Pozières is a village some 6 kilometres north-east of Albert, and the Cemetery, which is enclosed by the Pozières Memorial, is a little south-west of the village on the north side of the main road, D 929, from Albert to Pozières.

Pozières Memorial

Historical Information

The village of Pozières 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.

Pozières British Cemetery Pozières British Cemetery

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.


VC Winners

There are three winners of the Victoria Cross recorded on the Memorial. All were obtained at the opening of the German Spring Offensive in 1918.

As you will see with the passing of time some of the inscriptions have become barely legible.

Wilfrith Elstob VC

Lt Colonel Wilfrith Elstob VC
16th Bn Manchester Regiment
Died on 21st March 1918 aged 29
Son of the Rev Canon J Elstob and Frances Elstob, of Fanshawe, Chelford, Cheshire

The London Gazette dated 6th June 1919 records the following:

For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice during operations at Manchester Redoubt, near St. Quentin, on the 21st March, 1918. During the preliminary bombardment he encouraged his men in the posts in the Redoubt by frequent visits, and when repeated attacks developed controlled the defence at the points threatened, giving personal support with revolver, rifle and bombs. Single-handed he repulsed one bombing assault driving back the enemy and inflicting severe casualties. Later, when ammunition was required, he made several journeys under severe fire in order to replenish the supply. Throughout the day Lieutenant-Colonel Elstob, although twice wounded, showed the most fearless disregard of his own safety, and by his encouragement and noble example inspired his command to the fullest degree.

The Manchester Redoubt was surrounded in the first wave of the enemy attack, but by means of the buried cable Lieutenant-Colonel Elstob was able to assure his Brigade Commander that: The Manchester Regiment will defend Manchester Hill to the last.

Sometime after this post was overcome by vastly superior forces, and this very gallant officer was killed in the final assault, having maintained to the end the duty which he had impressed on his men - namely: Here we fight, and here we die. He set throughout the highest example of valour, determination, endurance and fine soldierly bearing.

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Edmund de Wind VC

2nd Lieutenant Edmund de Wind VC
15th Bn Royal Irish Rifles
Died on 21st March 1918 aged 34
Son of the late Arthur De Wind, CE and Margaret De Wind, of Kinvara, Comber, Co. Down

The London Gazette dated 13th May 1919 records the following:

For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice on the 21st March, 1918, at the Race Course Redoubt, near Grugies. For seven hours he held this most important post, and though twice wounded and practically single-handed, he maintained his position until another section could be got to his help

On two occasions, with two N.C.O.'s only, he got out on top under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and cleared the enemy out of the trench, killing many. He continued to repel attack after attack until he was mortally wounded and collapsed. His valour, self-sacrifice and example were of the highest order.

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Herbert Columbine VC

Private Herbert Columbine 50720 VC
9th Bn Machine Gun Corps
Died on 22nd March 1918 aged 24
Son of Mrs. Emma Columbine

The London Gazette dated 30th April 1918, records the following:

For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice displayed, when, owing to casualties, Private Columbine took over command of a gun and kept it firing from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. in an isolated position with no wire in front. During this time wave after wave of the enemy failed to get up to him. Owing to his being attacked by a low-flying aeroplane the enemy at last gained a strong footing in the trench on either side. The position being untenable he ordered the two remaining men to get away, and, though being bombed from either side, kept his gun firing and inflicting tremendous losses.

He was eventually killed by a bomb which blew up him and his gun. He showed throughout the highest valour, determination and self-sacrifice.

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