IN MEMORy by Pierre Vandervelden

The visit of Commonwealth graves in Communals Cemeteries & Churchyards in Belgium & France

YPRES RESERVOIR Cemetery (IEPER) (West Vlaanderen Belgium)

Page 1 The Pictures

Page 2 List of Casualties

The same view 90 years after
Brigadier General Francis Aylmer Maxwell VC CSI DSO 21/09/1917 aged 46
Photo Courtesy (portrait) Jackie Wullaert (Bel)
Bombardier William Birkhead 10/12/1915 aged 29
Between his actual headstone and and former woodcross in 1915
For Kristin Edith and her Grandma. (Can)
Gnr George Insley 29/09/1917
Cpt Robert William Pearson 15/05/1915
He was born 22/06/1880
For Avalon Eastman
Oundle School Roll of Honour
Pnr Thomas Leaney KIA 17/09/1917 aged 42
Thomas was born in Lamberhurst and lived in Brighton, Sussex, England.
Thomas is commemorated in the Roll of Honour of the Parish of St Peter Brighton, and remembered on his wife's grave, Jane.
For his greatson Ashley Leaney (East Sussex)
Gnr James Robinson 29/09/1917 aged 22
His brother Thomas is buried in Noeux les Mines Com. Cem. Extension, France
Gnr Wainwright Merrill who served as Arthur Ashton Stanley 06/11/1917 aged 19
Wainwright was born in 1898 in Cambridge, Massachussetts, he learned in Dartmouth College and Harvard University.
For Dr H.J. Krijnen
Pte Jesse Hill 13/11/1895 - 19/09/1915
Pte John Alfred Bass 17/08/1917 aged 23
Pte Arthur Edwin Wood 11/10/1984 - 21/10/1917
Arthur was a world amateur and professional flat track and cross country champion who held many world titles.
for his great nephew Martin Hale and family
A E Wood aka ‘Slacker’ 1884 – 1917

Perhaps Waltham Abbeys most famous yet virtually unknown international ‘celebrity’ Arthur Edwin Wood was born as one of a family of 14 children to Elizabeth & William Wood of Ferns Hollow, Copthall Green, Upshire, Essex.
Slacker – as was his nickname, was of slim build and a 66 inch height, as a youth he worked in the Waltham Abbey Powder Mills (explosive manufacturing), he was a keen cross country and cinder track runner, to strengthen his legs and stamina he would run constantly up and down the wet muddy hills surrounding ‘Warlies’ a hilly country estate in Upshire, with his friend ‘Smasher’ Parish, on leaving work he would race against his families homing pigeons to see if he could beat them to his home in Copthall Green, *the pigeons would be released from the Mills at certain times to give him a ‘head start’!
His endeveaours paid off, when as a member of the Essex Beagles he was chosen to represent England in the amateur International Cross Country Championships of 1908, 1909 & 1910, in the latter two years he in fact won the races and became international and what was then deemed ‘world’ champion, in 1973 the title of this race was changed to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Also at this time as the winner of the following races, he held these amateur titles:

North Thames Cross Country Championship 1908 & 1909
Southern Counties Championship 1909
Ten Mile AAA Championship 1909
One Mile Championship of Essex 1909
Southern Counties Cross Country Championship 1910

In late 1910 he took the major step of leaving Waltham Abbey and travelling to the USA to seek his fortune as a professional runner, his arrival in New York was heralded in the New York Times with words ‘ A E Wood, one of the best runners of the British Isles, has arrived in this city and is desirous of meeting any American cracks in races over his favourite distances’ there are many articles from this era written about him in the NYT, he became an outstanding athlete beating Americas and the worlds best known distance runners, his races were watched by spectators of thousands, especially after the pre race hype that was regularly written about him in the NYT, in September 1914 an audience of ten thousand arrived to watch him race against the American multi champion Queal on a 5 mile stadium cinder track, Wood won and claimed the 100 dollar prize money!
As a professional he quickly became Ten & Fifteen Mile World Champion, perhaps his zenith was in May 1912 in which during the world 15 mile championship he broke three world lap time records and became world champion, beating Americas Billy Queal and Britains Alfred Shrubb who came second and third to Slacker, with other professional athletes being some two miles behind the winning three places! Two months later he issued a challenge to ‘run any man in the world from ten to twenty miles’ with a syndicates 1000 dollars prepared to back him! During this era he was also beating the famous and still revered Canadian marathon and long distance running champion Tom Longboat, he continually beat the worlds best and most famous athletes in both cross country and track events over many distance titles, but sadly has never yet been recognised for the athlete he truly was and the titles he brought to British athletics representing both England and Great Britain.
He retired from professional running around 1915 and moved to Ontario where it’s thought he became a farmer, he was called to war service with Tom Longboat and other athletes in March 1916, joining the 180th Battalion (Sportsmen) CEF, killed at the age of 33 in Ypres in October 1917, he died as an unmarried Canadian soldier, Longboat went on to be listed as one of Canada’s top one hundred greatest Canadians of all time.
There is so much more he achieved, a good source of information is on the internet via the New York Times archives and by searching copies of Commonwealth newspapers from the era, his competition name was always entered as A E Wood.

*After an article in the Hertfordshire Mecury in the early 1970’s our family received many written testimonials from elderly people that had witnessed this feat.

Martin Hale

Lt Col. Richard P. Lewis 07/09/1917
He was a member of Surrey County Cricket Club in London and is listed on their war memorial.
for Philip Paine and the members of the Surrey CCC
Gnr William Wood 01/10/1918 aged 21
for David Mole (UK)
Cpl G. Jay MM 24/03/1918
Coy Sjt Mjr David Harold Tytler 08/09/1917
for John Mills


1 579 casualties

IF You have a casualty picture, please send me a copy, I'll be glad to show it on this page.

IF You want a king size copy of this picture (300/900 ko - 2592/1944 pixels) please e-mail me.

Casualties informations come usualy from Commonwealth War Graves Commission, see links for more informations © Pierre Vandervelden - Belgium