from the Channel Islands known or believed to be buried here. Other special memorials record the names of 24 soldiers from the United Kingdom and three from Canada, buried by the enemy, whose graves could not be found. The cemetery covers an area of 22,586 square metres and is enclosed by a low red brick wall.
The following were among the burial grounds from which British graves were removed to this cemetery:
- HOUTHULST FOREST NEW MILITARY CEMETERY, LANGEMARCK, near the South side of the Forest, on the road from Poelcapelle to Houthulst. Here were buried a number of French soldiers, as well as 21 soldiers and two airmen from the United Kingdom, who fell in the winter of 1917-18.
- KEERSELAERE FRENCH CEMETERY, LANGEMARCK, 800 metres West of the hamlet of Keerselaere, in which 29 French soldiers, five Canadian and two from the United Kingdom were buried in 1915, apparently by the enemy.
- PILCKEM ROAD GERMAN CEMETERY, LANGEMARCK, on the South-West side of the bridge over the Hannebeek, in which 13 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Canada were buried by the enemy in 1914-17.
- POELCAPELLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY, in which one soldier from the United Kingdom was buried in 1915.
- POELCAPELLE GERMAN CEMETERY NO.2, about 1.6 kilometres South-East of the village, which contained the graves of 96 soldiers from the United Kingdom and Canada who fell in 1914-15.
- ST. JEAN CHURCHYARD, in which 44 soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried in 1915, but which was completely destroyed in later fighting.
- STADEN FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY, made by the 169th Infantry Regiment and containing the graves of 80 French soldiers and one R.A.F. Officer.
- VIJFWEGEN GERMAN CEMETERY NO.1, close to the railway halte, in which three soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried by the enemy.
Burials (Commonwealth War Graves Commission):
- United Kingdom: 6578 (+ 1 WW II)
- Canada: 536
- Australia: 117
- New Zealand: 237
- South Africa: 10
- Total Commonwealth: 7478 (+1 WW II)