Tyne Cot Cemetery

Tyne Cot Cemetery

Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium is the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery on the Western Front. It contains more New Zealand First World War graves than any other cemetery. Tyne Cot occupies part of the strategic high ground from which the Germans looked down across the Allied forces and is a historic site from the Battle of Passchendaele.

Within its flint walls are the graves of almost 12,000 casualties from the First World War, 8300 of them unidentified. The entire rear of the cemetery is occupied by a curved Memorial to the Missing, commemorating a further 35,000 soldiers who have no known graves. In total the cemetery covers an area of 34,941 square metres.

There are 520 graves of New Zealanders, 322 unidentified. The New Zealand Apse in the memorial commemorates 1176 New Zealanders who have no known grave. There is another New Zealand Memorial to the Missing in the immediate vicinity – at Buttes, Polygon Wood, close to Zonnebeke – and a third at Messines.

The New Zealand names on the Tyne Cot Memorial and other New Zealand memorials to the missing are the result of a decision by the government to honour the country's dead near where they fell. While Messines is the New Zealand focus in Belgium on Anzac Day, Tyne Cot is the Australian focus.

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