Devonshire Cemetery


Mametz is a village in the Department of the Somme, 6.5 kilometres east of Albert. Devonshire Cemetery is 800 metres south of Mametz and is situated on high ground some 450 metres west of the road from Albert to Peronne (D938), 6.5 kilometres from Albert.

Note that whilst Metz itself is pronounced with the -z- other town names in France that finish in -metz are pronounced -may.

This is an easily missed cemetery lying as it does up within Mansell Copse from where the Devonshire Regiment made its ill fated attack. It lies on your right on the main D 938 as you travel towards Carnoy.

There is a parking bay on the main road from where you can walk up into the copse.

Do not leave valuables on view in your vehicle.

Devonshire Cemetery

Historical Information

Mametz was within the German lines until 1 July 1916 when it was captured by the 7th Division, and Mametz Wood, north-east of the village, was cleared on the days following 7 July.

The 8th and 9th Battalions of the Devonshire Regiments, forming parts of the 7th Division, attacked on 1 July 1916 from a point on the south-west side of Albert-Maricourt road, due south of Mametz village, by a plantation called Mansell Copse.

The Devonshires

The Devonshires held this trench.
  The Devonshires hold it still

It was there, on 4 July, that they buried their dead in a section of their old front line trench. All but two of the burials belong to these battalions.

6 officers and 116 soldiers from 9th Devons are amongst the neat rows, their headstones reminding you of men lined up on a parade ground.

Devonshire Cemetery contains 163 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, ten of which are unidentified.

The cemetery was designed by W H Cowlishaw.

At the entrance to the Cemetery is a plaque on the left.

The cemetery is located at the Allied front line and you can easily see Mametz Village and the communal cemetery five hundred metres away.

Mametz cemetery

Mametz Communal Cemetery from Mansell Copse
The large tree in the centre is in the communal cemetery
Halfway between it and the white barn to its left is a grey shrine
within which the Germans set up a machine gun post

Mametz Village

On the right is the white barn near the cemetery
The red building in the distance on the road is the old railway halte

It should be remembered that the Devons were not attacking the village but more along the road to your left towards Fricourt.

Captain Duncan Martin

Private Frederick Oxford 18431
8th Bn Devonshire Regiment
Died on 1st July 1916 aged 22
Son of James and Mary Jane Oxford, of 40, Alexandra Rd., Ford, Devonport

Captain Duncan Martin
9th Bn Devonshire Regiment
Died on 1st July 1916 aged 30
Brother of Mrs D Jeltes, of Swaylands, Brockenhurst, Hants

Private Marshal Williams 19186
9th Bn Devonshire Regiment
Died on 1st July 1916 aged 22
Son of Edwin and Georgina Williams, of 4 Summerland Buildings, Clifton Rd, Exeter

Grave: Block A 1

Captain Duncan Martin was 30 years old when he led his men into battle that morning.

Commanding A Company 9th Bn Devons he had predicted that the machine gun in the shrine would cause serious problems to the attack if it wasn't dealt with by the early morning bombardment.

He had gone as far as making up a plasticine model of the area and shown it to his superiors - who took little notice.

As it was he was one of those killed by the gun.

Lieutenant William Hodgson

Lieutenant William Hodgson MC
9th Bn Devonshire Regiment
Died on 1st July 1916 aged 23
Son of the Rt Rev Henry Hodgson, DD, 1st Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, and Penelope Hodgson, of Churcher's College, Petersfield, Hants
One of the war poets. Author of Verse and Prose in Peace and War.

Hodgson was Bombing Officer for his battalion during the attack on the 1st July 1916, and was killed bringing up grenades (which were known as bombs) to the men in the newly captured trenches.

He was brought down by a bullet fired by the machine gun at the shrine which had so concerned Captain Martin.

He is perhaps most famous for his poem Before Action written on 29 June 1916, just two nights before he died

The last of the three stanzas has become a popular quotation.

Before Action

I, that on my familiar hill Saw with uncomprehending eyes
A hundred of Thy sunsets spill
Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,
Ere the sun swings his noonday sword
Must say good-bye to all of this:?
By all delights that I shall miss,
Help me to die, O Lord.

Grave: Block A 3


For more information about the attack on Mametz.

1st July 1916 1st July 1916

Within a short distance is the Gordon's Cemetery.

The Gordon's Cemetery The Gordon's Cemetery