The Menin Road ran east and a little south from Ieper to a front line which varied only a few kilometres during the greater part of the war. The position of this cemetery was always within the Allied lines. It was first used in January 1916 by the 8th South Staffords and the 9th East Surreys, and it continued to be used by units and Field Ambulances until the summer of 1918.
Menin Road North Military Cemetery was on the North side of the road at almost the same point as the present day Menin Road South Cemetery. It was used by the units and Field Ambulances of another Corps from May 1915 to August 1916, and again to a small extent in 1917 and 1918. It contained the graves of 130 soldiers from the United Kingdom, three from Canada, and three from Newfoundland. After the Armistice, it was decided to move these graves into Menin Road South Military Cemetery.
After the Armistice, the existing cemetery on the south side of the Menin Road was expanded by bringing in isolated graves and all the graves from the Menin Road North Cemetery.
Menin Road South Cemetery now contains the graves of 1,051 UK, 263 Australian, 145 Canadian, 52 New Zealand, 3 British West Indies, 1 German and 65 unknown soldiers. It also contains 79 special memorials for soldiers whose graves were destroyed by shellfire and could not be located within the cemetery.
THOMAS RIVERSDALE COLYER-FERGUSSON, VC
Menin Road South Cemetery contains the grave of Captain Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson, VC.
The events, which led to the award of the Victoria Cross took place on 31 August 1917, during the Battle of Pilckem Ridge at Bellewaarde, Belgium .
The citation for the award of the Victoria Cross to Captain Colyer-Fergusson was published in the London Gazette (Supplement) 6 September 1917.
For most conspicuous bravery, skilful leading, and determination in attack.
The tactical situation having developed contrary to expectation, it was not possible for his company to adhere to the original plan of deployment, and, owing to the difficulties of the ground and to enemy wire, Capt. Colyer-Fergusson found himself with a Sergeant and five men only. He carried out the attack nevertheless, and succeeded in capturing the enemy trench and disposing of the garrison. His party was then threatened by a heavy counter-attack from the left front, but this attack he successfully resisted. During this operation, assisted by his Orderly only, he attacked and captured an enemy machine gun and turned it on the assailants, many of whom were killed and a large number were driven into the hands of an adjoining British unit. Later, assisted only by his Sergeant, he again attacked and captured a second enemy machine gun, by which time he had been joined by other portions of his company, and was enabled to consolidate his position. The conduct of this officer throughout forms an amazing record of dash, gallantry and skill, for which no reward can be too great having regard to the
importance of the position won.
This gallant officer was shortly afterwards killed by a sniper.London Gazette (Supplement) 6 September 1917.