This cemetery contains a total of 451 Commonwealth burials (403 from the UK and 48 from Canada) + 2 from Germany. Of the Commonwealth burials 32 are "Known Unto God".

The Cemetery contains 2 named soldiers of the Cheshire Regiment who both died of wounds. The town of Poperinge was in the hands of the British for most of the war, although it was fairly close to Ypres, it was just out of range of almost all enemy guns. It became a base for Casualty Clearing Stations and it was there that these two men died, probably of wounds received during the First Battle of Ypres.


1st Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment
Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of the 1st Battalion, Buried in Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery

©: G E Conway, 2009
Their name liveth for evermore
Private E J Conway (circa. 1905)
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"Grandad's War"
Both of the men named below were awarded the 1914 Star (with "clasps and roses"), the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
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Private 9638 Herbert BARNES (A.R.?)

Date of Death:
16 or 18 November 1914
(Died of wounds)
Grave No:
I.M.22
Unit:
n.k.
Age:
34
Personal History:
Herbert was born in Cathcart Street, Seacombe, Cheshire, the son of Robert (Marine Engineer) and Alice Barnes of Birkenhead. He had three older siblings, Alice, Edward and Ernest, and a younger sister, Maud. (1881 Census RG 11/3579)
Military History:
Currently his Army records are unavailable, destroyed in Second World War bombing; all that is known is that Herbert enlisted at Chester.

His Medal Index Card is also unavailable and he does not appear on the list of the original 1st Battalion who arrived in France on 16th August so he had probably arrived with one of the contingents of reinforcements in September and October. 

The Battalion took up its position in the trenches at Ypres on 4th November 1914 and between then and moving into reserve dugouts on the 20th they had 35 killed and 99 wounded. It is most likely that Herbert was one of them and probably died at No 4 Casualty Clearing Station, in operation in Poperinghe from 31st October to 1st December 1914.

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Private 7628 Luke HOPWOOD (A.R.)

Date of Death:
24 November 1914   
(Died of wounds)
Grave No:
I.M.22.
Unit:
'C' Company
Age:
26
Personal History:
Luke was born in St Mary's parish, Stockport, Cheshire in June/July 1886, the youngest child of John Thomas and Minnie (Mary) Hopwood. His elder siblings were Bertha, Annie and Clara and in 1901 the family were living at 64 Swan Street, Stockport, Cheshire.(1901 Census: RG 13/3298)

At the time of his enlistment he was employed as a labourer in the Cotton Industry, he was 5' 7" tall (1.70 m.), weighed 140 lbs. (10 st. 0lbs.) had a 'fresh' complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. His religion was stated as Church of England.

At the time of his death he was living in Oldham, Lancashire. On 26th March 1910 he married Eliza Howes at Portwood, Cheshire, they had two children, Annie (born 20th August 1911 and Alice Mary (born 27th July 1913).  In 1911 (Census RG 14/21350) Luke and Eliza were living at 14 Ducie Street, Chestergate, Stockport and Luke was working in a Cotton Mill as a 'Packer'.

With effect from 28th June 1915 Eliza received a pension of 18s. 6d (0.925) for herself and the 2 children. (In December quarter 1924 Eliza remarried John Swindells and they lived at 51 Borron St., Portwood, Stockport.)

Military History:
Luke enlisted at Stockport, Cheshire, aged 18 years 0 months, on 12th July 1904, after initially being in the 4th Battalion. His terms of service were 3 + 9 (i.e. 3 years active service + 9 years reserve), and was transferred to the Army Reserve list on 10th July 1907.

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Entrance to Poperinghe Old Cemetery
Pt Barnes gravestone
Pt Hopwood's Medal Index Card
Pt Hopwood's gravestone
He was originally posted to the 2nd Battalion at Aldershot on 19th August 1904 and then transferred to the 1st Battalion at Lichfield on 22nd September 1904. On 15th May 1906 he was transferred again to Fleetwood. Between 26th August and 24th September 1906 he was in hospital at Fleetwood being treated for gonorrhoea.

His time in the service was not without its problems. On 20th October 1904 he broke out of barracks and was found drunk and disorderly and using abusive language, for which he received 10 days CB (confined to barracks). He broke out again on 12th August 1905 and on 24th June 1906 he was found to be "Drunk in a company hut" and 'admonished'. Two months later, on 16th August he was absent from drill and received 14days and again on 2nd March 1907 he broke out of barracks and was absent for 7 hours, receiving 8 days CB. On 4th March 1907, in the company of 'Richard Clare', he was convicted of stealing a currant loaf to the value of 2 d. from the Co-op Society Ltd. He was fined 15/- (0.75) and sentenced to 15 days hard labour.

As a reservist he was recalled to the 1st Battalion at the outbreak of War and his Medal Card shows he entered France 16 August. He died from wounds received in action on 24th November 1914 at No. 4 Clearing Hospital, Poperinghe. (List No. 8111) and was buried in the New Cemetery there.

The Battalion took up its position in the trenches at Ypres on 4th November 1914 and between then and moving into reserve dugouts on the 20th they had 35 killed and 99 wounded. It is most likely that Luke was one of them.