Chemin des Dames

The French Cemetery

The French Military Cemetery at Cerny en Laonnois

Immediately to the left of the Memorial Chapel is this vast French Military Cemetery.

Created between 1919 and 1925 the cemetery was completely restored in 1972. It contains the graves of 5 150 French Soldiers and 54 Russians (The Russian Brigade fought here) in an area of 13 515 sq metres.

Here lie 2 386 soldiers - almost all unknown

Only 2 764 of the French soldiers have individual graves, the remainder are in a huge collective grave of 2 386 soldiers.

The cemetery is a concentration cemetery (as are most of the various nations' military cemeteries: the CWGC being the exception) bringing in soldiers from the general area of Cerny including those killed on the Vauclerc Plateau and Vendresse.

Two soldiers from the 156e RI

Two soldiers from the 156e RI who died on the first day.

Sergent Pierre André
156e RI
Born 7 September 1896: Versailles (78)
Died on 16 April 1917 aged 20
Grave: 846

Caporal André Lador
156e RI
Born 20 November 1896: Montargis (45)
Died on 16 April 1917 aged 20
Grave: 845


The German Soldatenfriedhof

Passing through the French Cemetery the German Military Cemetery was created by the French authorities in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles.

The German Cemetery at Cerny

Soldiers graves from the area were concentrated into this cemetery which originally contained 5 125 graves.

It was further enlarged in 1924 and 1925 by bringing in more graves from the local area and now contains 7 526 graves.

Here lie 3 993 soldiers

Of these, 3 533 have individual graves (46 unknown) whilst to the rear a large collective grave contains the remains of 3 993 soldiers almost all of whom could not be identified.

The first works carried out by the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge were completed in 1928 and in 1972 the old wooden crosses were replaced by those of stone.

The German Cemetery at Cerny

Musketier Alfred Steinhardt, 14 September 1914, Grave 1/746

Amongst the crosses you will also see twelve Jewish headstones - something that you will not find in the Second World War cemetery at Malmaison.

Those buried here date for the most part from the battles of 1914/15 and 1917/18.

In the immediate area.

The Memorial Chapel The Memorial Chapel
Cerny and the French Cerny and the French
Cerny and the British Cerny and the British

Continuing along the Chemin des Dames towards the Caverne du Dragon you will see a small monument on your left.

The 2nd Colonial Corps The 2nd Colonial Corps