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Webmatters : Lapugnoy Military Cemetery

Lapugnoy Military Cemetery


Lapugnoy is a village 6 kilometres west of Béthune. From the centre of Lapugnoy, head south-west on the D70 in the direction of Marles-les-Mines. On the outskirts there is a crucifix at the side of the main road, turn right here towards Allouagne. After approximately 500 metres there is a track on the left hand side (the Cemetery is signposted here) and the Cemetery can be found on the left hand side, approximately 500 metres, along this track.

Lapugnoy Military Cemetery


Historical Information

The first burials were made in Plot I of the cemetery in September 1915, but it was most heavily used during the Battle of Arras, which began in April 1917.

The dead were brought to the cemetery from casualty clearing stations, chiefly the 18th and the 23rd at Lapugnoy and Lozinghem, but between May and August 1918 the cemetery was used by fighting units.

Lapugnoy Military Cemetery contains 1,323 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 11 from the Second World War, all dating from May 1940.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Lapugnoy Military Cemetery


Captain Algernon Dorrien-Smith

Captain Algernon Dorrien-Smith 44981
15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars
Royal Armoured Corps
Died on 20th May 1940 aged 30
Son of Arthur and Eleanor Dorrien-Smith
Husband of Rosemarie Dorrien-Smith,
of Nether Wallop, Hampshire
His brother Francis Arthur also died on service

Grave: XII A 10


Pilot Officer Lionel Dorrien-Smith of 79th Squadron RAFVR also died on the 20th May 1940 aged 21, and is commemorated on the Runnymede memorial in England.

Major Francis Dorrien-Smith of the Rifle Brigade was killed on 20th June 1944 aged 22, and is buried at Bayeux Eastern Cemetery (Grave: IX 3)

Private Charles Patchell

Private Charles Patchell 790809
47th Bn Canadian Infantry
Western Ontario Regiment
Died on 18th March 1917 aged 21
Son of William and Margaret Patchell,
of New Westminster, British Columbia

Grave: II F 11

Private Lewis West

Private Lewis West 797113
14th Bn Canadian Infantry
Royal Montreal Regiment
Died on 7th September 1917 aged 23
Son of Abram and Emmeline West,
of Kingslake, Ontario
Native of Norfolk, Ontario

Grave: VI A 3


His two brothers, Arthur and Bill who served in the same battalion were killed on the 9th April 1917.
They lie in the same grave at Nine Elms Military Cemetery, Thélus (Grave: I A 3).

Serjeant Tom Holmshaw

Serjeant Tom Holmshaw 473305
459th Field Company
Royal Engineers
Died on 16th June 1917 aged 34
Son of Eliza Holmshaw
Husband of Nellie Holmshaw,
of 315, Andrew St, Sheffield

Grave: IV D 16

Lieutenant Harold Johnson

Lieutenant Harold Johnson
3rd Squadron Royal Flying Corps
Died on 19th January 1916 aged 28
Son of William Johnson and brother of W Johnson,
of Speldhurst, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Grave: I E 9

Rifleman A Holcombe

Rifleman A Holcombe 2910
21st Bn London Regiment
First Surrey Rifles
Died on 26th September 1915 aged 17
Son of John Holcombe
of 14, J Block, Peabody Estate,
Vauxhall Bridge, London

Grave: I C 47

Private David Leslie

Private David Leslie 6862
9th Bn Black Watch
Royal Highlanders
Died on 26th September 1915 aged 17
Son of Mary Stewart
of Springbank, Lochearnhead, Balquihidder, Perthshire

Grave: I C 49

There is at least one other 17 year old
within the cemetery:

Rifleman Bert Damon 4114,
17th Bn London Regiment,
25th May 1916
Son of John and Minnie Damon,
of 13, Halliford St, Islington, London

Grave: I F 33


Shot at Dawn

Private John Taylor

Private John Taylor 8793
2nd Bn South Staffordshire Regiment
Died on 6th November 1917
Husband of Catherine Taylor,
of 16, Nile Terrace, Birmingham

Grave: VII A 11

Shot for Desertion

Taylor had already deserted twice before, and his third absence proved to be his last.

Private Arthur Dagesse

Private Arthur Dagesse 34453
22nd Bn Canadian Infantry
Québec Regiment
Died on 15th March 1918 aged 33
Husband of Hettie Dagesse, of Thorold,
Ontario. Native of Montreal

Grave: VIII B 8

Shot for Desertion

Born in Massachusetts Dagesse had joined the Canadian army as a cook and served with the 1st Canadian General Hospital. Even before reaching France he had shown a incapacity to remain at his post with a number of minor absences.

He was also required to undergo extended treatment against VD sometimes being administered to in his own hospital. However when not sick he continued to go absent. Ultimately the RCAMC seem to have decided enough was enough and Dagesse was posted to the Quebec Regiment.

He managed to keep a reasonably clean sheet but then the old habits set in again. In May 1917 he went missing as the Battalion was warned for front line duty. Arrested in October in Paris posing as a member of Medical Corps Dagesse was brought back for trial. With his long history of absence and the fact that he was now a soldier serving at the front the court took little time in handing down a death sentence.


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