Orchard Dump
Webmatters : Visiting the Chemin des Dames: Cerny-en-Laonnois, the cemeteries
Rough Map of Area

Chemin des Dames 1917

The French Cemetery

Decimal49.442963.66764 Map
Cerny en Laonnois French Military Cemetery

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.

Cerny en Laonnois French Military Cemetery

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.

Cerny en Laonnois French Military Cemetery

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

Sergent Pierre André
156e RI
Born 7th September 1896: Versailles (78)
Died on 16th April 1917 aged 20
Caporal André Lador
156e RI
Born 20th November 1896: Montargis (45)
Died on 16th April 1917 aged 20
Grave: 846
Grave: 845

Cerny-en-Laonnois 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.

Cerny-en-Laonnois Soldatenfriedhof

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.

Cerny-en-Laonnois Soldatenfriedhof

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.

Cerny-en-Laonnois Soldatenfriedhof

Musketier Alfred Steinhardt, 14th 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.

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