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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Friday 14th March 2014 St Mary's ADS, Ninth Cemetery and Bois Carr


mandy hall

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After attending the funeral of William McAleer and 19 unknown British soldiers at Loos Military Cemetery, I then visited the above cemeteries. The mornings fog had cleared by lunchtime and it was a lovely warm sunny afternoon.

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The cemetery is located in the vicinity of Haisnes, which lies between the towns of Lens and La Bassee in the Pas-de-Calais. Although the Cemetery lies in open farmland, there are neighbouring towns of Vermelles, Loos-en-Gohelle and Hulluch.

The Cemetery can be reached from the D947, Lens to La Bassee road, and a CWGC signpost is visible on this road. The Cemetery is on the D39, Hulluch to Vermelles road.

Historical Information

The village was reached, or nearly reached, by the 9th (Scottish) and 7th Divisions on the 25th September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos; and parts of the commune were the scene of desperate fighting in the Actions of the Hohenzollern Redoubt (13th-15th October, 1915). No further advance was made in this sector until October 1918, when the enemy withdrew his line.

"St. Mary's Advanced Dressing Station" was established, during the Battle of Loos, and the cemetery named from it is at the same place. The cemetery was made after the Armistice, by the concentration of graves from the battlefield of Loos; the great majority of the graves are those of men who fell in September and October 1915.

The only defined burial ground from which graves were brought to this cemetery was:-

LOOS COMMUNAL CEMETERY, on the South-West side of the town, in which nine soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried in February 1916, and which was subsequently ruined by artillery fire.

There are now nearly 2,000, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this cemetery. Of these, over two-thirds are unidentified and Special Memorials are erected to 23 soldiers from the United Kingdom, known or believed to be buried among them. Six other special memorials record the names of soldiers from the United Kingdom, buried in Loos Communal Cemetery, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire.

The cemetery covers an area of 6,097 square metres and is enclosed by a low rubble wall.

There was at one time a French cemetery of 800 graves on the opposite side of the road; but in 1922 these graves were removed to Notre Dame-de-Lorette French National Cemetery.

Row of Royal Sussex unknowns

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I think this is the lone tree on the horizon.

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Bois Carre from St Mary's

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Ninth Avenue and Bois Carre in the distance from St Mary's

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Ninth Avenue from St Mary's

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Bois Carre

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Information from CWGC

Haisnes is a village just south of La Bassee, but Bois-Carre Military Cemetery is approximately 2 kilometres south of the village, south-west of the village of Hulluch. From Lens, take the D947 towards La Bassee. At Hulluch, turn left at the roundabout, taking the D39 towards Vermelles. The cemetery is on the left side of the road in the middle of the fields.

Visiting Information

The rough track leading to the cemetery may be difficult in bad weather conditions.

Historical Information

Haisnes village remained in German hands until the final advance in the year 1918, but parts of the commune were gained by British troops in the Battle of Loos.

Bois-Carre Military Cemetery is named from a small copse about 274 metres to the South-West. It was begun in September, 1915, and used, largely by the 16th (Irish) Division, until August, 1916, one more grave being added in March 1918.

There are now over 200, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, nearly a quarter are unidentified and the graves of 47, destroyed by shell fire, are now represented by special memorials. The irregular arrangement of the rows is due to the difficult conditions under which these burials were carried out.

The cemetery covers an area of 1,649 square metres.

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Row of Special Memorials

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Path to Ninth Avenue

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Info from CWGC

Ninth Avenue Cemetery is situated 3 kilometres south of the village of Haisnes and 1 kilometre south-west of the village of Hulluch, and 274 metres south of the road from Hulluch to Vermelles. Ninth Avenue Cemetery is a little way north-west of Bois-Carre Military Cemetery.

Historical Information

The village of Haisnes remained in German hands until the final advance in the year 1918, but parts of the commune were gained by British troops in the Battle of Loos.

Ninth Avenue Cemetery was named from a trench which ran across the North end of it. It consists of one large grave.

There are now over 40, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, a small number are unidentified.

The cemetery covers an area of 242 square metres and is enclosed by a flint wall. The headstones to the Cameron Highlanders are erected in the form of a square round the cemetery.

