Chemin des Dames

Œuilly French Military Cemetery

Œuilly is a village situated on the D 925 between Pontavert and Vailly-sur-Aisne.

The cemetery is sign posted off the D 925 on the western outskirts of Œuilly heading towards Bourg-et-Comin.

This is a reasonable track but note that there is a sharp right hand turn up a wee slope to get to the cemetery gates.

Oeuilly French Military Cemetery

History

This cemetery was created in 1917 at the side of a casualty clearing station. It covers an area of 6613 sq metres.

The cemetery was replanted in both 1922 and 1925 and now contains 1 159 French graves.

 
The cemetery with the Chemin des Dames ridge in the background

The cemetery with the Chemin des Dames ridge in the background

 
Oeuilly French Military Cemetery

Monument to Joseph Villepelet

Within the cemetery is this small monument dedicated to the soldiers of the 163è Régiment d'Infanterie and in particular; Alfred Joseph Villepelet a soldier of the Regiment who was killed fighting in the Franconie Trench at Troyon on the 13th August 1917.

Born on 9 March 1896 he would have been in the Classe of 1916 (on reaching 20) and eligible for Military Service.

His regiment had earned the name of the Red Devils from the Germans during fighting on the Hartmannswillerkopf during the fighting on 25 March 1915.

 

There are a number of possibilities from Œuilly.

If you have been following the proposed itinerary then continue following the D 925 towards Soissons. At Soupir you will find 4 large military cemeteries as well as CWGC Graves buried in the local churchyard.

Soupir Military Cemeteries Soupir Military Cemeteries

Alternatively the D 925 in the opposite direction takes you towards Berry-au-Bac and the Autoroute.

Berry-au-Bac Tank Memorial Berry-au-Bac Tank Memorial

There are three other possibilities from here as well, depending on what you have already done and the time available.

You can continue towards Bourg-et-Comin where you turn right onto the D 967 for Cerny and the British Cemetery at Vendresse.

Vendresse British Cemetery Vendresse British Cemetery

If travelling towards Berry-au-Bac turn left at Beaurieux for Craonnelle.

Craonnelle Craonnelle

Thirdly take the back roads via Pargnan towards Oulches-la-Vallée for some excellent views of the ridge and valleys from under the Caverne du Dragon.

Caverne du Dragon Caverne du Dragon