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Webmatters : Guards Grave, Villers Cotterêts Forest

Guards Grave


Villers- Cotterêts is a small town 22 kilometres south-west of Soissons in the direction of Meaux. From Soissons take the N2 (signposted to Paris, Meaux, Senlis), passing after 3.5 kilometres the Military Cemetery of Vaubuin and after a further 6 kilometres a French War Memorial on the right.

DO NOT TAKE the left hand turn towards the town of Villers-Cotterêts, but continue along the N2 as the Cemetery is north of the town. Take the next right hand slip road and then turn right along the D81 towards Vivières. After a further 3 km, you will arrive at the Cemetery which is set down in a hollow next to the road to the right.

There is a parking space for a vehicle opposite the cemetery.

A kilometre further along the road is the memorial to George Cecil and an entrance into the forest and the (recreated) observation tower of Général Mangin, used by him during the commencement of the great Allied counter-offensive on 18th July 1918.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 49.282074 3.111234 Map

Guards Grave, Villers Cotterêts Forest


Historical Information

Guards Grave, Villers Cotterêts Forest

The Forêt de Retz was the scene of a rearguard action fought by the 4th (Guards) Brigade on 1st September 1914. In the aftermath of the fighting, many of the dead Guardsmen were buried by the people of Villers-Cotterêts.

The cemetery was formed by the Irish Guards when the British forces regained this territory two months later and contains 98 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 20 of which are unidentified.

Just north of the cemetery on the road to Vivières stands a memorial to the Coldstream, Grenadier and Irish Guardsmen who were killed or mortally wounded during the rearguard action. The memorial, which was unveiled in 1922, was placed there by Lady Edward Cecil, the mother of Captain George Cecil of the Coldstream Guards who fell during the fighting on 1st September and is buried in the cemetery.


The graves of four officers and one man of the Guards were moved here from Villers-Cotterêts Communal Cemetery after the Armistice.

Guards Grave, Villers Cotterêts Forest

From left to right

Second Lieutenant George Cecil
No 4 Company 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards
Died on 1st September 1914, aged 18
Son of Colonel Lord Edward Cecil (Grenadier Guards)
fourth son of the third Marquess of Salisbury
and of Violet (Lady Edward Cecil)
daughter of Admiral Frederick Maxse

Grave: II 4

Lieutenant Geoffrey Lambton
Coldstream Guards
Died on 1st September 1914, aged 26
Son of the Hon. F and Mrs Lambton
of Fenton, Wooler; husband of Dorothy Lambton

Grave: II 3

Major Charles Tisdall
Irish Guards
Died on 1st September 1914, aged 39
Husband of Mrs G Tisdall

Grave: II 2

Lieutenant Colonel The Hon George Morris
1st Bn Irish Guards
Died on 1st September 1914, aged 42
Son of Baron Morris and Killanin, of Spiddal, Co. Galway
and Anna, daughter of the Hon. G Hughes
a Baron of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland
Husband of Dora Morris, of 4 Lancaster Gate Terrace. London

Grave: II 1


Recent Additions

Brimont Churchyard

Braine Communal Cemetery

Soupir Churchyard

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