Tyne Cot cemetery can be found just outside of the village of Passchendaele (Passendale), a few miles to the northeast of Ypres in Belgium. Tyne Cot primarily contains the graves of those who died around Passchendaele in 1917. Occasionally referred to as the ‘Battle of Mud’, Passchendaele came to typify battles on the Western Front fought in and around the Ypres Salient.
Tyne Cot is the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Europe. It contains the graves of 11,953 men. The cemetery also contains the ‘Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing’. This is a wall that makes up part of the whole stonewall that surrounds Tyne Cot. On the wall are carved the names of men who were killed in the Ypres Salient but who have no known grave.
Once the Menin Gate had been completed it was found that it was too small to have all the names of the missing carved into its walls. Therefore the Memorial to the Missing at Tyne Cot contains the names of men killed after August 15th 1917 – 33,783 from British forces and 1,176 from the New Zealand Army.
After the Armistice in November 1918, the Tyne Cot cemetery contained just 343 graves. However, a decision was made to consolidate all the graves around the region and many bodies were moved from small cemeteries that surrounded Passchendaele and Ypres. The ‘Cross of Sacrifice’ – found in most Allied war cemeteries – was built on top of a German pillbox. Sir Herbert Baker designed the cemetery though it is believed that the placement of the ‘Cross of Sacrifice’ on top of the pillbox was as a result of a suggestion by George V when he visited the nearly completed cemetery in 1922.