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Webmatters : Suzanne Military Cemetery No 3

Suzanne Military Cemetery No 3

Location

Suzanne is a village in the Department of the Somme on the right bank of the Somme River, about 13 kilometres south-east of Albert. Suzanne Military Cemetery No. 3 is north of the village near the east of the road to Maricourt.

Suzanne Military Cemetery No 3

 

Historical Information

The village of Suzanne was taken over by British troops in the summer of 1915, lost in March, 1918, and recaptured by the 3rd Australian Division on the following 26th August.

Suzanne Military Cemetery No 3 was originally a French Cemetery (Cimetière Mixte No 3 de Suzanne); but after the Armistice the British graves were concentrated into it from the battlefields North of the Somme, and the French graves were removed.

There are now 139 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-18 war here. Of these, 42 are unidentified. There is also 1 German burial here.

The cemetery covers area of 925 square metres and is enclosed by a low rubble wall.

Suzanne Military Cemetery No 3

 


Serjeant Charles Hodgson

Serjeant Charles Hodgson C/12037
9th Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Died on 13th April 1918 aged 30
Son of Mary Hodgson
of Sewerby, Bridlington, Yorks

Grave: I D 5


Private Walter Heazlewood

Private Walter Heazlewood 3330
40th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 31st August 1918 aged 34
Son of Charles and Mary Heazlewood
of Hagley, Tasmania

Grave: I E 17

 

Shot at Dawn

There are three executed soldiers within the cemetery.


Private Benjamin Hart

Private Benjamin Hart 1763
1/4th Bn Suffolk Regiment
Died on 6th February 1917 aged 22
Son of Charles and Emma Hart
of 101, Fore St., Ipswich

Grave: I C 10

Shot at Dawn for Desertion

Benjamin Hart was a Territorial soldier who found himself sent to the Western Front in January 1916. Whilst serving near the Brick Stacks at Cambrin (Near Béthune) Hart and a number of others were buried alive by a German mine exploding under their position. Hart was severely shocked by the incident in which a comrade stated that only his feet could be seen sticking out of the debris.

From this moment Hart began avoiding any service in the front lines by reporting himself (and being passed by the Medical Officer) as unfit for duty.

Over the coming months whilst his battalion was serving on the Somme (At High Wood) Hart fell foul of the system by either refusing to go back to the front or by absenting himself. He was charged on a number of occasions but managed to avoid a capital sentence.

Then on 13th December 1916 (After the Battle of the Somme was over — but the front would still have been dangerous) Hart’s platoon was warned for front line duty. Ultimately they were marched out with Hart absent. He gave himself up at Bray sur Somme two days later and was placed in detention prior to a Court Martial for Desertion on the 28th December.

Medical examination failed to find anything wrong with Hart and the commanders up the line recommended that in view of his previous convictions that the death penalty should be confirmed.

His Platoon Commander 2nd Lieutenant Charles Stormont-Gibbs MC had made him a servant in the hope of keeping him away from battle as much as possible. He later recalled that everybody refused to take part in the firing party — which had to be carried out by other troops.

Stormont-Gibbs would write a book about his experiences: From the Somme to the Armistice, and would mention the incident.

Hart’s brother Serjeant Ernest Hart, 11th Bn Suffolk Regiment was killed on 22nd October 1917 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 41).


Private Frederick Stead

Private Frederick Stead 3/10390
2nd Bn Duke of Wellington’s
West Riding Regiment
Died on 12th February 1917 aged 20

Grave: II C 1

Shot at Dawn for Desertion

Frederick Stead had joined the Army in 1913 and been sent out as a reinforcement to France at the end of 1914. In 1915 he fell sick with diarrhoea but recuperated after a few days. His good health did not last long and he was returned to hospital in England.

Sent back to France in May 1916 his poor health continued to dog him and he found himself reporting sick for a number of reasons. In October 1916 he was admitted to a Casualty Clearing Station with a gunshot wound to his right hand. His absence from his battalion coincided with their costly attack against Le Transloy in the last weeks of the Battle of the Somme.

Stead now deserted, but was captured and condemned to death. The sentence was however commuted to five years penal servitude (Suspended as was always the case). 24 hours after having been reprieved Stead deserted again. He was re-captured and sent for trial. His commanding officer suggested that he might have been mentally handicapped and Stead was sent for a medical examination — which could find nothing wrong with him. With his previous record the execution was confirmed.


Private Frederick Wright

Private Frederick Wright 6778
1st Bn The Queen’s
Royal West Surrey Regiment
Died on 28th January 1917
Son of Ellen Wright
of 249, East Street, Old Kent Road, London

Grave: I C 7

Shot at Dawn for Desertion

Little is known of Wright’s actions apart from the fact that he had served throughout the Battle of the Somme and then deserted.

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Canadian Cemetery No.2

Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery

Petit Vimy British Cemetery

CWGC Poppy Button