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Pys New British Cemetery

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This is related to the identification of the Unkown Seaman and Marines referenced in: R.M.L.I. & HAWKE Bn in Adanac Military Cemetery


Some time ago there was an extensive search within the CEFSG for the precise location of the Pys British Cemetery. There had always been confusion as to the location of that cemetery, as compared to the Pys NEW British Cemetery that was located within the village of Pys. That information was provided by the CWGC in their description of the Adanac Military Cemtery (CWGC Link).


Adanac Military Cemetery (the name was formed by reversing the name "Canada") was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the Canadian battlefields around Courcelette and small cemeteries surrounding Miraumont, including:- PYS BRITISH CEMETERY, about two thirds of the way from Pys to Courcelette. It contained the graves of 22 soldiers from Canada, two from the United Kingdom and five of unknown Units, and a memorial to 33 men of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. PYS NEW BRITISH CEMETERY, in the village, made by the 42nd Division in August and September, 1918, and containing the graves of 35 soldiers (and sailors and Marines) from the United Kingdom and one from New Zealand.

During an investigation of a commonwealth soldier of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, one set of records was found for the concentration of the grave. This was key information, as a large number of COG-BR documents for the Adanac Military Cemetery had been inadvertently lost or destroyed.


One of the eleven (11) known naval men recovered from the Pys New British Cemetery was Leading Seaman Ralph Thompson #R/3781 of the Hawke Battalion. His COG-BR (grave 7.J.11), shown below, revealed the location of the cemetery as 57c.M.2.b.6.4. Also recorded on the same COG-BR was the grave of Private J. T. Stowell #CH/19177 of the Royal Marine Light Infantry (R.M.L.I.) in grave 7.J.14.


Interestingly, that information also tells us that the sole member of the New Zealand forces that was exhumed from the Pys New British Cemetery was Private Robert Edwin Hawkes #24/1679, in grave 7.J.18.



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