Ovillers Military Cemetery

Details
Ovillers is a village about 5 kilometres north-east of the town of Albert off the D929 road to Bapaume. The Military Cemetery is approximately 500 metres west of the village on the D20 road to Aveluy. The Cemetery is signposted in the village.

On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 8th Division attacked Ovillers and the 34th Division La Boisselle. The villages were not captured, but the ground was won between them and to the south of La Boisselle. On 4 July, the 19th (Western) Division cleared La Boisselle and on 7 July the 12th (Eastern) and 25th Divisions gained part of Ovillers, the village being cleared by the 48th (South Midland) Division on 17 July. The two villages were lost during the German advance in March 1918, but they were retaken on the following 24 August by the 38th (Welsh) Division. Ovillers Military Cemetery was begun before the capture of Ovillers, as a battle cemetery behind a dressing station. It was used until March 1917, by which time it contained 143 graves, about half the present Plot I. The cemetery was increased after the Armistice when Commonwealth and French graves were brought in, mainly from the battlefields of Pozieres, Ovillers, La Boisselle and Contalmaison.

There are now 3,439 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 2,479 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 24 casualties believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of 35 casualties, buried in Mash Valley Cemetery, whose graves were destroyed in later fighting. The cemetery also contains 120 French war graves. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

Number of burials by Unit

Northumberland Fusiliers
111
Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regt)
83
Royal Berkshire Regt
63
Suffolk Regt
56
Lincolnshire Regt
36
Devonshire Regt
32
Middlesex Regt
32
Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regt.)
31
Royal Welch Fusiliers
29
Canadian Units
27
Essex Regt
26
Royal Field Artillery
21
Royal West Kent Regt (Queens Own)
21
Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys Regt.)
21
Royal Sussex Regt
20
Worcestershire Regt
18
Australian Units
17
Buffs (East Kent Regt)
17
Cheshire Regt
16
Royal Warwickshire Regt
16
Gloucestershire Regt
13
Border Regt
12
Gordon Highlanders
12
Royal Irish Rifles
12
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
11
Machine Gun Corps (Inf)
11
Seaforth Highlanders
11
Lancashire Fusiliers
10
East Surrey Regt
9
Loyal North Lancs Regt
9
South Staffordshire Regt
9
King’s Royal Rifle Corps
7
Royal Engineers
7
South African Units
7
South Lancashire Regt
7
Yorkshire Regt
7
Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
6
Highland Light Inf
6
Manchester Regt
6
Northamptonshire Regt
6
Royal Garrison Artillery
6
West Yorkshire Regt
6
Durham Light Inf
5
Royal Scots
5
York & Lancaster Regt
5
Bedfordshire Regt
4
Cameron Highlanders
4
East Lancashire Regt
4
King’s Own Yorkshire Light Inf
4
North Staffordshire Regt
4
Rifle Brigade
4
Wiltshire Regt
4
Ox and Bucks Light Inf
3
Duke of Cornwall’s Light Inf
2
Duke of Wellington’s Regt
2
Hampshire Regt
2
King’s Liverpool Regt
2
17th Bn London Regt (Poplar & Stepney Rifles)
2
Royal Army Medical Corps
2
Welch Regt
2
Cameronians (Sco Rifles)
1
East Yorkshire Regt
1
Grenadier Guards
1
King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regt
1
Leicestershire Yeomanry
1
New Zealand
1
North Irish Horse
1
Royal Army Service Corps
1
Royal Dublin Fusiliers
1
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
1
Royal Munster Fusiliers
1
Royal Naval Division
1
Welsh Guards
1
1
Identified UK & Commonwealth burials
956
Unidentified UK burials:
2,358
Unidentified Australian burials:
40
Unidentified Canadian burials:
68
Unidentified South African burials:
6
Unidentified New Zealand burials:
6
Total Unidentified burials
2478
Total burials
3434

 

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