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Webmatters : Heath Cemetery, Harbonnières

Heath Cemetery

Location

Heath Cemetery is situated on the south side of the straight main road (D1029) from Amiens to St Quentin, approximately 13 kilometres from Villers-Bretonneux. CWGC signposts will be seen directing visitors to the cemetery.

GPS N E OSM
Decimal 49.87295 2.67230 Map

Heath Cemetery

 

Historical Information

Harbonnières was captured by French troops in the summer of 1916. It was retaken by the Germans on 27th April 1918, and regained by the Australian Corps on 8th August 1918.

Heath Cemetery, so called from the wide expanse of open country on which it stands, was made after the Armistice, next to a French Military Cemetery, now removed.

Graves were brought into it from the battlefields between Bray and Harbonnières and from other burial grounds in the area, including :

  • Bayonvillers British Cemetery, at the North end of the village, which contained the graves of 37 Australian soldiers, 11 from the United Kingdom, one from Canada, and one French Interpreter, all of whom fell in August, 1918.
  • Bayonvillers French Military Cemetery, at the South end of Bayonvillers, in which one soldier from the United Kingdom was buried in March 1917
  • Bayonvillers German Cemetery, near the Church, in which 14 Australian soldiers and 11 from the United Kingdom were buried by their comrades in August, 1918.
  • Cerisy-Gailly Communal Cemetery French Extension which contained 157 French and 108 German graves, and those of three soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in July, 1916.
  • Clump Trench Cemetery, Rosières-de-Picardie, 300 metres East of the road to Vauvillers, which contained the graves of 20 Australian soldiers and three from the United Kingdom who fell in August, 1918.
  • Copse Corner Cemetery, Vauvillers, by a copse 900 metres North of Clump Trench Cemetery, which contained the graves of 22 men of the 7th Australian Battalion who fell on the 9th August 1918, and one soldier from the United Kingdom.
  • Davenscourt Churchyard, in which five unidentified soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried.
  • Étinehem (or Cote 77) French Military Cemetery, near the crossing of the roads from Étinehem to Meaulte and from Bray to Corbie. Here were buried 290 French soldiers, now reburied in Cote 80 French National Cemetery, and 16 from the United Kingdom and one from Australia.
  • Framerville British Cemetery (or Quarry Cemetery), near the track leading to Herleville, which contained the graves of 23 soldiers from the United Kingdom and three from Australia who fell in August, 1918.
  • The French Military Cemetery, on the road to Proyart, which contained the graves of two soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1917.
  • Harbonnières Communal Cemetery Extension in which 44 soldiers from the United Kingdom and 19 from Australia were buried by their comrades in August 1918.
  • Lone Farm (or Lone House) Cemetery, Harbonnières, about 900 metres East of Heath Cemetery. Here were buried 35 soldiers from Australia and nine from the United Kingdom, most of whom fell in August 1918.
  • Louvrechy French Military Cemetery, at the West end of Louvrechy village, which contained the graves of two R.A.F. officers who fell in July 1918.
  • Memorial Cemetery, Vauvillers, a little South-East of the crossing of the Vauvillers-Rosieres and Harbonnières-Lihons roads, which contained graves of 19 soldiers of the 9th Australian Battalion who fell in August 1918 .
  • Méricourt-sur-somme Communal Cemetery, in which one R.F.C. officer was buried in September 1916.
  • Mérignolles British Cemetery, Proyart, half-way between Proyart and Chuignolles, which contained the graves of 21 Australian soldiers who fell the 23rd August 1918.
  • Morcourt Communal Cemetery, in which three soldiers from United Kingdom were buried by the Germans; the Extension, in which Australian soldiers and eight from the United Kingdom were buried by their comrades in August 1918; and the German Cemetery “by the Church”, which the Germans buried two men of the Rifle Brigade in April 1918.
  • Proyart Communal Cemetery Extension, made by the Germans in April-June, 1918, and used by the British in August and September, 1918, for the burial of 64 soldiers and airmen from the United Kingdom and 3 Australian soldiers.
  • Ridgeway Cemetery, Lihons, on the road from Lihons to Rosieres, which contained the graves of 23 Australian soldiers who fell in August 1918.
  • Sailly-Laurette Military Cemetery, 800 metres due North of Sailly-Laurette village. Here were buried 38 soldiers from the United Kingdom mainly of the 58th (London) Division and two from Australia, who fell in August 1918.
  • Vermandovillers German Cemetery, from which the grave of one R.A.F. officer was brought. The earliest date of death is September 1915, the latest October 1918, but the majority died in March or August 1918.

