Category Archives: Cemeteries and Memorials

Villers-Bretonneux Memorial – France

VILLERS-BRETONNEUX MEMORIAL

On 7th August 2014 Stephen and I visited the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, which is located about 2 km north of the village of Villers-Bretonneux. It was our second visit to this memorial.

The photograph below shows the Villers-Bretonneus Memorial, with some of  the headstones in the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in the foreground.

Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (PhotographL S. & H. Thompson, 5/9/2012)

Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 5/9/2012)

Red poppies grow in the garden beds near the entrance to the memorial. Beautiful roses and other flowers are planted in amongst the graves in the cemetery section. Bullet holes from World War II German aircraft can be seen on a wall, and on the tower.

Bullet holes in wall at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 7/9/2014)

Bullet holes in a wall at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 7/9/2014)

A quite prophetic article in The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate described the importance of this memorial, which was unveiled by King George VI on 22 July 1938, as follows:

‘A magnificent and dignified structure, it will perpetuate the memory of thousands of Australians who gave their lives on the battlefields of France in the greatest war the world has yet known. It is not the only war memorial dedicated to the memory of Australians and other sons of the Empire who died in France, but to us it is the most significant, for it marks the scene where Australians played an outstanding part in stemming the flow of the grey enemy hordes which threatened to engulf France. It was there, on April 24, 1918, that sons of Australia helped to halt the Germans who had burst through the British lines. It was the turning point of the war, for it was followed with a counter attack on April 24 – eve of the third anniversary of Anzac Day – which started the general allied advance that eventually brought peace. On that Anzac eve, there were 2500 Australian casualties, so the blood toll was heavy. The Villers-Bretonneux Memorial however, symbolises something more that the feats of arms and self-sacrifice of Australia’s sons. It stands as a reminder of the bond between France and the British Empire, cemented imperishably during 1914-18. Australians joined with the French in facing a common enemy, and France will not forget. Even when Time dims the memories of the awful horrors of the war years, the Villers-Bretonneux and other memorials will stand as mute sentinels of the friendship between the French and English. Generations to come will remember that French soil has been enriched by British blood; that sons of Australia and other parts of the Empire are sleeping beneath the poppies which blow on the foreign land they died to save …’[1]

The photograph below, taken from the tower at the top of the memorial, looking towards the main entrance, shows the size of the beautifully laid out site, and the rolling hills of the surrounding French countryside.

Looking from the Tower to the Main Entrance at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Photograph: S. &. H. Thompson 5/9/2012)

Looking from the Tower to the Main Entrance at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Photograph: S. &. H. Thompson 5/9/2012)

This Australian National Memorial was erected to commemorate all Australian soldiers who fought and died in France and Belgium during the First World War, and to name those who have no known grave.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, the names of 10,762 Australian soldiers are commemorated by this memorial. They died in the battlefields of the Somme, and Arras, and in the advance by the Germans in 1918, and the Allied advance to victory.

The memorial is situated behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, which contains the remains of graves brought in from other burial grounds and the battlefields in the area.

The names of 12 Coo-ees are commemorated at this memorial. Their names are listed in unit order on the walls.

Wilfred Ernest McDONALD 4th HTM Bty, who joined the Coo-ees at Wongarbon

Karl Alex Frederick NEILSEN 4th Pioneer BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Springwood

Oliver James HARMON 4th Pioneer BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Parramatta

John TARLINGTON 4th Pioneer BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Blayney

Francis Charles FINLAYSON 13th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Parramatta

Stanley Everard STEPHENS 13th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Gilgandra

Allan James DENMEAD 19th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Bathurst

William Emerton HUNTER 45th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Geurie

Lawrence Leslie MAGUIRE 45th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Gilgandra

Jack MORRIS 45th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Parramatta

William WEBBER 45th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Ashfield

Rowland John WILSON 45th BN, who joined the Coo-ees at Lawson

A photograph of their name on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial will be placed on each individual Coo-ee’s blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

[1] Villers-Bretonneux, The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, 23 July 1938, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132276037

 

 

St. Sever Cemetery Extension – France

ST. SEVER CEMETERY EXTENSION, ROUEN

On 7th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to St. Sever Cemetery Extension at Rouen in France.

The majority of the soldiers that died at the Commonwealth camps and hospitals stationed at Rouen during the First World War were buried in the city cemetery of St. Server. A military extension was begun in September 1916, and the last burial took place in April 1920.

There are 8,348 Commonwealth burials from the First World War in this very large cemetery.

