Metz-en-Couture is a village situated in the extreme south-eastern corner of the Department of the Pas-de-Calais. The British Extension is next to the Communal Cemetery and lies adjacent to the D29B, 2 kilometres east of the village travelling in the direction of Gouzeaucourt.
Leaving the village the cemetery is immediately after the communal cemetery. It is on a difficult left hand bend and my advice would be to park at the communal cemetery and walk the remaining few metres.
The village was captured by the 10th and 11th King's Royal Rifle Corps on the 4th and 5th April 1917, evacuated on the 23rd March 1918, and retaken by the 1st Otago Regiment on the following 6th September. It was noted for its extensive system of underground cellars. It was later adopted by the County Borough of Halifax.
The Communal Cemetery was used by the enemy for the burial of German soldiers and also of three RFC Officers, whose graves have now been removed to the British Extension. On the East side of it a German Extension was made containing the graves of 252 German soldiers and one man of the Chinese Labour Corps; the German graves have now been removed to other cemeteries and the Chinese grave to the British Extension.
The British Extension was begun in April 1917, and used until March 1918, and two graves were added in the following September. These original burials, made by Field Ambulances and fighting units, are in Plots I and II; Plots III and IV were added after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the immediate neighbourhood.
There are now nearly 500, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, almost 50 are unidentified and special memorials are erected in the cemetery recording the names of four soldiers from the United Kingdom, buried in Metz-en-Couture British Cemetery No 2, whose graves could not be found on concentration.
The cemetery covers an area of 2 212 square metres and is enclosed on three sides by a rubble wall.
Metz en Couture British Cemetery No 2 was on the west side of the village, a little South of the road to Ruyaulcourt. It contained the graves of 35 soldiers from the United Kingdom, mainly of the 58th (London) and 47th (London) Divisions, who fell in 1917 and 1918.
Corporal William Merrick 10111
1st Bn Irish Guards
Died on 30 November 1917
Captain George Tatham Paton VC
4th Bn Grenadier Guards
Died on 1 December 1917
Son of George and Etta Tatham Paton, of Wolviston House, Whyteleafe, Surrey.
For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice. When a unit on his left was driven back, thus leaving, his flank in the air and his company practically surrounded, he fearlessly exposed himself to re-adjust the line, walking up and down within fifty yards of the enemy under a withering fire. He personally removed several wounded men, and was the last to leave the village.
Later, he again re-adjusted the line, exposing himself regardless of all danger the whole time, and when the enemy four times counter-attacked he sprang each time upon the parapet, deliberately risking his life, and being eventually mortally wounded, in order to stimulate his command.
After the enemy had broken through on his left, he again mounted the parapet, and with a few men, who were inspired by his great example, forced them once more to withdraw, thereby undoubtedly saving the left flank.The Battle of Cambrai 1917