There are now 1,860 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 369 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 26 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of 21 casualties buried in other cemeteries, whose graves could not be found.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Heath Cemetery

 


Alfred Gaby VC

Alfred Gaby VC
Lieutenant
28th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 11th August 1918 aged 26
Son of Alfred and Adelaide Gaby.
Born at Scottsdale, Tasmania.

Grave: V E 14

The London Gazette
29th October 1918

For most conspicuous bravery and dash in attack, when, on reaching the wire in front of an enemy trench, strong opposition was encountered. The advance was at once checked, the enemy being in force about forty yards beyond the wire, and commanding the gap with machine guns and rifles. Lt. Gaby found another gap in the wire, and, single-handed, approached the strong point while machine guns and rifles were still being fired from it.

Running along the parapet, still alone, and at point-blank range, he emptied his revolver into the garrison, drove the crews from their guns, and compelled the surrender of fifty of the enemy with four machine guns. He then quickly re-organised his men and led them on to his final objective, which he captured and consolidated. Three days later, during an attack, this officer again led his company with great dash to the objective.

The enemy brought heavy rifle and machine-gun fire to bear upon the line, but in the face of this heavy fire Lt. Gaby walked along his line of posts, encouraging his men to quickly consolidate. While engaged on this duty he was killed by an enemy sniper.


Robert Beatham VC

Robert Beatham VC
Private 2742
8th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 11th August 1918 aged 24
Son of Elizabeth Beatham
of Glassonby, Kirkoswald, Cumberland, England
and the late John Beatham.
His brothers I A Beatham, John Wilfred Beatham and Frederick William Beatham also fell

Grave: VII J 13

The London Gazette
13th December 1918

For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice during the attack north of Rosieres, east of Amiens, on 9th August 1918. When the advance was held up by heavy machine gun fire, Private Beatham dashed forward, and, assisted by one man, bombed and fought the crews of four enemy machine guns, killing ten of them and capturing ten others, thus facilitating the advance and saving many casualties.

When the final objective was reached, although previously wounded, he again dashed forward and bombed a machine gun, being riddled with bullets and killed in doing so. The valour displayed by this gallant soldier inspired all ranks in a wonderful manner.

 


Gunner Ernst Wedseltoft

Gunner Ernst Wedseltoft 183199
296th Siege Battery
Royal Garrison Artillery
Died on 21st August 1918 aged 40
Son of the late R Wedseltoft, R. Dbg. Dbmd. P.P.
(Colonel of the Royal Danish Army)
of Aarhus, Denmark
Husband of Isabella Sutherland
of 42, Claremont Rd., Leith, Edinburgh.

Grave: V J 1


Private Guillaume Casimir

Private Guillaume Casimir 2628
54th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 3rd September 1918 aged 56
Son of Guillaume and Petit Victorine Casimir
Husband of B. Guillaume Casimir
of 19, Avenue D’Orvillers, Moulins, Allier, France.
Born at Fourchambault, Nievre, France

Grave: X D 2


Private Sydney Murrell

Private Sydney Murrell 6504
12th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 23rd August 1918 aged 26
Son of Charlie and Mary Murrell
Husband of Nellie Lynda Murrell
of Castle Forbes Bay, Tasmania

Grave: X B 15


Corporal Hubert de V Alexander

Corporal Hubert de Vere Alexander 1502
4th Field Company
Australian Engineers
Died on 17th August 1918 aged 31
Son of Stanley and Maud Alexander
of Milson’s Point, New South Wales

Grave: IV D 7

 


Recent Additions

Heath Cemetery

Rancourt Military Cemetery

Brimont Churchyard

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