So, when I first had my vision of Ferme buterne, one thing that struck me was that it seemed to have more shade than it does now, like there were more trees.
I had asked the CWGC for some general information on the cemetery and in their response (which just arrived) I got this:
Concerning the trees, the original design drawing shows that there were four Salix Alba trees (two on each side of the cemetery). In 1994 the Director of Horticulture recommended that two be removed however, as their large size dominated the relatively small cemetery.
So that settles two things. First, I nailed the species ID from the photo (Salix Alba is the Eurasian White WIllow). Second, I had to have seen the cemetery as it was before 1994. This wasn’t a remote viewing, but a memory from either another life, or from the space between lives.
They also informed me that the plans were drawn up in 1925, so the cemetery walls had to have been built after that. As to the unique design of the walls, they had no information.
Given 20 years or so for the trees to reach an appreciable size as I saw them, and that’s a mean date of 1945 for the earliest I could have seen them.
So I now Know that my memory/vision/what have you of the cemetery was any time between 1945 and 1994. I’m starting to wonder if it wasn’t one last glance I gave it in 1984 before deciding to be reincarnated… though I don’t remember making that choice.
EDIT: That’s what I get for making this post after skim-reading an e-mail in the morning just before running to class. They did have some mention of the walls:
The appearance of the boundary wall is exactly as shown on the earliest drawing and although the design is slightly unusual, it is quite practical because the angled brick coping and tile plinth help to quickly shed water away from the wall. The drawings attribute the design to a Captain J S Hutton.
So the style is essentially just an accident of necessity; they needed the angle to keep water from forming too near the wall, which in Houplines is necessary because the ground gets very boggy, very quickly!
They also informed me that they had no records to indicate that any graves were moved to Ferme Buterne; it’s very likely that John lays exactly where he was buried almost 98 years ago.