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Excellent views Mandy, I love those warm slightly misty days in early spring or autumn. I'd looked at the spacing of the graveyards on maps and satellite images but there is no substitute for seeing them on the ground. It's Lone Tree for me the next time I'm over there.

Pete.

P.S. How was your better half's ankle? Or was that someone else's better half? Or did I imagine that completely?

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I then meandered back through the villages, up to the coast catching the eurotunnel late afternoon.

Mandy

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Hi Pete

Not my OH, poss Michelle's. I would have liked, to have walked out to The Lone Tree, but my OH was starting to clock watch. However what he doesn't know won't hurt him, we didn't take the most direct route up to the coast. I was getting my money's worth for my two days in France and we arrived with time to spare at eurotunnel terminal.

Mandy

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These are great photos Mandy - I hope that they encourage some more people to visit Ninth Avenue and Bois Carre Cemeteries when they stop off at St Mary ADS to see the grave that may or may not be John Kipling.

William

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Am I reading correctly, 20 new internments today?

Great images. Thanks for posting.

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Yes Ken, William McAleer's coffin was carried into cemetery, the other 19 are unknown and were already in the ground. If you look at my photo of headstones in the other thread about the ceremony, you can see the wording on the headstones.

Where it says Four British Soldiers of the Great War, they are all in one coffin together. That's why when you see photos of the coffins in the ground, there are not 19 separate coffins. I had expected all the coffins to be carried in to the cemetery.

Mandy

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  • Admin

Great photos Mandy, yes that was the tree looming up out of the fog.

Peter, it is my other half who has the fractured ankle, we are off over next Saturday, must do some planning!

Michelle

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Thanks Michelle.

Have a great time, hope the weather holds for you.

Mandy

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It was a nice day, wasn't it, Mandy? Glad my car was no longer (not yet?) spoiling the view of the Cross of Sacrifice at St Mary's. See you at the conference.

Cheers Martin B

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Hi Pete

Not my OH, poss Michelle's. I would have liked, to have walked out to The Lone Tree, but my OH was starting to clock watch. However what he doesn't know won't hurt him, we didn't take the most direct route up to the coast. I was getting my money's worth for my two days in France and we arrived with time to spare at eurotunnel terminal.

Mandy

Mandy, apologies; one of these days I'll read the name of the poster before replying. I think I assumed that any post that mentions the Lone Tree must be Michelle given her attachment to it and the area. If I had a brain I'd be dangerous. It doesn't detract from the quality of your photographs, they are excellent. I am going to have to follow your lead as I need some photos in the Hulluch direction and I'm convinced that I need to do it on foot.

Pete.

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Great photos Mandy, yes that was the tree looming up out of the fog.

Peter, it is my other half who has the fractured ankle, we are off over next Saturday, must do some planning!

Michelle

Michelle, as per my previous post can I extend an apology to you and your other half. I'm clearly confused by two posts on the Loos battlefield running at the same time with posters whose names begin with M. I think the phrase that best describes the situation is that I'm not dealing from a full deck, although not the sharpest tool in the box would do just as well. Hope you have a really good time.

Pete.

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No apologies needed Pete! :P Needless to say we will be visiting Loos some time next week......

Michelle

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Amazing photos Mandy, thanks for sharing with us. Found the row of RSR unknowns very touching (but then I would). Hope you had a good meet up on the 8th too

Got some more 7th stuff for you, so catch up soon

All the best, Jim

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good to see Bois Carre cemetery looking nice and green when I went it was being re-turfed and looked a bit like a quagmire in places :)

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Great pics, Mandy!! Thanks for sharing

I was in St Mary's ADS last year and it was so damn windy !!!!

It's a great place!!

M.

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It was a nice day, wasn't it, Mandy? Glad my car was no longer (not yet?) spoiling the view of the Cross of Sacrifice at St Mary's. See you at the conference.

Cheers Martin B

A weird thing happened, once I got a clear view of the cemetery, the camera played up. I didn't realise at the time and it worked fine afterwards. On reviewing the photos at home, all I have got is a blue screen.

See you Saturday

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments.

Mandy

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