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Webmatters : Louvencourt Military Cemetery, Louvencourt

Louvencourt Military Cemetery

Location

Louvencourt is a village 13 kilometres south-east of Doullens on the road to Albert (D938). The Cemetery is on the south-eastern side of the village.

Louvencourt Military Cemetery

 

Historical Information

From July 1915 to August 1916, field ambulances were established at Louvencourt, which was nearly 10 kilometres behind the front line on 1st July 1916.

Following the 1916 Somme offensive, these medical units moved further east and the cemetery was little used until the German advances of April 1918 pushed the Allied line back to its old position.

Louvencourt Military Cemetery

The graves of 1918, in rows D and E, relate to the climax of that fighting. There are now 151 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in this cemetery and 76 French war graves dating from 1915.

The cemetery also contains three graves from the Second World War.

The cemetery was one of the first three Commission sites to be built after the First World War. The other two were: Forceville Communal Cemetery Extension and Le Treport Military Cemetery. All three were designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

French graves

French graves in CWGC cemeteries are usually their standard white cross

The French graves have headstones very different from the standard white beton crosses seen elsewhere. Perhaps with this being one of the first CWGC cemeteries it was not much of a problem designing something a little more in-line with the British stones with their regimental badges. I did rather wonder why though Canonnier Maurice Solleure has a star instead of a cross.

 


Lieutenant Roland Leighton

Lieutenant Roland Leighton
1/7th Bn Worcestershire Regiment
Died on 23rd December 1915 aged 20 (Not 19)
Son of Robert and Marie Leighton. Postmaster of Merton College, Oxford

Goodnight though life
And all take flight
Never good bye

Grave: I B 20

Roland Leighton was one of the war poets and was also the fiancé of the writer Vera Brittain.

In her book Testament of Youth she talks about how she was so looking forward to seeing him for the holiday when the news came through that he had been killed.

A very interesting read as to how one woman challenged many of the prejudices held by the society at the time against women.


Brigadier General Charles Prowse

Brigadier General Charles Prowse DSO
1st Bn Somerset Light Infantry
Commander 11th Infantry Brigade
Died on 1st July 1916 aged 47
Son of Captain George and Emmeline Prowse, of Bromham, Wiltshire
Husband of Violet Prowse, of Bromham, Fleet, Hampshire

Grave: I E 9

Brigadier Prowse is also commemorated by Prowse Point Military Cemetery at Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium.


Lance Corporal R B Hinckesman

Lance Corporal R B Hinckesman 497
1st King Edward’s Horse
Died on 20th October 1918 aged 28
Son of the late T and G Hinckesman, of Tan-Y-Graig, Trinity Road, Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire

Grave: I C 22


Rifleman Thomas Hayes

Rifleman Thomas Hayes 767563
1/28th Bn London Regiment
Artists’ Rifles
Died on 16th July 1918 aged 26
Son of Joseph and Charlotte Hayes, of South Hackney, London

Grave: I E 13

 


Rifleman Frederick Barratt

Rifleman Frederick Barratt 10758
7th Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Died on 10th July 1917 aged 23
Son of Rosena Elizabeth Hull, of Fulham

Grave: I D 20

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Barratt was a regular soldier who had been fighting on the Western Front for a number of years. In March 1916 he was sentenced to three years for sleeping at his post.

These terms of imprisonment were invariably suspended to ensure that the offender was sent back to his unit rather than spending the rest of the war in comparative safety.

Following this and whilst his battalion had been further north on the Arras front Barratt absconded. He was soon retrieved and sent before a Court Martial on the 21st June 1916.

With a previous offence against him, a death sentence was almost a certainty.


Private Harry MacDonald

Private Harry MacDonald 43665
12th Bn West Yorkshire Regiment
Died on 4th November 1916 aged 34
Son of the late Robert and Margaret MacDonald, of Cumberland
Served in the South African Campaign

Grave: I D 27

Shot at Dawn for desertion

MacDonald had been a soldier off and on during his lifetime and had also served at Gallipoli. He was evacuated from that theatre of the war having contracted frostbite. Whilst recovering on sick leave his wife became pregnant before falling ill herself. MacDonald asked for an extension of his sick leave which was refused and he went absent.

MacDonald was arrested and sent back to France with the 12th West Yorkshire Regiment. During the Battle of the Somme he was buried by a shell and needed treatment for an injury. Whether he was suffering from shellshock is not certain – but he would appear to have become ill.

On the 12th September and having already reported sick again, MacDonald absented himself from the trenches at Hulluch (Near Loos, north of Arras). He managed to evade capture for a month before being picked up at Boulogne.

The fact that he was carrying a false ID was damning evidence to his subsequent trial that he had no intention of returning to duty. He was medically examined after the trial but the doctors declared that there was nothing wrong with him. His Divisional Commander promptly declared him worthless and MacDonald’s fate was sealed.

MacDonald’s circumstances were raised twice in Parliament; in 1917 and again in 1986. On each occasion a pardon was refused due to the lack of medical evidence. Modern techniques might have revealed something about MacDonald’s state of mind but it was impossible to go back in time to verify.

 


Recent Additions

Canadian Cemetery No.2

Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery

Petit Vimy British Cemetery

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