Le Treport is a small seaport 25 kilometres north-east of Dieppe. Mont Huon Military Cemetery is 1.5 kilometres south of the town. Go towards the centre of Le Treport and then follow the Littoral/Dieppe sign. The Cemetery stands on the D940.

During the First World War, Le Treport was an important hospital centre and by July 1916, the town contained three general hospitals (the 3rd, 16th and 2nd Canadian), No. 3 Convalescent Depot and Lady Murray’s BRCS Hospital. The 7th Canadian, 47th and 16th USA General Hospitals arrived later, but all of the hospitals had closed by March 1919. As the original military cemetery at Le Treport filled, it became necessary to use the new site at Mont Huon.

There are now 2,128 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in the cemetery and seven from the Second World War. The cemetery also contains more than 200 German war graves. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Dernancourt is a village 3 kilometres south of Albert. The Communal Cemetery is a little west of the village, and the Extension is on the north-west side of the Communal Cemetery.

Field ambulances used Dernancourt Communal Cemetery for Commonwealth burials from September 1915 to August 1916, and again during the German advance of March 1918. It contains 127 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. The XV Corps Main Dressing Station was formed at Dernancourt in August 1916, when the adjoining Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension was opened. The 45th and 1st/1st South Midland Casualty Clearing Stations (CCS) came in September 1916 and remained until March 1917. The 3rd Australian CCS was here in March and April 1917, and the 56th from April 1917 to February 1918. The 3rd Casualty Clearing Station came in March 1918 but on 26 March, Dernancourt was evacuated ahead of the German advance, and the extension remained in their hands until the village was recaptured on 9 August by the 12th Division and the 33rd American division. In September it was again used by the 47th, 48th and 55th Casualty Clearing Stations under the name of “Edgehill”, due to the rising ground on the north-west. At the Armistice, the extension contained more than 1,700 burials; it was then enlarged when graves were brought in from small cemeteries and isolated positions in the immediate neighbourhood.

The extension now contains 2,162 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 177 of the burials are unidentified, but there are special memorials to 29 casualties known or believed to be buried among them, and to two buried at Albert Road Cemetery Buire-sur-Ancre whose grave could not be found on concentration. The extension was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Number of burials by Unit

Australian burials
376
Royal Field Artillery
95
Durham Light Infantry
86
Northumberland Fusiliers
74
New Zealand burials
50
Royal Engineers
45
King’s Royal Rifle Corps
43
Royal Fusiliers – City of London Regt.
42
Machine Gun Corps – Infantry
41
Royal Berkshire Regt.
40
Royal Garrison Artillery
37
Green Howards – Yorkshire Regt.
36
Royal Naval Division
34
Cameron Highlanders
33
South African Regt.
30
Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
29
Highland Light Infantry
28
Northamptonshire Regt.
26
Royal Scots – Lothian Regt.
26
Essex Regt.
24
Rifle Brigade
22
Seaforth Highlanders
22
Gloucestershire Regt.
21
Gordon Highlanders
21
Royal Sussex Regt.
21
19th Bn. London Regt – St. Pancras
19
Black Watch – Royal Highlanders
19
Middlesex Regt.
19
Royal Welsh Fusiliers
19
Royal West Kent Regt. (Queen’s Own)
19
South Staffordshire Regt.
18
Buffs – East Kent Regt.
17
King’s Own Scottish Borderers
17
King’s Liverpool Regt.
16
Queen’s – Royal West Surrey Regt.
16
Welsh Regt.
15
Worcestershire Regt.
15
15th Bn. London Regt-PWO Civil Service Rifles
14
Border Regt.
14
East Surrey Regt.
14
Royal Army Service Corps
14
Sherwood Foresters – Notts. & Derbys. Regt.
14
23rd Bn. London Regt
13
Royal Scots Fusiliers
13
22nd Bn. London Regt – The Queen’s
12
Suffolk Regt.
12
West Yorkshire Regt.
12
York & Lancaster Regt.
12
7th Bn. London Regt.
11
Cameronians – Scottish Rifles
11
Duke of Wellington’s – West Riding Regt.
11
Lancashire Fusiliers
11
Manchester Regt.
11
Royal Army Medical Corps
11
17th Bn. London Regt – Poplar & Stepney Rifles
10
20th Bn. London Regt – Blackheath & Woolwich
10
8th Bn. London Regt. – Post Office Rifles
10
East Yorkshire Regt.
10
Loyal North Lancashire Regt.
10
21st Bn. London Regt – First Surrey Rifles
9
6th Bn. London Regt. – London Rifles
9
King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
9
Norfolk Regt.
9
18th Bn. London Regt – London Irish Rifles
8
3rd Bn. London Regt. – Royal Fusiliers
8
Bedfordshire Regt.
8
Canadian burials
8
Ox. & Bucks. Light Infantry
8
Royal Munster Fusiliers
8
North Staffordshire Regt.
7
Cheshire Regt.
6
Lincolnshire Regt.
6
Somerset Light Infantry
6
South Wales Borderers
6
12th Bn. London Regt. – The Rangers
5
Devonshire Regt.
5
Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
5
Indian Labour Corps
5
Leicestershire Regt.
5
Royal Warwickshire Regt.
5
1st Bn. London Regt. – Royal Fusiliers
4
King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
4
10th Bn. London Regt. – Hackney
3
24th Bn. London Regt – The Queen’s
3
3rd Hussars
3
Chinese Labour Force
3
Military Police Corps
3
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
3
South Lancashire Regt.
3
16th Bn. London Regt-Queen’s Westminster Rifles
2
19th Royal Hussars
2
2/10th Bn. London Regt – Hackney
2
Cambridgeshire Regt.
2
Dorsetshire Regt.
2
East Lancashire Regt.
2
Royal Army Ordnance Corps
2
Wiltshire Regt.
2
11th Hussars, Prince Albert’s Own
1
2/20th Bn. London Regt – Blackheath & Woolwich
1
2/4th Bn. London Regt – Royal Fusiliers
1
25th Bn. London Regt – Cyclist Bn.
1
2nd Bn. London Regt. – Royal Fusiliers
1
36th Jacob’s Horse
1
4th Dragoon Guards
1
5th Bn. London Regt. – London Rifle Brigade
1
9th Bn. London Regt. – Queen Victoria’s Rifles
1
9th Lancers
1
Army Cycle Corps
1
British West Indies
1
General List
1
Guards – Machine Gun Regt.
1
Hampshire Regt.
1
Hertfordshire Regt.
1
Honourable Artillery Company
1
Irish Guards
1
King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regt.
1
Leinster Regt.
1
Queen’s Bays
1
Royal Dublin Fusiliers
1
Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force
1
Royal Horse Artillery
1
Royal Irish Regt.
1
Identified British & Commonwealth burials
1978
Indian Labour Corps
5
Chinese Labour Force
3
German Burials
3
Total Identified
1989
Unidentified burials:
United Kingdom
125
Australia
48
South Africa
3
New Zealand
1
Total Unidentified burials
177
Total burials
2166

