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Webmatters : Bancourt British Cemetery

Bancourt British Cemetery

Location

Bancourt is a village which lies approximately 4 kilometres due east of Bapaume on the north side of the D7, Bapaume to Bertincourt road. Bancourt British Cemetery is situated east of Bancourt village, 300 metres off the D7 on the north side. The CWGC direction signs on the D7 indicate the best approach to the cemetery.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.102331 2.897633 Map

Bancourt British Cemetery

 

Historical Information

Bancourt was occupied by Commonwealth forces in March 1917. It was lost a year later during the German offensive in the spring of 1918, but recaptured by the New Zealand Division (in particular, the 2nd Auckland Battalion) on 30 August 1918.

The Cemetery was made (so far as the original burials are concerned) by the New Zealand Division in September 1918. The original cemetery is now Plot I, Rows A and B; the remainder of the cemetery was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the battlefields East and South of Bancourt and from certain British and German cemeteries.

Bancourt British Cemetery

Kiwi soldiers in the original plot

The cemeteries from which British and Dominion graves were brought to Bancourt British Cemetery were the following:

  • Bapaume Reservoir German Cemetery, on the Bapaume Beaulencourt road, containing the graves of twelve soldiers from the United Kingdom buried by a German Field Ambulance in March and April 1918, and of seven others and three from New Zealand who fell at the end of August 1918.
  • Bapaume Road Cemetery, Beaulencourt, 400 metres south of the Beaulencourt-Gueudecourt road, containing the graves of 20 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in October 1916.
  • Beaulencourt Road Cemeteries — three in number — on the North-East side of Gueudecourt, containing the graves of 88 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in the autumn of 1916 or in April 1917.
  • Cloudy Trench Cemetery, Gueudecourt, containing the graves of 40 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in October or November 1916.

The five last named cemeteries were made by the 5th Australian Division in April 1917.

  • Fremicourt Communal Cemetery Extension. This Extension was begun by the Germans, who buried in it 1 346 of their own soldiers and 136 officers and men from the United Kingdom who fell in March 1918. It was taken over in September 1918, by British and Dominion units, who used it for clearing the battlefields and for fresh burials, and added 94 graves. All the graves have now been removed to other cemeteries.
  • Sunken Road Cemetery, Lesboeufs, between Gueudecourt and Le Transloy, made by the 5th Australian Division in April 1917. It contained the graves of 49 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Australia who fell in October 1916.

The great majority of these graves dated from the winter of 1916-1917, the retreat of March 1918, or the advance of August-September 1918.

Bancourt British Cemetery now contains 2,480 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 1,462 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 43 casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

Another special memorial bears the name of a soldier from the United Kingdom buried in Bapaume Reservoir German Cemetery, whose grave could not be found on concentration.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

The cemetery covers an area of 7,401 square metres and is enclosed by a brick wall.

Bancourt British Cemetery

 


David Jones VC

14951 Serjeant David Jones VC
12th Bn The King’s
Liverpool Regiment
Died on 7th October 1916 aged 25
Son of David and Jessie Jones
of 27 Aigburth St, Liverpool.
Husband of Elizabeth Jones
of 203 Smithdown Lane, Edge Hill, Liverpool

Grave: V F 20

The London Gazette 29802
24th October 1916

For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty, and ability displayed in the handling of his platoon. The platoon to which he belonged was ordered to a forward position, and during the advance came under heavy machine gun fire, the officer being killed and the platoon suffering heavy losses Serjeant Jones led-forward the remainder, occupied the position, and held it for two days and two nights without food or water, until relieved.

On the second day he drove back three counter-attacks, inflicting heavy losses. His coolness was most praiseworthy. It was due entirely to his resource and example that his men retained confidence and held their post.

 


2nd Lieutenant William Hales

2nd Lieutenant William Hales
8th Bn Royal Berkshire Regiment
Died on 23rd October 1916 aged 25
Only son of William and Florence Hales
of 15 Clifford’s Inn, London
Husband of Athol Hales
Matriculated at London University
and passed Law Final Examination in June 1914

Special Memorial: C 5

 


Private Wilfred Clarke

Private Wilfred Clarke 11606
2nd Bn Durham Light Infantry
Died on 9th February 1918 aged 23
Son of William and Elizabeth Clarke
of 20 Garrick St, Stanhope Rd, South Shields

Grave: I D 18

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Wilfred Clarke had enlisted in 1913 as an eighteen-year-old. He joined the 2nd Bn Durham Light Infantry at Colchester and went to France with them in January 1916. Within a short time Clarke went absent twice and in May 1916 deserted. He was apprehended in Rouen in October and sentenced to death at his trial in November. The sentence was commuted to ten years penal servitude and, as was often the case, suspended — sending the soldier back to the front.

In October 1917 he deserted again, a few hours before being sent up to the trenches. Once more apprehended, this time in Calais, the court found no more excuses available.

 

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