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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Douchy les Ayette German Cemetery

Ian C

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This is a picture I was given some years ago which I was told is at Douchy les Ayette. Given that the legend is in German, I assume it was from the German cemetery there, which before it was moved had 380 burials in it. I was also told that the photo was C1938/9, does anyone have any information on this German cemetery? were German cemeteries being cleared in this way prior to WW2?

I believe the legend says:

He who dies in holy struggle, lies as if in his Fatherland




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I did some work on this years ago with Nils Fabiansonn about 10 years ago. Douchy features in 'Storm of Steel' and using that book, the Regimental History and Jünger's diary the cemetery in Douchy was traced to a plot of land between Rue de l'Eglise and Rue en Haut. You can find the location on Google Maps at 50°10'31.18"N.; 2°42'56.34E. It's somebody's horse paddock now.

The cemetery was cleared but I don't know where to. Achiet, or the big German cemetery at Vimy? Miraumont is another possibility, in which case they would have not have been re-interred as German remains deposited here awaiting re-burial simply disappeared. In one account they were used by local farmers as fertiliser.

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Removal to the large cemetery at Neuville St Vaast/La Targette is a strong possibility: for example the German cemetery at nearby Boiry St Rictrude was - I believe that is where the surviving memorial from the war in the present cemetery originated.

Miraumont I think is unlikely. During the war it had a large military cemetery (IIRC in the field below the existing communal cemetery) and, as I understand it, these were the ones who were exhumed. Jean Verdel told me that they were simply cremated and scattered, but I have no other evidence for this except that they do seem to have disappeared.

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