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Webmatters : St Pol sur Ternoise Communal Cemetery Extension

St Pol Communal Cemetery

Location

The town of St Pol is about 29 kilometres south-west of Béthune and 34 kilometres west-north-west of Arras. The Communal Cemetery Extension is situated on high ground next to the old Communal Cemetery and is reached by a steep road, Rue de Cimetière, on the north side of the old road to Arras (D 85E).

Coming in from the by-pass pass through the town centre with the Town Hall and church on your right. A litte further along take the road to your right: Route d’Arras. The next on your left is the Rue de Cimetière. Continue around the top of the cemetery (left at the fork will take you to the War Cemetery) the British and French Military Plots will be seen on you right.

St Pol Communal Cemetery Extension

 

Historical Information

St. Pol-sur-Ternoise was an administrative centre during the whole of the war, taken over by British troops from the French in March 1916; and No.12 Stationary Hospital was posted on the race-course near the town from the 1st June 1916, to 1st June 1919.

The Extension was made alongside the Cimetière Thuillier (which is more than 500 years old) by the French Tenth Army, and in March 1916-April 1918, the British Plot was added in the South-West quarter.

There are now over 200, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site.

The British Plot covers an area of 1,111 square metres.

St Pol became Headquarters of the British Forces after the war and it was in the town that Britain’s unknown soldier was chosen. A CWGC styled headstone opposite the Gare SNCF (railway station) commemorates this event.

St Pol Communal Cemetery Extension

The Commonwealth Plot is set within the French Military Cemetery

 


Private Adam Laidlaw

Private Adam Laidlaw 8225
2nd Bn King’s Own Scottish Borderers
Died on 30th November 1917 aged 50
Son of Adam and Mary Laidlaw,
of Edinburgh
Husband of Mary Laidlaw
Served in the Chitral Expedition (1895)
and in the South African War

Grave: H4


Private C Smith

Private C Smith 1051
7th Bn Army Cyclist Corps
Died on 14th February 1917 aged 24
Son of Charles and T Smith,
of Hoxton, London

Grave: D 20


Captain Guy Teale

Captain Guy Teale
No 20 Squadron Royal Flying Corps
Died on 20th July 1916 aged 19
Son of Mr. H and Mrs. M Teale,
of 37, De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London

Grave: C 23

 

Shot at Dawn

The King's Crater Executions

The King’s Crater Executions: 18th January 1917
Three NCOs from the 19th Bn Durham Light Infantry

L/Corporal John McDonald
19/420, Aged 28
Son of Malcolm and
Joanina McDonald, of Sunderland
Husband of Hannah McDonald,
of 29, Hartley’s Buildings, Millfield,
Sunderland
L/Corporal Peter Goggins
19/158
Husband of Mrs. M Goggins,
of 58, South St., South Moor,
Stanley, Co. Durham
L/Serjeant Joseph Stones
19/647
Husband of Elizabeth Stones,
of 85, Wheatbottom, Crook,
Co. Durham
Grave: D 3 Grave: D 2 Grave: D 1

In the early hours of the 26th November 1916 the 19th Bn Durham Light Infantry sent out a patrol along the edge of feature known as King’s Crater. The party was commanded by Lieutenant James Mundy and he was accompanied by L/Sgt Joseph Stones.

They were intercepted by a German raiding party and Mundy was wounded. Stones later stated that his rifle wasn’t working so he jammed it across the trench as he ran off to get help. It would seem that Stones’ nerve had gone and he was assisted by a private to the rear where the alarm was given. The pair however were arrested by police who noted that they were not carrying their weapons.

Panic would appear to have spread at the front because a further party of six soldiers also broke and retired to the rear. All of them were subsequently arrested.

The battalion sent out a party to put the Germans back out of the lines but by then the raiders had already departed.

Stones was subsequently tried for having shamefully cast away his arms whilst the party of six were charged with quitting their post. All of them were sentenced to death but the four privates had their sentences commuted to 15 years by Field Marshal Haig.

The three NCOs were shot together at a farm at Roëllecourt (a few kilometres away along the railway line) on the 18th January 1917.

James Mundy was rescued by another soldier but died of his wounds. He is buried in the Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery in Arras. Grave: I J 29

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Canadian Cemetery No.2

Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery

Petit Vimy British Cemetery

CWGC Poppy Button