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Webmatters : Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt

Regina Trench Cemetery


Although Regina Trench Cemetery is in the commune of Grandcourt, it is not possible to gain access to the cemetery from Grandcourt.

Visitors should approach the cemetery from the direction of Courcelette, which is a village about 8 kilometres north-east of Albert (next to the main road D929 Albert-Bapaume).

The cemetery lies about 1.5 kilometres north-west of the village of Courcelette (signposted in the centre of Courcelette) and will be found 1.5 kilometres down a single track lane (not suitable for cars).

Decimal50.06602.7300 Map
Regina Trench Cemetery

Historical Information

On 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, Grandcourt village was reached by part of the 36th (Ulster) Division, but it was not until the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, early in February 1917, that it was occupied by patrols of the Howe Battalion, Royal Naval Division. To the south-east of it is Courcelette, taken by the 2nd Canadian Division on 15th September 1916.

Regina Trench was a German earthwork, captured for a time by the 5th Canadian Brigade on 1st October 1916, attacked again by the 1st and 3rd Canadian Divisions on 8th October, taken in part by the 18th and 4th Canadian Divisions on 21 October, and finally cleared by the 4th Canadian Division on 11th November 1916.

The original part of the cemetery (now Plot II, Rows A to D) was made in the winter of 1916-1917. The cemetery was completed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields of Courcelette, Grandcourt and Miraumont; most date from October 1916 to February 1917.

Two considerable groups of scattered graves, classed as cemeteries, were concentrated in to Regina Trench Cemetery:-

  • Courcelette Road Cemetery, Miraumont, was on the West side of West Miraumont Road, between Courcelette and Miraumont, and in it were buried soldiers from Canada and from the United Kingdom, who fell in September-November 1916.
  • Miraumont British Cemetery, on the East side of the same road, contained the graves of soldiers from Canada and from the United Kingdom, who fell in September-December 1916.

Regina Trench Cemetery now contains 2,279 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 1,077 of the burials are unidentified, but there are special memorials to 14 casualties believed to be buried among them. One American airman is also buried in the cemetery.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

Regina Trench Cemetery
Lieutenant Ervin Shaw

Lieutenant Ervin Shaw
Signal Reserve Corps USA
Attached 48th Squadron Royal Air Force
Died on 9th July 1918 aged 24

Grave: IX A 10

Lt E Shaw was flying Bristol F2B B1113, with Sgt Thomas Smith (below) as his observer, when they were shot down during a combat with three Pfalz scouts. They were on a reconnaissance mission which had left Bertangles aerodrome at 1800 hours. Subsequently Leutnant Otto Könnecke of Jasta 5 claimed a Sopwith over Albert; it was the 22nd of his eventual 35 victories.

48th Squadron had been the first to be equipped with the new Bristol aircraft which proved highly successful throughout the remainder of the war.

Ervin Shaw was a native of Sumter County in South Carolina and the Shaw Air Force Base, named in his honour, there ranks as one of the oldest installations in the United States Air Force. Construction began at Shaw Field on 27th June 1941. Lt Col Burton Covey Jr. became the first base commander on 30th August 1941.

Today, Shaw Air Force Base is the home of 9th Air Force Headquarters and the 20th Fighter Wing and is the largest combat F-16 fighting wing.

Serjeant Tom Walter

Serjeant Tom Walter 100436
48th Squadron Royal Air Force
Died on 9th July 1918 aged 18
Son of Walter and Elsie Smith
of 204, Shobnall Rd, Burton-on-Trent

Grave: IX A 9

See the details for Lt Shaw above.

Lance Corporal David Porterfield

Lance Corporal David Porterfield 25708
9th Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Died on 1st July 1916 aged 17
Son of John and Isabella Porterfield
of Lifford Common, Lifford, Co. Donegal

Grave: VII H 26

Bugler Harold Frazer

Bugler Harold Frazer 410097
38th Bn Canadian Infantry
Died on 18th November 1916 aged 17
Son of William and Clara Frazer
of 423, Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa

Grave: I C 8

Sewell and Skellham

Private Spencer Sewell 437165
15th Bn Canadian Infantry
48th Highlanders of Canada
Died on 26th September 1916 aged 21
Son of Spencer and Alice Sewell
of 11012, 122nd St., Edmonton, Alberta

Grave: II D 4

Private Walter Skellham 23562
8th Bn Norfolk Regiment
Died on 5th February 1917

Grave: II D 5

To great-uncle Walter.
Your brother Ernest never forgot you.

Private James Vacher

Private James Vacher 464167
15th Bn Canadian Infantry
48th Highlanders of Canada
Died on 26th September 1916 aged 19
Son of Mrs Ham
of Clayburn, British Columbia

Grave: III E 6

Other cemeteries in the area