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The town of Poperinghe (now Poperinge) was of great importance during the First World War because, although occasionally bombed or bombarded at long range, it was the nearest place to Ypres (now Ieper) which was both considerable in size and reasonably safe. It was at first a centre for Casualty Clearing Stations, but by 1916 it became necessary to move these units further back and field ambulances took their places.
The earliest Commonwealth graves in the town are in the communal cemetery, which was used from October 1914 to March 1915. The Old Military Cemetery was made in the course of the First Battle of Ypres and was closed, so far as Commonwealth burials are concerned, at the beginning of May 1915. The New Military Cemetery was established in June 1915.
The Old Military Cemetery contains 450 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 24 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to seven casualties known or believed to be buried among them.