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Webmatters : Forceville Communal Cemetery and Extension

Forceville Communal Cemetery


Forceville is a village some 10 kilometres north-west of Albert on the road to Doullens. The Communal Cemetery and Extension lie to the west of the village of Forceville, 20 kilometres from Doullens and 10 kilometres from Albert, on the D938, the main road between these two places.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.062429 2.552283 Map

Forceville Communal Cemetery Extension


Historical Information

Commonwealth forces took over this section of the front line from the French in 1915 and in early August, land to the south of the communal cemetery was set aside for military graves.

Field ambulances were stationed in the village from February to July 1916. Plot I of the extension contains the graves of men who died on the Somme front from September 1915 to June 1916.

The graves in Plot II relate to the Somme offensive of July and August 1916 and those in Plot III to the operations of the autumn of 1916.

Forceville Communal Cemetery Extension

In the spring of 1917 the front line moved to the east and it was not until the German advances of April 1918, which came to a halt just east of the cemetery, that further burials were made in Plot IV.

There are now 304 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in this site, three of them in the communal cemetery adjoining the extension.

The extension also contains seven German war graves.

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

Forceville Communal Cemetery Extension


Shot at Dawn

Private John Lewis

Private John Lewis 15094
5th Bn Dorsetshire Regiment
Died on 19th April 1917 aged 21
Son of Albert and Mary Lewis
of 1, Factory Road, Barking

Grave: III E 2

Shot at Dawn for desertion

John Hughes deserted with his friend Private William Anderson on 1st January 1917 as the battalion moved up into support trenches near St Pierre Divion.

The pair managed to get across the Channel and reached their home town of Barking where they were eventually arrested.

Unusually for a pair of deserters who remained together, and were apprehended together, they were executed on different days and in different locations. Anderson was executed at Beauquesne on 31st March 1917 and is now buried at Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, near Doullens (See link below).


An unusual headstone

This headstone to an unidentified Irish soldier is unusual in that it has been personalised beyond the standard: Known Unto God, version.

According to the original CWGC register the grave was initially marked as being that of Private H McNeill, 18372 of the 12th Bn Royal Irish Rifles. Died on 3rd July 1916.

However, McNeill is not listed on the CWGC site, so perhaps the: report of his death was an exaggeration !

An unknown Irishman

In Honour of a
British Soldier
Name Unknown
Royal Irish Rifles
3rd July 1916

Grave: II B 10

The Lord knoweth
Them that are his


Major Powys Sketchley

Major Powys Sketchley
Royal Marine Light Infantry
General Staff 63rd (RN) Division
Died on 12th October 1916 aged 35
Son of the Rev. E and Mrs. Sketchley
of 20, Castletown Road, West Kensington

Grave: III E 1

Private George Marshall

Private George Marshall 26/457
26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers
Died on 1st january 1917 aged 47

Grave: III D 3

Private Harry Merson

Private Harry Merson 2959
1/7th Bn West Yorkshire Regiment
Prince of Wales’s Own
Died on 2nd July 1916 aged 21
Son of the late Thomas and Ada Merson
of New Wortley, Leeds

Grave: II B 3

Also Pte Ernest Hindle
R West Surreys
2nd July 1917
Aged 19 yrs

Ernest Hindle is buried in Aeroplane Cemetery, Ieper (I F 34). Son of George and Ada Hindle.

Private Thomas Hughes

Private Thomas Hughes 127579
38th Bn Machine Gun Corps
Died on 21st August 1918 aged 23
Son of Robert and Harriett Hughes
of Corwen, North Wales

Grave: IV E 8


Other cemeteries in the area

Recent Additions

Brimont Churchyard

Braine Communal Cemetery

Soupir Churchyard

CWGC Poppy Button