American Cemetery

The Somme Cemetery

The World War I Somme American Cemetery is located a kilometre southwest of the village of Bony.

Taking the main N44 road out of Cambrai towards Le Catelet and St. Quentin you pass through Masniļæ½res, where the Newfoundland Regiment have one of their five Caribou memorials, and where Canadians played a major part in the battle for Cambrai in 1917.

The American Somme Cemetery

Just past the villages of Gouy and Le Catelet, you will see a sign for the American Cemetery at Bony. A further reference point is the Bellicourt Monument which is another kilometre further on down towards St Quentin.

The American Memorial at Bellicourt The American Memorial at Bellicourt Seven unknown solders

The cemetery covers an area of 14 acres and contains the graves of 1,844 American Servicemen.

At the entrance to the cemetery is a small chapel with a bronze door, surmounted by an American eagle. The walls commemorate the 333 Americans whose remains were never recovered or identified.

The cemetery is open daily to the public from 09:00 hours to 17:00 hours except on 25th December and 1st January.

It is open on French national holidays.

When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the Visitors' Building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites.

 

Medal of Honour Winners

Amongst the graves you will find three Medal of Honor winners.

All three died fighting in the last couple of months of the war, Robert Blackwell of the 119th Infantry being killed on 11 October 1918.

Private Robert L Blackwell

Private Robert L Blackwell, Company K, 119th Infantry, 30th Division. Died near St. Souplet on 11 October 1918.

Grave: Plot D Row 20 Grave 02

When his platoon was almost surrounded by the enemy and his platoon commander asked for volunteers to carry a message calling for reinforcements, Pvt. Blackwell volunteered for this mission, well knowing the extreme danger connected with it. In attempting to get through the heavy shell and machinegun fire this gallant soldier was killed.

Corporal Thomas E O'Shea

Corporal Thomas E O'Shea, Machine Gun Company, 107th Infantry, 27th Division. Died near Le Catelet on 29 September 1918.

Grave: Plot B Row 6 Grave 14

Becoming separated from their platoon by a smoke barrage, Cpl. O'Shea, with 2 other soldiers [Sgt. Alan Eggers and Sgt. John Latham], took cover in a shell hole well within the enemy's lines. Upon hearing a call for help from an American tank, which had become disabled 30 yards from them, the 3 soldiers left their shelter and started toward the tank under heavy fire from German machineguns and trench mortars. In crossing the fire-swept area Cpl. O'Shea was mortally wounded and died of his wounds shortly afterwards.

First Lieutenant William B Turner

First Lieutenant William B Turner, 105th Infantry, 27th Division. Died near Ronssoy, on 27 September 1918.

Grave: Plot B Row 13 Grave 01

He led a small group of men to the attack, under terrific artillery and machinegun fire, after they had become separated from the rest of the company in the darkness. Single-handed he rushed an enemy machinegun which had suddenly opened fire on his group and killed the crew with his pistol. He then pressed forward to another machinegun post 25 yards away and had killed 1 gunner himself by the time the remainder of his detachment arrived and put the gun out of action. With the utmost bravery he continued to lead his men over 3 lines of hostile trenches, cleaning up each one as they advanced, regardless of the fact that he had been wounded 3 times, and killed several of the enemy in hand-to-hand encounters. After his pistol ammunition was exhausted, this gallant officer seized the rifle of a dead soldier, bayoneted several members of a machinegun crew, and shot the other. Upon reaching the fourth-line trench, which was his objective, 1st Lt. Turner captured it with the 9 men remaining in his group and resisted a hostile counterattack until he was finally surrounded and killed.

 
Lieutenant T R Hostetter

Rather strangely there is a single British Burial in this cemetery. You will find it up on the left near the flag pole.

Lieutenant T R Hostetter, 3rd Sqdn, Royal Air Force who died on Friday 27 September 1918.

Grave: Plot A Row 34 Grave 04