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Courcelette British Cemetery


Courcelette is a village some 10 kilometres north-east of the town of Albert, just off the D929 road to Bapaume.

The Cemetery, signposted in the village, is approximately 1 kilometre west of the village on the south side of a track (suitable for cars) from the secondary road from Courcelette to Pozières.

Decimal50.055712.73510 Map
Courcelette British Cemetery

Historical Information

The commune and the village of Courcelette were the scene of very heavy fighting in September 1916. On the 15th, the village was included in the extreme left of the Allied attack and was taken by the 2nd Canadian Division supported by tanks, with the 4th and 6th Brigades storming the outer trenches and the sugar factory, and the 5th Brigade seizing the village.

Courcelette British Cemetery

It was destroyed by German artillery after its capture and remained very close to the front line until the German retreat in the following spring.

The cemetery was begun in November 1916 (as Mouquet Road or Sunken Road Cemetery), and used until March 1917. The original 74 burials are now parts of Plot I, Rows A to F. On 25th March 1918, Courcelette passed into German hands, but was retaken on 24 August. The cemetery was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when almost 2,000 graves were brought in, mostly those of men who died around Courcelette and Pozières in 1916.

The only considerable burial grounds concentrated into this cemetery were the following:-.

  • Mouquet Farm Cemetery, Grandcourt, immediately North of the Farm, begun by the 111th Brigade, R.F.A., in October 1916, which contained the graves of 36 soldiers. The Farm was captured by the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles on the night of the 16th-17th September, 1916, and again by the 17th Division on the 24th August, 1918.
  • Red Château Cemetery, Courcelette, within the village, contained the graves of 15 soldiers from Canada and two from the United Kingdom. It was “at the entrance to a ruined dug-out,” and it was used in October-December, 1916
Courcelette British Cemetery

There are now 1,970 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 1,180 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to nine casualties five believed to be buried among them.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

Private George Ritchie

Private George Ritchie 478681
Royal Canadian Regiment
Died on 16th June 1916 aged 16
Son of John and Elizabeth Ritchie
Enlisted April, 1915 [aged 15]

Grave: II A 20

Private Milo Beaton

Private Milo Beaton 1512
4th Bn Australian Pioneers
Died on 2nd September 1916 aged 23
Son of James and Lily Beaton
of Swan Reach, Victoria, Australia
Native of Bairnsdale, Victoria

We try to see
And dimly understand
Mother and sister Enid

Grave: III C 30

Private David Jones

Private David Jones 460173
15th Bn Canadian Infantry
48th Highlanders of Canada
Died on 26th September 1916 aged 26

Grave: I B 23

Private John Robertson

Private John Robertson 153533
43rd Bn Canadian Infantry
Manitoba Regiment
Died on 5th October 1916 aged 17
Son of Peter and Jane Robertson
of Old Meldrum, Aberdeen, Scotland

Grave: I G 6

Other cemeteries in the area