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 by the French) forces in Belgium. From April, 1915, it was bombarded and destroyed more completely than any other town of its size on the Western Front. It was surrounded by ramparts and a moat; and from these, on its Eastern side, issued the road to Menin. The Menin Gate has been rebuilt as a Memorial to some of those who fell in the Salient and have no known graves; and close to the Menin Gate is the Town Cemetery, in which the British forces began to bury their dead in October, 1914. The cemetery was begun a few days after the first burial in the Town Cemetery, and used until April, 1915 (and on two occasions in 1918); these "original" burials are part of Plot I, Rows A to E in Plot II, and Row AA and part of Row A in Plot III. The rest of the Extension was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from small cemeteries and isolated positions immediately East and North-East of Ypres. During the 1939-1945 War, Ypres having been completely rebuilt, was again one of the centres of the conflict, and suffered considerable damage. Heavy fighting occured before the town fell to the Germans on 29th May 1940. British units offered strong resistance on a line along the Comines Canal and the Comines-Ypres railway, and thence to the Ypres-Yser canal. It was on this line that most of our casualties fell. Three civilian hospitals in the town (Hopital de Notre Dame, the Clinique des Soeurs Noires and the Red Cross Hospital in St. Aloisius School, D'Hondstraat) cared for the wounded, and the British soldiers who died in these hospitals were buried in the cemetery extension. Others buried on the battlefield, were later moved into the extension by the Ypres town services, as were two who were first buried in the civilian cemetery.
There are now nearly 600, 1914-18 and over 40, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 100 from the 1914-18 War are unidentified and special headstones record the names of 16 soldiers from the United Kingdom known or believed to be buried among them. The Extension covers an area of 2,725 square metres and is enclosed by a curb.
The more important Cemeteries concentrated into the Extension were the following:
- DRAGOON FARM CEMETERY, YPRES, about 274 metres South of the village of Potijze. Here were buried, in June and July, 1917, 24 soldiers from the United Kingdom, of whom 20 belonged to the 11th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and fell on the 10th July.
- LA PREMIERE BORNE, YPRES. This was a group of 20 graves of soldiers from the United Kingdom, placed behind a cottage on the South side of the Menin Road.
- YPRES BENEDICTINE CONVENT GROUNDS, Rue des Anmoniers. In July-September 1915, ten soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried here; four were buried in the Extension and six in Ypres Reseroir Cemetery.
Burials (Commonwealth War Graves Commission):
- United Kingdom: 568 (+ 42 WW II)
- Canada: 15 (+ 1 WW II)
- Australia: 13
- South Africa: 1
- Undivided India: 1
- Total Commonwealth: 598 (+ 43 WW II)
- Other Nationalities: 2