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Webmatters : Fins New British Cemetery, Sorel-le-Grand
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Fins New British Cemetery


Fins is a village on the road between Cambrai and PĂ©ronne. The British Cemetery is a little south-east of the village in the district of Sorel Le Grand on the right hand side of the road to Heudicourt.

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Decimal 50.032755 3.049071 Map

Fins New British Cemetery


Historical Information

Fins and Sorel were occupied at the beginning of April 1917, in the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line. They were lost on the 23rd March 1918, after a stubborn defence of Sorel by the 6th K.O.S.B. and the staff of the South African Brigade; and they were regained in the following September.

The first British burials at Fins were carried out in the Churchyard and the Churchyard Extension, and the New British Cemetery was not begun until July 1917. It was used by fighting units (especially the 40th, 61st (South Midland) and 9th (Scottish) Divisions) and Field Ambulances until March 1918, when it comprised about 590 graves in Plots I to IV.

It was then used by the Germans, who added 255 burials, including 26 British, in Plots IV, V, and VI. In September and October 1918, about 73 British soldiers were buried by the 33rd and other Divisions, partly in Plots I and II, but mainly in Plots V and VI.

Lastly, Plots VII and VIII were made, and other Plots completed, by the concentration of 591 graves after Armistice from the surrounding battlefields and from other smaller cemeteries, including :

  • Equancourt Churchyard, where three soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried in 1917 and 1918.
  • Fins Churchyard, in which nine soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried in April 1917.
  • Fins Churchyard Extension, which was on the North side of the churchyard, within the enclosure of a house. It contained the graves of 121 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Canada, who fell in April July 1917, and one German soldier who fell in March 1918.
  • Sorel-Le-Grand German Cemetery, on the West side of the village, opposite the Communal Cemetery. Here were buried, some by the enemy and some by their comrades, 17 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1916-1918.

Fins New British Cemetery

There are now 1289, First World War casualties commemorated in this site. Of these 208 are unidentified, and special memorials are erected to nine soldiers from the United Kingdom who are believed to be buried among them. Another special memorial records the name of a soldier from the United Kingdom, buried in Fins Churchyard Extension, whose grave could not be found on concentration. Nine graves in Plot VIII, Row E, identified as a whole but not individually, are marked by headstones bearing the words: “Buried near this spot.”

There are also 276 German burials here, 89 being unidentified. This cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

German graves

Some of the German burials


Rifleman Bertie Chorlton

Rifleman Bertie Chorlton S/11645
12th Bn The Rifle Brigade
Died on 1st December 1917

Grave: II D 7

2nd Lieutenant Royston Mason

2nd Lieutenant Royston Mason
5th Bn Royal Fusiliers
Died on 20th November 1917 aged 20
Son of Mrs. E. M. Mason
of 1, Victoria Drive, Eastbourne

Grave: II B 21

My Roy
Mother’s undying love
For a perfect son
Here awaits the dawn

Major Wilfred Whitson

Major Wilfred Whitson
9th Bn Highland Light Infantry
Died on 30th November 1917 aged 30
Son of Alexander and Isabella Whitson
of 5, Prince’s Terrace, Dowanhill, Glasgow

Grave: II C 18

Major John Archdale-Porter DSO

Major John Archdale-Porter DSO
9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers
Died on 22nd November 1917 aged 31
Son of John and Josephine Porter
of Belle Isle, Lisbellaw, Co. Fermanagh
Husband of Enid Archdale-Porter
of 8, Chesterfield St., London

Grave: II B 17

Tranquil you lie
Your knightly virtue proved
Your memory hallowed
In the land you loved


Private Harry Knight

Private Harry Knight G/6565
1st Bn Queens Regiment
(Royal West Surrey Regiment)
Died on 6th October 1918
Son of Mrs. Ellen Knight
of 2, Lower Addiscombe Road,
West Croydon, Surrey

Grave: VI E 20

Shot at Dawn for desertion

Knight had volunteered in 1914 but had a chequered career with a number of previous convictions for disobedience. He had also been wounded. At his court martial he stated that his nerves had gone.


Other cemeteries in the area

In the communal cemetery you will find David Ross 14 years,
the youngest proven Commonwealth soldier to die during the war.

Recent Additions

Brimont Churchyard

Braine Communal Cemetery

Soupir Churchyard

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