Harold Brooks Davis, a young plumber from Leura on enlistment per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees in the Blue Mountains, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He died of wounds on 28th February 1917.

The photograph below shows Private Davis’s headstone (centre) at St. Sever Cemetery Extension at Rouen.

St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 7/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on Private Davis’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

H.A.C. Cemetery – France

H.A.C. CEMETERY

On 6th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to the H.A.C. Cemetery, which is located about 800 metres south of Ecoust-St. Mein, which is a village between Arras, Cambrai and Bapaume.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, the village of Ecoust was captured by the 4th Australian and 7th Divisions on the 2nd April 1917. This cemetery was started to be used after this battle by the 7th Division. After the Armistice further graves were added to this cemetery for soldiers who had been buried on the battlefields of Bullecourt and Ecoust and other nearby burial grounds. There are now almost 2,000 soldiers buried or commemorated in this cemetery. Over half of these are unidentified.

There are two Coo-ees buried in this cemetery – Charles Arthur Finn, a blacksmith who joined the Coo-ees at Gilgandra, who was killed in action near Bapaume on the 7th April 1917, and  Charles Alfred Hampson, a machinist who joined the Coo-ees at Lithgow, who was killed in action two weeks later at Ecoust-St. Mein on the 28th April 1917.

The photograph below shows Charles Finn’s headstone (centre) at the H.A.C. Cemetery.

H.A.C. Cemetery at Ecoust-St. Mein, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 6/9/2014)

H.A.C. Cemetery at Ecoust-St. Mein, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 6/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstones on Charles Finn’s and Charles Hampson’s graves will be placed on their individual blog entries, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

Vaulx Hill Cemetery – France

VAULX HILL CEMETERY

On 6th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to Vaulx Hill Cemetery, which is located near the village of Vaulx-Vraucaourt in France, 6 km north-east of Baupaume.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, Vaulx Hill Cemetery started in September 1918, and further graves were added after the Armistice from the nearby battlefields.

There are 856 Commonwealth soldiers either buried or commemorated in this cemetery.

Samuel Luke, a labourer on enlistment per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees at St. Marys, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He was killed in action on 21st April 1917.

The photograph below shows Samuel Luke’s grave (centre) at Vaulx Hill Cemetery.

Vaulx Hill Cemetery, France (Photograph: S & H Thompson, 6/9/2014)

Vaulx Hill Cemetery, France (Photograph: S & H Thompson, 6/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on Samuel Luke’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension – France

JEANCOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

On 6th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, which is located in the small village of Jeancourt, about half way between Peronne and St. Quentin in France.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, Jeancourt was initially a German hospital centre during the First World War, and the extension to the communal cemetery was used by both Commonwealth and German troops. Commonwealth burials were made from April 1917 until February 1918, and recommenced in September 1918. Further burials were added when graves, mostly those made in March and September 1918, were brought in from the surrounding battlefields after the Armistice.

There are 492 Commonwealth burials and commemorations in this cemetery. 207 of these are unidentified. There are also 168 German burials.

Private Bernard Coyte, a farmer and labourer on enlistment per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees at Orange, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He was killed in action on 18th September 1918.

The photograph below shows the headstone of Private Coyte (centre in front row) at Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension.

Private Bernard Coyte's headstone at Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Photograph: S & H Thompson, 6/9/2014)

Private Bernard Coyte’s headstone (centre) at Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Photograph: S & H Thompson, 6/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on Private Coyte’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension – France

PERONNE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

On 6th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, which is located on the south west side of Peronne Communal Cemetery at Peronne in France.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, Peronne fell to the Germans on 24th September 1914. It was captured by the 40th and 48th Divisions on 18th March 1917, then was retaken by the Germans on 23rd March 1918. It was taken by the 2nd Australian Division on 1st September 1918.

The military cemetery extension was used by the 48th (South Midland) Division in March 1917, then was used by the Germans in 1918, and then by Australian units in September 1918. Further burials were made in the cemetery extension following the war when graves in the battlefields and smaller cemeteries north and east of Peronne were brought in and reburied.

There are now 1,595 Commonwealth soldiers of the First World War buried or commemorated in Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension.  This number includes 488 Australian soldiers, many of whom died during the capture of Peronne between the 1st and 3rd September 1918. There are also 97 German war graves.

John Martin, a labourer on enlistment per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees at Molong, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He was killed in action on 1st September 1918 during the 54th Battalion’s successful assault on Peronne.

The photograph below shows John Martin’s headstone (second from the left) at Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension.

Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, Peronne, France (Photograph: S. & H> Thompson, 6/9/2014)

Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, Peronne, France (Photograph: S. & H> Thompson, 6/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on John Martin’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

Puchevillers British Cemetery – France

PUCHEVILLERS BRITISH CEMETERY

On 5th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to Puchevillers British Cemetery, which is located near the village of Puchevillers, which is about 19 km north-east of Amiens.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, the 3rd and 44th Casualty Clearing Stations came to Puchevillers in June 1916 just before the start of the Battle of the Somme, and used Plots 1 to 5, and almost all of Plot 6 until March 1917. The cemetery was then used by the 2nd/1st South Midland Casualty Clearing Station for the next two months. Plot 7 contains mostly the graves of soldiers who died in the German advance in 1918.

There are 1,763 First World War soldiers buried in this cemetery.

Archibald McIntyre, a labourer on enlistment per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees at Blayney, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery (in Plot 6). He died of illness on 26th May 1917.

The photograph below shows Private McIntyre’s grave (2nd from the right) at Puchevillers British Cemetery.

Puchevillers British Cemetery, Puchevillers, Somme, France (Photograph: S & H Thompson 5/9/2014)

Puchevillers British Cemetery, Puchevillers, Somme, France (Photograph: S & H Thompson 5/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on Archibald McIntyre’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

Terlincthun British Cemetery – France

TERLINCTHUN BRITISH CEMETERY

On Friday 5th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to Terlincthun British Cemetery, which is located near the town of Wimille, on the northern outskirts of Boulogne, Pas de Calais department, France.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, this cemetery was begun in June 1918, and was used mainly for burials from the base hospitals, and some burials were for RAF personnel killed in a bombing raid by German aircraft at Marquise in September 1918. Further remains were reinterred in this cemetery following the war. The cemetery was damaged by shelling in 1940 and during the German occupation in World War II.

Joseph Parrish, a miner on enlistment per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees at Wellington, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He died of wounds on 27th June 1918.

The photograph below shows Private Joseph Parrish’s headstone (centre in front row) at Terlincthun British Cemetery.

Terlincthun British Cemetery, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 5/9/2014)

Terlincthun British Cemetery, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 5/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on Joseph Parrish’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.

AIF Burial Ground – France

AIF BURIAL GROUND

On Thursday 4th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to the AIF Burial Ground, which is located 2 km north of the small village of Flers, in the Department of the Somme, France.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, this cemetery was used by Australian medical units from November 1916 to February 1917. There were other burials made from spring 1917 to the summer of 1918. Further burials were made after the Armistice for soldiers who had buried in temporary graves on the battlefields of the Somme and elsewhere.

There are 3,475 First World War Commonwealth soldiers either buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 2,263 of the burials are of unidentified soldiers.

Spencer John Letcher, a painter on enlistment per his service record, who joined the Coo-ees at Bathurst, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. He died of wounds on the 6th August 1916, and was buried on the battlefield in the vicinity of Pozieres.   After the war his remains were recovered by the Imperial War Graves Commission and reburied in this cemetery.

The photograph below shows Private S. J. Letcher’s grave 3rd from the right at the AIF Burial Ground. His age is given as 18. The inscription at the bottom of his headstone reads “For Australia”. The two headstones on his right are both for unknown soldiers.

AIF Burial Ground, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/9/2014)

AIF Burial Ground, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/9/2014)

Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension – France

WARLOY-BAILLON COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

On Thursday 4th September 2014 Stephen and I drove to Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension, which is located on the east side of the village of Warloy-Baillon, which is about 21 km northeast of Amiens, and 8 km west of Albert.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website http://www.cwgc.org/, burials were made in the extension on the eastern side of the Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery from July to November 1916 following fighting on the northern sector of the Somme, then some further burials were made after the German offensive in the spring of 1918.

There are 1,331 First World War Commonwealth soldiers buried in this extension.

Lewis Leoville, who joined the Coo-ees at Lithgow, is the only Coo-ee buried in this cemetery. On the 8th August 1916 Private Leoville was wounded in action during the Battle of Poziers, and died the same day after being evacuated to the 13th Australian Field Ambulance set up in the village of Warloy-Baillon.

The photograph below shows Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension. Lewis Leoville’s grave is the first one visible on the left.

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Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/9/2014)

A photograph of the headstone on Lewis Leoville’s grave will be placed on his individual blog entry, and form part of a Roll of Honour for the fallen Coo-ees on this blog.