Raperie Cemetery

Location

Villemontoire is just to the west of the main N2, Château-Thierry to Soissons road, approximately 10 kilometres from Soissons. From the N2, Soissons Ring Road, take the D1 towards Chateau-Thierry, passing through the villages of Courmelleu-berz-le-Sec and Noyant-et-a-Conin. 8 kilometres from Soissons is the first CWGC direction sign. Turn right here along the D1280 towards Vierzy, then take the first left turn (1.2 kilometres) at the second CWGC sign and the Cemetery will be found on your left side after 150 metres.

Raperie Cemetery at Villemontoire

Historical Information

Villemontoire is connected entirely with the victorious advance of the 15th (Scottish) and 34th Divisions, under French leadership, in the period from the 23rd July to the 2nd August, 1918.

The cemetery was made, after the Armistice, by the concentration of graves from the battlefield and from several small burial grounds made by the Burial Officers and units of the two Divisions.

There are now over 600, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 100 are unidentified and special memorials are erected to eleven men of the Herefordshire Regiment and one of the Royal Scots who are known or believed to be buried among them.

Raperie Cemetery

The cemetery covers an area of 2,576 square metres and is enclosed by a low rubble wall forming an arc at the back.

The following were among the burial grounds from which British graves of July and August, 1918, were brought to this cemetery

Raperie Cemetery

Billy-sur-Ourcq Churchyard, which contained the graves of five soldiers.

Billy-sur-Ourcq Communal Cemetery, which contained the graves of three soldiers.

Cheshire Cemetery, Parcy-et-Tigny, which contained the graves of 16 men of the Cheshire and Herefordshire Regiments.

Hartennes Road Cemetery, Parcy-et-Tigny, containing the graves of 23 soldiers who fell on the 24th July.

Hereford Cemetery, Parcy-et-Tigny, which contained the graves of 21 soldiers of the Herefordshire Regiment and two others who fell on the 23rd July.

Raperie Quarry Cemetery, 365 metres to the East, made by the 15th Division burial officer on the 9th August, and containing the graves of 103 officers and men, almost all of whom belonged to the 9th Royal Scots and fell on the 1st and 2nd August.

 

Three Lieutenant Colonels

Raperie Cemetery

Lieutenant Colonel George A Smith DSO
4th Bn Gordon Highlanders
Died on 28 July 1918, aged 43

Son of Robert and Jessie Smith of Auchmar, Aberdeenshire.

Grave: IIIA D 10

Raperie Cemetery

Lieutenant Colonel H H Kennedy
2nd attached to 8th Bn Seaforth Highlanders
Died on 29 July 1918

Husband of H H Kennedy of Inholmes, Dorking, Surrey.

Grave: IVA D 1

Raperie Cemetery

Lieutenant Colonel J G Dooner DSO
General Staff
Died on 31 July 1918

Husband of J G Dooner of 32, South Eaton Place, London.

Grave: IVA D 10

 

Monument to the 67th French Infantry Regiment

Not far from Raperie Cemetery you will see this monument.

Memorial to the 6th RI

It was raised in honour of the French 67th Regiment d'infanterie whose 2nd Battalion took the village of Villemontoire on 25 July 1918 during the French Counter Offensive of the 2nd Battle of the Marne.

The 67th were raised in and around Soissons and were thus the local boys. Their battle honours are shown either side of the relief - including one now from 1940.

The bas relief shows the soldiers advancing towards the remnants of the village. Below is an account of how the regiment advanced against the retreating German Army for a distance of 30 kilometres capturing 716 prisoners (of whom 26 were officers) and 97 Machine Guns.

Erected in September 1938 it was subsequently destroyed by the occupying Germans in 1940. Following the Allied victory in 1945 a plaque was placed on the site prior to the replacement of the monument commenting on the folly of those who had had the temerity to try and erase history.