Holiday in the Somme - Pozieres British Cemetery and the Pozieres Memorial

At the end of October 2013 I went on holiday to the Somme region of France with my family.

We stayed in a gite in the quiet village of Carnoy.

While we were there we visited many sites associated with The Great War of 1914 - 1918.

 

Pozieres is a village 6 kilometres north-east of the town of Albert.

The Memorial encloses Pozieres British Cemetery which is a little south-west of the village on the north side of the main road, D929, from Albert to Pozieres.

On the road frontage is an open arcade terminated by small buildings and broken in the middle by the entrance and gates. Along the sides and the back, stone tablets are fixed in the stone rubble walls bearing the names of the dead grouped under their Regiments.

The village of Pozieres was attacked on 23 July 1916 by the 1st Australian and 48th (South Midland) Divisions, and was taken on the following day. It was lost on 24-25 March 1918, during the great German advance, and recaptured by the 17th Division on the following 24 August. Plot II of POZIERES BRITISH CEMETERY contains the original burials of 1916, 1917 and 1918, carried out by fighting units and field ambulances. The remaining plots were made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery, the majority of them of soldiers who died in the Autumn of 1916, but a few represent the fighting in August 1918.

Casualty Details: UK 1829, Canada 219, Australia 708, Germany 1

 
 
There are now 2,758 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 1,380 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. There is also 1 German soldier buried here. The cemetery is enclosed by the POZIERES MEMORIAL, which relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918 when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8 August 1918.

The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died in France during the Fifth Army area retreat on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918. The Corps and Regiments most largely represented are The Rifle Brigade with over 600 names, The Durham Light Infantry with approximately 600 names, the Machine Gun Corps with over 500, The Manchester Regiment with approximately 500 and The Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery with over 400 names. The cemetery and memorial were designed by W H Cowlishaw

The POZIERES MEMORIAL relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918 when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8 August 1918. The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918. The Corps and Regiments most largely represented are The Rifle Brigade with over 600 names, The Durham Light Infantry with approximately 600 names, the Machine Gun Corps with over 500, The Manchester Regiment with approximately 500 and The Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery with over 400 names.

The memorial encloses POZIERES BRITISH CEMETERY, Plot II of which contains original burials of 1916, 1917 and 1918, carried out by fighting units and field ambulances. The remaining plots were made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery, the majority of them of soldiers who died in the Autumn of 1916 during the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme, but a few represent the fighting in August 1918. There are now 2,758 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 1,380 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. There is also 1 German soldier buried here. The cemetery and memorial were designed by William Harrison Cowlishaw. Sculpture by Lawrence A. Turner. The memorial was unveiled by Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien on 4 August 1930.

 

I left a poppy at the grave of Robert Keil Powell, a Lieutenant in the North Staffordshire Regiment, who died on 4 October 1916 at the age of 21.

In my work at The Staffordshire Regiment Museum I make extensive use of his records, letters home etc. as a teaching resource with visiting groups when describing conditions in the Somme.

         

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