At the end of the Great War, there were thousands of British burial grounds scattered across the old battlefields that had once formed the Western Front. Some of these were a mere handful of graves, others like Lijssenthoek near Poperinghe – then the largest British cemetery – nearly 10,000 graves. The Imperial War Graves Commission (now Commonwealth War Graves Commission) had been formed in 1917 to take on the perpetual care of these sites. Decisions had been made early on not to repatriate the dead, but how could these cemeteries be made permanent? And what should replace the wooden crosses?

Silent Cities: Typical British Cemetery in 1919

As war turned to peace,  it was decided that headstones would replace crosses, permanent cemeteries would be constructed in stone, and that each would have an ‘English garden’ feel. It was writer Rudyard Kipling, whose only son had died in the war, that sometime in 1920/21 coined the phrase ‘Silent Cities’ to describe what meaning the war cemeteries had then, and in many respects still have today. The first three experimental cemeteries were constructed in France in 1920 and on 5th February 1920 the Sheffield Daily Telegraph reported:

BRITISH GRAVES IN FRANCE. A special correspondent of the Free Press Association in Paris learns that real progress now being made with the construction of the permanent cemeteries which are to replace the present burial grounds of British soldiers killed on the French battlefields Three cemeteries in the Somme area at Le Treport, Forceville and Acheux, have been nearly completed. In conformity with the pattern decided upon by the Graves Registration Committee, according to which each cemetery is surrounded by a stone wall and each grave has its own engraved headstone In all, there are over 1,500 Britsh burial grounds in France, and of these 300 have already been taken over by officials of the Commission. Work will be in full progress as soon as the spring weather sets in, and it is expected that 100 cemeteries will be finished by the end of this summer. One design has been approved for all cemeteries, and owing to the immense numbers affected it will probably not be possible to consult individual wishes as to whether a stone head-piece should be erected or the original wooden cross left as it stands today.

It took another eighteen years for the cemeteries to be completed, over 2,000 of them in Belgium and France, and the final one finished less than a year before the outbreak of the Second World War. In the 1920s and 30s they were visited by thousands of English-speaking people, often as part of large events such as the Royal British Legion’s ‘Great Pilgrimage’ in August 1928.

