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Webmatters : Abbeville Communal Cemetery

Abbeville Communal Cemetery

Location

The town of Abbeville is on the main road from Paris to Boulogne (N1), about 80 kilometres south of Boulogne. The communal cemetery and communal cemetery extension are located on the left hand side of the road when leaving the town in a north-east direction for Drucat.

CWGC direction signs will be found within the cemetery. Enter the Communal Cemetery by the left hand side main gate and follow CWGC signs within the Cemetery.

Or more simply drive to the top of the road and park at the CWGC gate.

The Cemetery and extension can be a little confusing because the plot numbering repeats itself. The Extension is on the upper deck in the area of the Cross of Sacrifice, the Communal Cemetery plots are those down below nearer the Civilian and French military graves.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.12141 1.83222 Map

Abbeville Communal Cemetery

From the Communal Cemetery looking towards the Extension

 

Historical Information

For much of the First World War, Abbeville was headquarters of the Commonwealth lines of communication and No.3 BRCS, No.5 and No.2 Stationary Hospitals were stationed there variously from October 1914 to January 1920. The communal cemetery was used for burials from November 1914 to September 1916, the earliest being made among the French military graves. The extension was begun in September 1916.

During the early part of the Second World War, Abbeville was a major operational aerodrome, but the town fell to the Germans at the end of May 1940. On 4th June, an attempt was made by the 51st Division, in conjunction with the French, to break the German bridgehead, but without success. Towards the end of 1943, eight large ski shaped buildings appeared near Abbeville. These proved to be storage units for flying bomb components and they were heavily bombed by Commonwealth air forces. Abbeville was retaken on 4th September 1944 by the 1st Polish Armoured Division—part of the II Canadian Corps.

Abbeville Communal Cemetery contains 774 Commonwealth burials of First World War and 30 from the Second. The Extension contains 1,754 First World War burials and 348 from the Second.

The Commonwealth sections of both cemetery and extension were designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Abbeville Communal Cemetery

On a frosty February morning

 


Leonard Keyworth VC

3026 Lance Corporal Leonard Keyworth VC
Medal of St George (2nd Class) of Russia
1/24th Bn London Regiment
Died on 19th October 1915 aged 22
Son of James and Emma Keyworth
of Lincoln

Grave: III C 2

The London Gazette
2nd July 1915

For most conspicuous bravery at Givenchy on the night of 25-26th May 1915. After the assault on the German position by the 24th Battalion, London Regiment, efforts were made by that Unit to follow up their success by a bomb attack, during the progress of which 58 men out of a total 75 became casualties.

During this very fierce encounter Lance Corporal Keyworth stood fully exposed for 2 hours on the top of the enemy’s parapet, and threw about 150 bombs amongst the Germans, who were only a few yards away.

 

The French Military Cemetery

Abbeville Communal Cemetery

There is also a small plot of French soldiers buried here.

It would appear that these are all soldiers repatriated from Military Cemeteries elsewhere. Both of the following men were Abbevillois.


Soldat André Marcotte

Soldat André Marcotte 4584
128e Régiment d’Infanterie
Born on 17th August 1892
Died on 15th September 1914 aged 22
Listed as missing in combat at Servans on the Marne

Private Marcotte would have been called up into the Classe of 1912 for his service.

The 128e RI was the Abbeville Regiment. They became famous for having been amongst the first to mutiny in 1917.


Soldat Abel Vertighem

Soldat Abel Vertighem 3652
328è Régiment d’Infanterie
Born on 13th September 1878
Died on 13th March 1916 aged 37
Killed in action at Les Epargnes on the Meuse (Verdun)

Private Vertighem would have served his initial military service in the Classe of 1898 and would have been recalled to service on the outbreak of war as a Reservist.

The 328e RI was the Abbeville Reserve.

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Canadian Cemetery No.2

Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery

Petit Vimy British Cemetery

CWGC Poppy Button