Orival Wood


Flesquières is a village approximately 5 kilometres south-west of Cambrai and about 5 kilometres south of the main road from Cambrai to Bapaume (N30). From the village of Flesquières take the Cantaing road, D92, to its junction with the D89 (opposite Flesquières Hill British Cemetery), where the first CWGC sign is situated. The Cemetery lies on the left side of this road, the D89, 800 metres from the junction.

There is a small area where you can park between the cemetery and the wood used during the autumn for the mounds of sugar beet grown in the area.

Orival Wood Cemetery

Historical Information

Flesquières was attacked by the 51st (Highland) Division, with tanks, on the 20th November 1917, in the battle of Cambrai, but held for a time by a German officer with a few men; it was captured on the 21st. It was lost in the late stages of the battle, and retaken on the 27th September 1918, by the 3rd Division.

The Bois d'Orival is a small wood on the road from Flesquières to Fontaine-Notre Dame, cleared by the 2nd Grenadier Guards on the 27th September 1918.

Orival Wood Cemetery

Mounds of sugar beet lying by the side of the cemetery

The Cemetery was begun in November 1917, during the Battle of Cambrai; used again in September-October 1918; and enlarged in 1930 by the concentration of graves from Flesquières Château Cemetery and the 51st Division Cemetery, Flesquières.

There are now nearly 300, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, ten are unidentified and others, identified collectively but not individually, are marked by headstones bearing the superscription, Buried near this spot. Special memorials record the names of two United Kingdom soldiers, buried in Flesquières Château Cemetery, whose graves could not be found. There are also 20 German burials here.

The cemetery covers an area of 794 square metres and is enclosed by a stone rubble wall.

Orival Wood Cemetery

Looking back towards Flesquières


The 51st Division Cemetery, Flesquières, was almost 1 kilometre South of Flesquières on a sunken track running to the railway line and on towards Havrincourt. It was made by the Divisional Burial Officer, and it contained the graves of 74 officers and men of the 51st (Highland) Division and the Tank Corps, who fell in the last eleven days of November 1917.

Flesquières Château Cemetery was near the Havrincourt road and just outside the Chateau grounds. It was used by fighting units from November 1917, to March 1918 ; for one burial in September 1918; and for the burial of a Chinese labourer in February 1919. It contained, in all, 135 graves.

Seaforth Highlanders

Private John Dewar 267521
6th Bn Seaforth Highlanders
Died on 20th November 1917 aged 19
Son of Mrs Robert Rae, of 35 Victoria Rd, Dundee

Private George Pratt S435157
6th Bn Seaforth Highlanders
Died on 20th November 1917 aged 30
Son of Alexander and Helen Pratt, of Edenbank, Guardbridge, Fifeshire

2nd Lieutenant Alexander Mann
6th Bn Seaforth Highlanders
Died on 20th November 1917 aged 23
Son of Dr H and Mrs Mary Mann, of Brodie Cottage, Brodie, Forres, Morayshire.
Born at Nairn

Grave: I C 3

Grave: I C 4

Grave: I C 5

Lieutenant Ewart Mackintosh MC

Lieutenant Ewart Mackintosh MC
5th Bn Seaforth Highlanders
Died on 21st November 1917 aged 24
A noted war poet, his poems A Highland Regiment and War, The Liberator were published in 1917 and 1918 respectively.

Grave: I A 26

Serjeant Edward Duffin

Serjeant Edward Duffin 12223
1st Bn Coldstream Guards
Died on 27th November 1917 aged 22
Son of Mrs Annie Dickinson, of 14 Sutton St, Hexthorpe, Doncaster.
Native of Nottingham

Roses may wither, fade and die
Some may forget you, but never shall I

Grave: II B 11


From this cemetery you can see Flesquières Hill Cemetery in the distance.

Flesquières Hill Cemetery Flesquières Hill Cemetery
The Battle of Cambrai 1917 The Battle of Cambrai 1917