Silent Cities: Forceville 1920, one of the experimental cemeteries

In 1929 Sydney Hurst published a book called The Silent Cities. Hurst had worked for the Imperial War Graves Commission and had spent much of his spare time travelling around the old battlefield area photographing the cemeteries. It was an amazing achievement at the time, and while original copies of the book are hard to find, it was reprinted by Naval and Military Press and is still available. This book is in some ways the ‘bible’ to visiting the cemeteries in France and Flanders, and the photographs in it themselves now give us a glimpse into what the cemeteries were like more than 80 years ago.

In my work as Head Battlefield Guide for Leger Holidays, and over many decades of visiting the Old Front Line, I have been fortunate to visit many of the Silent Cities, but not all. I’ve literally taken thousands of photos of the cemeteries from the 1980s until today, but what to do with them?

A new part of this site will now be devoted to the Silent Cities and it can be accessed via this link: Silent Cities on WW1 Revisited.

For each cemetery, I will upload a host of images, including some older ones where I have them, and the information will come from the early Cemetery Registers published in the 1920s and 30s. Great War author Barry Cuttell very kindly gave me breakdowns of the burials of most cemeteries and where possible I will include this information too, along with a Google Maps map showing how to find it.

Do take time to subscribe to the Blog, follow me on Twitter for updates, or just regularly pop in to see what has been uploaded.

Courcelette British Cemetery at sunset 2014

Today the Silent Cities mark the crisscross paths of the Great War, and act as beacons to help us understand and connect to this landscape of memory and remembrance. The inscriptions give us insight into what this remembrance meant a century ago, whether that is personal statements on soldier’s graves or Kipling’s moving and powerful ‘Known Unto God’ on the headstones of unknown soldiers. These places and these words still have a resonance today, and I hope WW1 Revisited will inspire a few people to make the journey themselves.

 

Details

Pozières is a village some 6 kilometres north-east of Albert, and the Cemetery, which is enclosed by the Pozières Memorial, is a little south-west of the village on the north side of the main road, D929, from Albert to Pozières.

The village of Pozières was attacked on 23 July 1916 by the 1st Australian and 48th (South Midland) Divisions and was taken on the following day. It was lost on 24-25 March 1918, during the great German advance, and recaptured by the 17th Division on the following 24 August. Plot II of Pozières British Cemetery contains the original burials of 1916, 1917 and 1918, carried out by fighting units and field ambulances. The remaining plots were made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery, the majority of them of soldiers who died in the Autumn of 1916, but a few represent the fighting in August 1918. There are now 2,756 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 1,376 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

The cemetery is enclosed by the Pozières Memorial, which relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918 when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8 August 1918. The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died in France during the Fifth Army area retreat on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918. The Corps and Regiments most largely represented are The Rifle Brigade with over 600 names, The Durham Light Infantry with approximately 600 names, the Machine Gun Corps with over 500, The Manchester Regiment with approximately 500 and The Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery with over 400 names.

The cemetery and memorial were designed by W H Cowlishaw.

Number of burials by Unit

Australian
460
Canadian
151
Royal Warwickshire Regt
61
Ox and Bucks Light Inf
60
Royal Field Artillery
53
Royal Fusiliers – City of London Regt
52
Gloucestershire Regt
47
Worcestershire Regt
33
Bedfordshire Regt
28
Loyal North Lancs Regt
27
Royal Garrison Artillery
26
Royal Berkshire Regt
24
Cheshire Regt
19
Royal Irish Rifles
19
East Lancashire Regt
18
West Yorkshire Regt
18
East Surrey Regt
15
East Yorkshire Regt
14
Lancashire Fusiliers
12
Rifle Brigade
12
Dorsetshire Regt
10
Manchester Regt
10
Duke of Wellington’s – West Riding Regt
9
Gordon Highlanders
9
King’s Royal Rifle Corps
9
Sherwood Foresters – Notts & Derbys Regt
9
Border Regt
8
Cameron Highlanders
8
Machine Gun Corps (Inf)
8
Welsh Regt
8
Durham Light Inf
7
Essex Regt
7
Northumberland Fusiliers
7
Royal Engineers
7
South Staffordshire Regt
7
King’s Liverpool Regt
6
Middlesex Regt
6
Northamptonshire Regt
6
South Lancashire Regt
6
Army Service Corps
5
Highland Light Inf
5
Royal Army Medical Corps
5
Royal West Kent Regt – Queens Own
5
South Wales Borderers
5
Norfolk Regt
4
Seaforth Highlanders
4
Buffs – East Kent Regt
4
Yorkshire Regt – Green Howards
4
Army Cyclist Corps
3
King’s Own Yorkshire Light Inf
3
Lincolnshire Regt
3
North Staffordshire Regt
3
Royal Scots Fusiliers
3
5th Bn London Regt – London Rifle Brigade
2
Black Watch – Royal Highlanders
2
Duke of Cornwall’s Light Inf
2
King’s Own Scottish Borderers
2
Leicestershire Regt
2
Royal Flying Corps
2
Royal Scots – Lothian Regt
2
Royal Welsh Fusiliers
2
Suffolk Regt
2
Wiltshire Regt
2
York and Lancaster Regt
2
10th Hussars
1
Cambridgeshire Regt
1
Devonshire Regt
1
Dragoon Guards
1
Hampshire Regt
1
Inniskilling Dragoons
1
Kings Royal Rifle Corps
1
Prince Alberts Own Hussars
1
Identified burials
1,382
Unidentified UK burials:
1,023
Unidentified Australian burials:
259
Unidentified Canadian burials:
64
Wholly unidentified
7
Total Unidentified burials
1,353
Total burials
2,735

