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Webmatters : Villers Hill British Cemetery, Villers-Guislain
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Villers Hill British Cemetery

Location

Villers-Guislain is a village sixteen kilometres south-south-west of Cambrai and four kilometres east of Gouzeaucourt, which is a large village on the main road from Cambrai to Péronne. Villers Hill British Cemetery is one kilometre south-east of the village.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.032762 3.162024 Map

Villers Hill British Cemetery

 

Historical Information

Villers-Guislain was occupied by Commonwealth forces from April 1917 until the German counter attacks (in the Battle of Cambrai) at the end of November 1917. It was lost on 30th November and retained by the Germans on 1st December in spite of the fierce attacks of the Guards Division and tanks.

The village was finally abandoned by the Germans on 30th September 1918, after heavy fighting.

Villers Hill British Cemetery was begun (as the Middlesex Cemetery, Gloucester Road) by the 33rd Division Burial Officer on 3rd October 1918, and used until the middle of October.

The original cemetery (now Plot I) contained 100 graves, of which 50 belonged to the 1st Middlesex and 35 to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Plot II and VII were added after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields and from the following German cemeteries :

  • Gonnelieu Communal Cemetery German Extension, in which eight soldiers from the United Kingdom, who fell on the 6th May 1917, were buried by their comrades. This extension was enlarged after the Armistice to contain 400 German graves. The Communal Cemetery contains one British grave which is permanently marked, and seven others now represented by special memorials at Villers Hill.
  • Honnecourt German Cemetery, which was near the road from Honnecourt to Gonnelieu, and contained 20 German and three British graves.
  • Villers-Guislain German Cemetery, which was on the south side of “Cemetery Road” (leading to Gouzeaucourt), and nearly opposite the Communal Cemetery. One British officer was buried here in April 1917 and 21 British soldiers in September and October 1918. The 600 German graves (some of which were brought in after the Armistice) were removed in 1922.

Villers Hill British Cemetery

The great majority of the graves in this cemetery are those of officers and men who died in April 1917, November-December 1917, March 1918 and September 1918.

The cemetery now contains 732 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 350 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to seven casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials commemorate casualties buried in Gonnelieu Communal Cemetery and Honnecourt German Cemetery whose grave could not be found. The cemetery also contains 13 German burials.

The cemetery was designed by Charles Holden.

 

Villers Hill looking towards Targelle Ravine

Looking towards Targelle Ravine Cemetery and Pigeon Ravine Cemetery
NB The latter cannot be reached from here but Meath Cemetery (off to the right of Targelle Ravine) can be.

 


Private Charles Husband

Private Charles Husband 550307
Lord Strathcona’s Horse
Died on 1st December 1917 aged 29
Son of Alfred E. Husband
of Milk River, Jamaica,
British West Indies

Grave: II A 21


Lieutenant Royden Okey

Lieutenant Royden Okey 10/761 MC
1st Bn Wellington Regiment NZEF
Died on 30th September 1918 aged 25
Son of Frederick and Elizabeth Okey
of Vogeltown, New Plymouth
Also served on Gallipoli

Grave: II A 10

You will note that even the officers in the NZEF had Regimental numbers.


Private Herbert Cumpstey

Private Herbert Cumpstey 11010
2nd Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
Died on 24th September 1918

Grave: I A 5


Private Thomas Jones

Private Thomas Jones 293169
1st Bn Middlesex regiment
Died on 29th September 1918

Grave: I A 14

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Brimont Churchyard

Braine Communal Cemetery

Soupir Churchyard

CWGC Poppy Button