our next above ground stop was Essex Farm, where we learned more about the exploits of the West Yorkshires and saw the memorial to the West Riding Division
The land south of Essex Farm was used as a dressing station cemetery from April 1915 to August 1917. The burials were made without definite plan and some of the divisions which occupied this sector may be traced in almost every part of the cemetery, but the 49th (West Riding) Division buried their dead of 1915 in Plot I, and the 38th (Welsh) Division used Plot III in the autumn of 1916.
There are 1,200 servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 103 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate 19 casualties known or believed to be buried among them.
The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.
It was in Essex Farm Cemetery that Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army Medical Corps wrote the poem ‘ In Flanders Fields’ in May 1915.
The 49th Division Memorial is immediately behind the cemetery, on the canal bank.