Merville

Location

Merville is a town 15 kilometres north of Bethune and 20 kilometres south-east of Armentières. The Communal Cemetery is on the north-east side of the town to the north side of the road to Neuf-Berquin. The Extension is now surrounded by the Communal Cemetery.

OPENING TIMES:
April to October: 0800-2000
November to March: 0800-1730 hours

Merville Communal Cemetery

Historical Information

Merville was the scene of fighting between the Germans and French and British cavalry early in October 1914 but from the 9th of that month to 11 April 1918, it remained in Allied hands. In October 1914, and in the autumn of 1915, the town was the headquarters of the Indian Corps.

It was a railhead until May 1915, and a billeting and hospital centre from 1915-1918. The 6th and Lahore Casualty Clearing Stations were there from the autumn of 1914 to the autumn of 1915; the 7th from December 1914, to April 1917; the 54th (1st/2nd London) from August 1915 to March 1918, and the 51st (Highland) from May 1917 to April 1918.

Merville Communal Cemetery

On the evening of 11 April 1918, in the Battles of the Lys, the Germans forced their way into Merville and the town was not retaken until 19 August.

The cemeteries were not used again until the concentration of battlefield burials into the Extension began, after the Armistice.

During the Second World War the river Lys was the southern end of a deep but narrow area held by British forces at the end of May 1940. Merville is on the territory over which were fought desperate rearguard actions during the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force to the coast, for evacuation from Dunkirk.

Merville Communal Cemetery was used by French troops (chiefly cavalry) in October 1914, and for Commonwealth burials from that date until August 1916 (in the case of officers, to March 1918).

It now contains 1,268 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, and 12 French war graves. There is also 1 non war burial.

Merville Communal Cemetery
 
Private G Young

Private G Young 10566
2nd Bn Gordon Highlanders
Died on 21st December 1914

Grave: I K 47

Sepoy Gharti Shamsher

Sepoy Shamsher Gharti 2122
2nd King Edward's Own Gurkhas
The Sirmoor Rifles
Died on 24th June 1915
Son of Dhana, of Purkoti, Bhirkote, Nepal

This Hindu Soldier
of the Indian Army
Is honoured here

Note the inscription on this grave as well as that of Wazir Singh below. Both these faiths cremate their dead, thus there is no actual burial. However each soldier still receives a headstone in his honour. This can be compared with the Muslims of the Indian Army (or French colonial soldiers even) where there is a burial.

Grave: III L 1

Sepoy Wazir Singh

Sepoy Wazir Singh 4691
15th Ludhiana Sikhs
Died on 8th June 1915
Son of Atri, of Sekha, Bamala, Patiala

This Sikh Soldier
of the Indian Army
Is honoured here

Grave: III K 1

 

Merville Extension Merville Communal Cemetery Extension