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Webmatters : Hersin Communal Cemetery Extension

Hersin Communal Cemetery Extension


Hersin is a village about 5 kilometres south of Béthune and about 2 kilometres west of the main road from Béthune to Arras. The Communal Cemetery and Extension lie to the north-east of the village.

From Arras take the A21 towards Calais. Stay on the road which will become the D301 as it intersects with the A1. Leave at Hersin-Coupigny following the road around to the left and traffic lights. Turn right onto the D65 until a set of traffic lights at a crossroads. Turn right towards Sains-en-Gohelle (You may also glimpse the green CWGC sign). At the next traffic lights turn sharp left following the CWGC sign and that for the French Military Cemetery (also in the town cemetery).

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.449655 2.654475 Map

Hersin Communal cemetery Extension


Historical Information

The extension to Hersin Communal Cemetery was begun by French troops, who made over 100 burials, and was taken over by Commonwealth troops and field ambulances in March 1916. It was used until October 1918.

Hersin French Military Plot

The French Military Plot at the entrance to the Communal Cemetery

The extension contains 224 Commonwealth burials of the First World War; many of the graves are of engineers, mostly from tunnelling companies. All but seven of the French graves have been removed.

The extension was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Hersin Communal cemetery Extension


Australian Tunnellers

Sapper William Moore

A large number of the burials here are from the 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company. On 27th November 1916 whilst working out of the Black Watch shaft on Hill 70 (Loos en Gohelle) twenty men were killed when German miners detonated a camouflet at 0040 hours in close proximity to the Australian gallery.

The grave at : I C 21 is registered as being :

Fragments of the following men are buried in the same grave as Sapper Moore :

  • 1364 Sergeant M Kerby DCM
  • 4421 Sapper H McClean
  • 1273 Sapper M Lyons
  • 4456 Sapper J Reid
  • 1313 Sapper P Christiansen
  • 943 Sapper W Batson
  • 1071 Sapper A Ladd
  • 5014 Sapper T Prosser

Sergeant Allen was killed, according to their War Diary, in a second explosion at 0800 hours on the 28th November, however his grave is also marked as the 27th.


Lieutenant Evan Ryrie

Lieutenant Evan Ryrie
15th Bn Canadian Infantry
48th Highlanders of Canada
Died on 19th July 1917 aged 23
Son of Harry and Christine Ryrie
of 1, Highlands Avenue, Toronto, Ontario

Grave: I A 4

Private James Hodges

Private James Hodges 39038
9th Bn Leicestershire Regiment
Died on 22nd November 1917 aged 35
Husband of M. E. Hodges
of 71, Rowan St., Newfound Pool, Leicester

Grave: I A 9

One of the best
From wife and six children

Sapper Charles Abbott

Sapper Charles Abbott 4261
3rd Australian Tunnellers
Died on 26th May 1917
Son of Margaret and the late James Abbott
Native of Maryborough, Victoria, Australia

Grave: I E 21

Sous Lieutenant Henri Grossemy

Sous Lieutenant Henri Grossemy
154e Régiment d’Infanterie
Died on 12th October 1916 aged 28
Killed at Rancourt (Somme)

Grave: Left of entrance


Shot at Dawn

Private A briggs

Private Arthur Briggs 21801
9th Bn Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
Died on 19th July 1918 aged 27
Son of Harriet Briggs
of 7, Railway View, Locksford Lane, Brimington, Chesterfield

Grave: III E 2

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Arthur Briggs had joined the army in 1915 and served at Gallipoli where he had fallen sick with dysentery. Returned to England to recover he got his eighteen-year-old girlfriend pregnant. Having been sent back to France he had to wait until January 1918 for a period of leave in which to return and marry the girl with whom he moved to Edinburgh.

A few months later he received a letter from his mother stating that his father had died in May and his twenty-year-old brother Sam had been killed in France, but before he could act he was arrested and brought back to France to face trial.

Perhaps given what the British Army had just been through in the previous six months, during the great German Spring Offensive, it is not surprising that no recommendation for mercy was put forward.

His brother : Private Sam Briggs, 2/5th Sherwood Foresters was killed on 21st March 1918 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

A second brother : Private Fred Briggs (25 years), 8th Bn Leicetershire Regiment was killed on 1st September 1918 and is buried at Bancourt British Cemetery (Grave : II E 5).

Private J Skone

Private James Skone 36224
2nd Bn Welsh Regiment
Died on 10th May 1918 aged 39
Son of Mrs. Mary Skone
of 13, Thomas St., Orange Gardens, Pembroke

Grave: III B 1

Shot at Dawn for murder

Skone shot dead Lance Sergeant Edwin Williams on 13th April 1918 at Gorre (Near Béthune). Skone had been arrested in the trenches for a brief absence and responded by killing the arresting soldier.

Williams is buried in Beuvry Communal Cemetery Extension (Grave : III B 3).


Other cemeteries in the area

Recent Additions

Brimont Churchyard

Braine Communal Cemetery

Soupir Churchyard

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