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Webmatters : Stèle to Sapeur André Vernière at Warvillers

Sapeur André Vernière

Location

Warvillers is a village approximately 4 kilometres north of Bouchoir, a town on the main straight road from Amiens to Roye. The Churchyard is a little east of the village.

Come off at Bouchoir and take the road through Folies. Warvillers is the next village. The church is easily seen so drive towards it — bearing right. Park outside and on going through the gate go round to the right and through the next gate.

The monument is opposite the entrance to Warvillers Churchyard Extension CWGC Cemetery and alongside a memorial plaque to the 15th Bn Canadian Infantry.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 49.7791 2.68903 Map

Monument to the 15th Bn CEF at Warvillers

The two monuments at Warvillers

Background

In August 1914 the 139e Régiment d’Infanterie was the garrison regiment at Aurillac in the Cantal.

Having participated in the defence of Verdun in March 1916, it was transferred to the Somme.

On 23rd July 1916 the regiment arrived at Warvillers. This was a time when the French (also participating in the Battle of the Somme) were pushing the front to the east of Warvillers. On the 29th whilst resting at Warvillers the soldiers came under shellfire. One of the shelters was hit and a number of soldiers were killed or injured. The local troop of Engineers (also from Cantal) came to their aid.

On 29th July during a heavy bombardment a shelter holding about forty men, mostly from the 139e RI, was hit by a shell causing numerous casualties. The sappers of the 13/52 were the first to come to the aid of their comrades and clear the rubble.

These same sappers had been employed on the 28th to put out a fire caused by the shelling.
The company commanded by Lt Tourot have demonstrated their devotion to their comrades. They merit being mentioned in dispatches as an example.

War Diary of the 52e Engineer Company

Alongside is a memorial plaque to the 15th Bn Canadian Infantry who took part in the Battle of Amiens in August 1918. One of the objectives of that battle was to try and regain the 1916 French trenches that had been lost during the German Spring Offensive of 1918.

 

The Memorial

Stèle to Sapeur André Vernière at Warvillers

Ici repose le sapeur mineur A. Vernière
4e Genie Cie 13/52 tué à l’ennemi le 29 juillet 1916

This headstone was found in the village churchyard by the local retired school teacher, Mme Pluquet, originally from Cantal. The discovery set her off on a trail of research. It would appear that the headstone was placed by Vernière’s comrades over his grave in the churchyard—though his body was later relocated to the French Military Cemetery at Maucourt a few kilometres away.

French Engineer units seem to have quite complicated designations in Vernière’s case he was in the
4e Régiment du Génie, Compagnie 13/52—that is the 52nd Company of the 13th Battalion of the 4th Regiment.

Warvillers is one of the very few villages in France not to have a war memorial and it was decided by the community to put the headstone into greater evidence along the church wall opposite the CWGC Cemetery.