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Webmatters : Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval
Rough Map of Area

Caterpillar Valley Cemetery

Location

Longueval is a village approximately 13 kilometres east of Albert and 10 kilometres south of Bapaume. Caterpillar Valley Cemetery lies a short distance west of Longueval on the south side of the road to Contalmaison.

Caterpillar Valley Cemetery

 

Historical Information

Caterpillar Valley was the name given by the army to the long valley which rises eastwards, past Caterpillar Wood, to the high ground at Guillemont. The ground was captured, after very fierce fighting, in the latter part of July 1916.

It was lost in the German advance of March 1918 and recovered by the 38th (Welsh) Division on 28th August 1918, when a little cemetery was made (now Plot 1 of this cemetery) containing 25 graves of the 38th Division and the 6th Dragoon Guards.

Caterpillar Valley Cemetery

High Wood in the distance

After the Armistice, this cemetery was hugely increased when the graves of more than 5,500 officers and men were brought in from other small cemeteries, and the battlefields of the Somme. The great majority of these soldiers died in the autumn of 1916 and almost all the rest in August or September 1918.

Caterpillar Valley Cemetery now contains 5 569 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War.

3,796 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 32 casualties known or believed to be buried among them, and to three buried in McCormick’s Post Cemetery whose graves were destroyed by shell fire.

Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial

On the east side of the cemetery is the Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial — see below
Both cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

 


New Zealand's Unknown Soldier

New Zealand’s Unknown Soldier

On the 6th November 2004, the remains of an unidentified New Zealand soldier were removed from this cemetery and entrusted to New Zealand at a ceremony held at the Longueval Memorial.

The remains had been exhumed by staff of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission from Plot IV, Row A, Grave 27

In a subsequent ceremony they were laid to rest within the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, at the National War Memorial, Wellington, New Zealand.

Grave: XIV A 27


Private Harry Perks

Private Harry Perks 1815
6th Bn The Black Watch Royal Highlanders
Died on 30th July 1916 aged 24
Son of Annie Perks
Brother of Mrs Frances Bruford,
of Laundry Cottage, Mickleham Downs, Dorking

Grave: XIV F 10

Born on 11th September 1891 at Rattray, Perthshire. Had been a member of the Pitlochry Territorials before being called up.


Corporal John Donaldson

Corporal John Donaldson 1816
6th Bn The Black Watch Royal Highlanders
Died on 30th July 1916 aged 26
Son of Helen Stewart
Brother of Margaret Donaldson,
of Rosebank Place, New Rattray, Blairgowrie

Grave: IV J 7

Born on 10th March 1890 in Aberdeen. Had been a painter before enlisting in 1914.

Judging by their consecutive numbers in the same battalion these two men appear to have joined at the same time

 

Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial

On the hillside surrounded by trees (Since removed) is the New Zealand Longueval Memorial

 

Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial


Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial

On the east side of the cemetery is the Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, commemorating more than 1 200 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the Battles of the Somme in 1916, and whose graves are not known.

This is one of seven memorials in France and Belgium to those New Zealand soldiers who died on the Western Front and whose graves are not known. The memorials are all in cemeteries chosen as appropriate to the fighting in which the men died.


Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial

I have photos of all the panels, but some have become sadly faded with time.

This section is one of the clearer panels.

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Canadian Cemetery No.2

Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery

Petit Vimy British Cemetery

CWGC Poppy Button