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

 

Terlincthun British Cemetery is situated on the northern outskirts of Boulogne. From Calais follow the A16 to Boulogne, come off at Junction 3 and follow the D96E for Wimereux Sud. Continue on this road for approximately 1 kilometre when the Cemetery will be found on the left-hand side of the road. However, it should be noted that the entrance to the cemetery is in St Martin’s Road, which is the road on the left immediately after the cemetery.

The first rest camps for Commonwealth forces were established near Terlincthun in August 1914 and during the whole of the First World War, Boulogne and Wimereux housed numerous hospitals and other medical establishments. The cemetery at Terlincthun was begun in June 1918 when the space available for service burials in the civil cemeteries of Boulogne and Wimereux was exhausted. It was used chiefly for burials from the base hospitals, but Plot IV Row C contains the graves of 46 RAF personnel killed at Marquise in September 1918 in a bombing raid by German aircraft. In July 1920, the cemetery contained more than 3,300 burials, but for many years Terlincthun remained an ‘open’ cemetery and graves continued to be brought into it from isolated sites and other burials grounds throughout France where maintenance could not be assured. During the Second World War, there was heavy fighting in the area in 1940. Wimille was devastated when, from 22 – 25 May, the garrison at Boulogne fought a spirited delaying action covering the withdrawal to Dunkirk. There was some fighting in Wimille again in 1944. The cemetery suffered considerable damage both from the shelling in 1940 and under the German occupation.

The cemetery now contains 4,378 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and more than 200 war graves of other nationalities, most of them German. Second World War burials number 149. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

I recently spent a week on the Somme Battlefields when it snowed heavily, and the landscape was transformed. Courcelette is a small village on the Somme, captured by the Canadian Corps during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on 15th September 1916. More than 8,500 Canadians died at Courcelette, and Courcelette British Cemetery is one of three in village.

Courcelette British Cemetery, January 2019

While there in January 2019, I was able to walk up to Courcelette British Cemetery and photograph a cemetery I have photographed many times, in all sorts of weather, but this time in the snow.

The battlefields of Verdun are among the most haunting on the Western Front: vast acres of forest with crumbling trenches, bunkers and shell holes. In 1916 more than 770,000 French and Germans became casualties here and more than a thousand high explosive shells fell for every square meter of the battlefield.

The French National Cemetery at Douaumont stands in the heart of the battlefield overlooking the scenes of some of its most bitter fighting in 1916. Here are the graves of more than 16,000 French soldiers and a mass grave of 592 burials. Among the dead are 1781 Muslim soldiers which highlight the heavy losses among French Colonial soldiers at Verdun.

 

The Indian Corps Memorial at Neuve-Chapelle is located at the heart of India’s sacrificial ground on the Western Front. The nearby village of Neuve-Chapelle saw some of the earliest fighting involving Indian troops in October 1914 and was the scene of the Indian Corps attacks in March and September of 1915.

Indian Corps Memorial

Indian Corps Memorial

The memorial was unveiled in October 1927 and aside from many Indian veterans who were present, Rudyard Kipling – the author who had done much to inspire popular interest in India amongst the British people – was also present. The memorial was designed by Sir Herbert Baker, one of the chief architects of the Imperial War Graves Commission.

God Is One, His Is The Victory

God Is One, His Is The Victory

The memorial commemorates more than 4,700 Indian Army soldiers who fell on the Western Front who have no known grave, many of who were cremated on the battlefield by their comrades, just as their religious beliefs dictated.

 

Today is the centenary of the Gallipoli landings which took place on this day in 1915. To Australian and New Zealand readers of this blog it is ANZAC when arguably their nation came of age as they fought in the first major conflict of their country’s history. Today we remember the British Tommies at Cape Helles, the French Poilus alongside them and the Diggers and Kiwis at ANZAC. But we must also remember Johnny Turk: initially thought as second rate by the War Office, those who fought at Gallipoli soon gained respect and admiration for their Turkish foe and post-war the government of Kemal Atatürk adopted the Allied dead as their own.

Turkish Memorial, Gallipoli

Turkish Memorial, Gallipoli