Harlebeke New British Cemetery was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields. The cemetery is located along the Deerlijksestraat , not far from Harelbeke town centre. The British always used the name “ Harlebeke”.


On Tuesday 25 July 2017 a Rededication Service was held at the cemetery for 2nd Lieutenant Bertie Swallow, Lancashire Fusiliers. The service has been organised by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre and was attended by regimental representatives and local dignitaries.

Second Lieutenant Bertie Swallow of the Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action on 31 October 1918. He had originally joined the Royal Field Artillery on 9 December 1915 before moving to the 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers on 5 September 1918. He was reported wounded on 31 October 1918.The rest of his battalion would have had to carry on, leaving him behind. They would not have been able to take their wounded with them and, due to their subsequent movements , would not have known what had become of him. At the time, there was no burial location recorded or even any evidence that his body had been recovered and buried locally. We now know that he is buried as un unknown officer of the Lancashire Fusiliers in Harlebeke New British Cemetery. Records from this cemetery show that the original field burial location was just east of the village of Kloosterhoek, where there were no British forces until the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers arrived on 31 October 1918. When the remains of an unknown officer of the Lancashire Fusiliers were uncovered, they were found buried very close to 13 other soldiers of the 18th Battalion , Lancashire Fusiliers who were all known to have died on 31 October.

There are only 4 other Lancashire Fusiliers officers who were killed within a few weeks of Bertie Swallow’s death and who have no known grace; all of them can be excluded as their battalions were between 30-100 kilometres away.

All this shows that there is no other candidate for the unknown grave in Harlebeke. No other officer of the Lancashire Fusiliers is listed as missing or killed in the relevant place and time period. His field burial site was not the scene of any armed conflict until the arrival of the Lancashire Fusiliers on 31 October 1918. By elimination , Plot ii. A.11 at Harlebeke New British Cemetery contains the mortal remains of 2nd Lt. Bertie Swallow who was born in Leeds in about 1885.