Contalmaison is a village about 6 kilometres north-east of the town of Albert and south of the main road from Albert to Bapaume. The Cemetery is on the northern side of the village.
The village was reached on the 1st July, 1916, by small parties of the 34th Division. It was stormed by the 23rd Division on the 7th July, and some men of the Northumberland Fusiliers taken four days earlier were released; but it was lost the same afternoon. It was not finally captured until the 8th and 9th Yorkshire Regiment cleared it on the 10th. However, it was lost again in March, 1918, and recaptured by the 38th (Welsh) Division on the evening of the following 24th August. The underground fortifications made by the enemy before 1916 played an important part in the defence of the village.
The cemetery was begun by fighting units on the evening of the 14th July, 1916, and used from September, 1916 to March, 1917 by Field Ambulances. A few burials were made in Plot I, Rows B and C, in August and September, 1918. Graves were added after the Armistice by concentrations from the battlefields of the Somme and the Ancre. 18 German graves and one French were removed to other burial grounds.
There are now nearly 300, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 40 are unidentified and a special memorial is erected to one soldier from Australia known to be buried among them.
The cemetery covers an area of 1,349 square metres and is enclosed by a flint and rubble wall.
12067 Private William Short VC
8th Bn Yorkshire Regiment
Died on 7th August 1916 aged 31
Son of James and Anne Short
of 35, Vaughan St, Grangetown, Yorks
Born at Eston, Yorks
Grave: II B 16
The London Gazette 29740
8th September 1916
For most conspicuous bravery. He was foremost in the attack, bombing the enemy with great gallantry, when he was severely wounded in the foot. He was urged to go back, but refused and continued to throw bombs. Later his leg was shattered by a shell, and he was unable to stand, so he lay in the trench adjusting detonators and straightening the pins of bombs for his comrades.
He died before he could be carried out of the trench. For the last eleven months he had always volunteered for dangerous enterprises, and has always set a magnificent example of bravery and devotion to duty.
Lance Corporal Frederick Burges 5297
20th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 1st March 1917 aged 24
Son of Frederick and Edith Burges
of 12, Churchfields, Salisbury, England
Native of Boyton, Wilts, England
Grave: I E 17
Private Michael Curtis 1686
45th Field Ambulance
Royal Army Medical Corps
Died on 23rd December 1916 aged 19
Son of Mr J Curtis
of 59, The Crescent, Moira, Burton-on-Trent
Grave: II A 1