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laughton

A.I.F. Burial Ground, Flers

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laughton

I had originally created the files for this cemetery in June 2015 (or perhaps it was Luc) but the raw files disappeared and only the binders remained. I re-created the originals today and made new ZIP folders so I can check this cemetery out for the other R.M.L.I. CSM (Boyd). (That Topic)

 

The ZIP files are now here:

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/bfu0tcimz16g3/A.I.F._Burial_Grounds%2C_Flers

 

Here is what the CWGC has to say about A.I.F. Burial Ground, Flers. I will add the TMC for the exhumation cemeteries and check the documents for other large concentrations.

 

The original name on the concentration reports is "A.I.F. Burial Ground, Grass Lane, Flers" located at 57c.N.25.b.8.6. Named for the Australian Infantry Force. Neither of the two cemeteries that the CWGC mentions as being concentrated into the cemetery are on the DAL (David Avery List).

 

Quote

Flers was captured on 15 September 1916, in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, when it was entered by the New Zealand and 41st Divisions behind tanks, the innovative new weapons that were used here for the first time. The village was lost during the German advance of March 1918 and retaken at the end of the following August by the 10th West Yorks and the 6th Dorsets of the 17th Division.

 

The cemetery was begun by Australian medical units, posted in the neighbouring caves, in November 1916-February 1917. These original graves are in Plot I, Rows A and B.

 

It was very greatly enlarged after the Armistice when almost 4,000 Commonwealth and French graves were brought in from the battlefields of the Somme, and later from a wider area. The following were among the burial grounds from which Commonwealth graves were taken to this cemetery:-

 

  • FACTORY CORNER, FLERS, a little West of the crossing of the roads from Eaucourt-L'Abbaye to Gueudecourt and from Flers to Ligny-Thilloy. This place, which had been a German Headquarters for Artillery and Engineers and had a German Cemetery, was taken by the 1st Canterbury Infantry Regiment on the 25th September 1916, and again by the 7th East Yorks on the 27th August 1918. Fifteen soldiers from the United Kingdom and 13 from Australia were buried here in October 1916 - March 1917, and in August 1918.
     
  • NORTH ROAD CEMETERY, FLERS, North-West of the village, at the crossing of the Eaucourt-L'Abbaye road with "North Road" (to Factory Corner). Here were buried, in the winter of 1916-17, 13 Australian soldiers and seven from the United Kingdom.
     

The great majority of the graves in A.I.F. Burial Ground date from the autumn of 1916, but one is from 1914 (this one), and there are others from the spring of 1917 and the spring and summer of 1918. There are now 3,475 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 2,263 of the burials are unidentified and there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of three casualties buried in a cemetery at Flers, whose graves could not be found. 

 

Some of the documents, such as COG-BR 1964249, tell us that they exhumed and inspected some of the original graves after the war.

 

There were a few identifiable concentrations from:

 

The 1914 lad was Lance Corporal C. Machin #10028 of the 1st Bn Coldstream Guards, died 14 September 1914. His exhumation location is noted as "Soissons 1/100000 Sheet 22 1.H.99 x31". He was exhumed alin with an Unknown Biritsh Officer of the Cameron Highlanders. That map sheet is discussed on the GWF - see here. The McMaster Map is here: Soissons 22 [Belgium and Northeast France]. That should mean it was somewhere east of Chateau-Thierry and south of Dormans on the River Marne, likely near La-Chapelle-Monthodon (49° 1'22.45"N 3°38'6.16"E) which is 65 miles northeast of Paris . You can see Chateau-Thierry on the CWGC map for the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial. THere are 159 men of the Cameron Highlanders on that memorial (CWGC Link). The Officer List includes one (1) Major two (2) Captains, one (1) Lieutenant and four (4) Second Lieutenants, so the identity will remain unknown.

Edited by laughton
added additional details

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