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Webmatters : Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel
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Ancre British Cemetery

Location

Ancre British Cemetery is about 2 km south of the village of Beaumont-Hamel, on the D50 between Albert and Achiet-le-Grand.

When travelling between the Ulster Tower and the Newfoundland Memorial Park it is within a few hundred metres of the railway crossing at Hamel. Turn towards Beaucourt and it is on your left within a hundred metres.

If you continue along the side of the railway you will reach the old Station (now a café and at that time forming part of the German front line) and then the 63rd (RN) Division’s monument at Beaucourt.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.067756 2.667832 Map

Ancre British Cemetery

 

Historical Information

The village of Beaumont-Hamel was attacked on 1st July 1916 by the 29th Division, with the 4th on its left and the 36th (Ulster) on its right, but without success.

On 3rd September a further attack was delivered between Hamel and Beaumont-Hamel and on 13th and 14th November, the 51st (Highland), 63rd (Royal Naval), 39th and 19th (Western) Divisions finally succeeded in capturing Beaumont-Hamel, Beaucourt-sur-Ancre and St. Pierre-Divion.

Following the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in the spring of 1917, V Corps cleared this battlefield and created a number of cemeteries, of which Ancre British Cemetery (then called Ancre River No.1 British Cemetery, V Corps Cemetery No.26) was one.

There were originally 517 burials almost all of the 63rd (Naval) and 36th Divisions, but after the Armistice the cemetery was greatly enlarged when many more graves from the same battlefields and from the following smaller burial grounds:

  • Ancre River British Cemetery No.2 (V Corps Cemetery No.27), about 400 metres East of No.1, containing the graves of 64 officers and men from the United Kingdom (mainly 1st HAC, 11th Royal Sussex, and Hood Battalion) who fell in September and November 1916.
  • Beaucourt Station Cemetery, begun after the capture of Beaucourt by the RND on the 14th November 1916, and containing the graves of 85 officers and men from the United Kingdom who fell in November 1916 – March 1917. It was close to Beaucourt-Hamel station.
  • Green Dump Cemetery, on the South-West side of Station Road, between Beaumont-Hamel and the station. It was used from November 1916, to March 1917, and it contained the graves of 45 soldiers and one Marine from the United Kingdom.
  • RND Cemetery (V Corps Cemetery No.21), in the open country midway between Beaumont-Hamel and Hamel. It contained the graves of 336 officers and men from the United Kingdom, mainly of the Royal Naval Division.
  • Sherwood Cemetery (V Corps Cemetery No.20), about 700 metres North-West of the RND Cemetery. It contained the graves of 176 officers and men from the United Kingdom, belonging chiefly to the 36th and Royal Naval Divisions, the 17th Sherwood Foresters and the 17th King’s Royal Rifles.
  • Station Road Cemetery, on the South side of “Station Road”, 500 metres West of the railway. This cemetery was used, from November 1916, to March 1917, for the burial of 82 officers and men from the United Kingdom.
  • Y Ravine Cemetery No. 2 (V Corps Cemetery No.18), about 300 metres South-East of the present Y Ravine Cemetery. Here were buried 140 officers and men from the United Kingdom and two from Newfoundland, who fell in July, September and November 1916.

There are now 2,540 Commonwealth casualties of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 1,335 of the graves are unidentified, but special memorials commemorate 43 casualties known or believed to be buried among them.

The majority of those buried in the cemetery died on 1st July, 3rd September or 13th November 1916.

There are also special memorials to 16 casualties know to have been buried in other cemeteries, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

The Royal Naval Division Memorial for the capture of Beaumont-Hamel is a stone obelisk erected beside the main road from Arras to Albert, at Beaucourt-sur-Ancre.

Ancre British Cemetery

 

Men from the Navy, Marines and HAC

Men from the Navy, Marines and HAC who died during the final assault on Beaucourt in November 1916

 

1st July 1916

On the 1st July 1916 the 9th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers were part of the 36th (Ulster) Division fighting on this side of the Ancre River who started at the top of the hill on your left and pushed the front line as far as the area of today’s cemetery.

For further information about the fighting in this area please use the links below.


Private William McCallum

Private William McCallum 17951
9th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers
Died on 1st July 1916
Native of Lurgan, Co Armagh

Grave: VIII A 9

Click on the thumbnail for a larger version

Private J Campbell 20024
9th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers
Died on 1st July 1916

Grave: VIII A 10


Major T Atkinson

Major Thomas Atkinson
B Coy 9th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers
Died on 1st July 1916 aged 38
Son of Wolsey and Alice Atkinson.
MA, LLB, TCD a solicitor

A son of Ulster
Your memory hallowed
In the land you loved

Grave: VIII A 5

Corporal Ernest Turkington 14725
9th Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers
Died on 1st July 1916 aged 22
Son of William and Ellen Turkington,
of 26, Brownlow Terrace, Lurgan, Co. Armagh

Grave: VIII A 6

 

13th November 1916

On the 13th November 1916 the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division took on the attack from this area in their triumphant capture of Beaucourt during the final battle of the Somme.


The Hon Vere Harmsworth

Lieutenant The Hon Vere Harmsworth
Hawke Bn Royal Naval Division
Died on 13th November 1916 aged 21
Son of 1st Viscount Rothermere,
of Warwick House, St. James’s, London

Grave: V E 19

Lieutenant The Hon Vere Harmsworth of the Hawke Battalion had led one of the attempts to get past the redoubt that had caused so many casualties to the battalion but in doing so was himself wounded. Wounded again, he died of his injuries.

His father, Lord Rothermere provided the funding for the Royal Naval Division’s monument at Beaucourt.


Corporal John Coulson

Corporal Robert Coulson PO/18403
Royal Marine Light Infantry
1st RM Bn RND
Died on 13th November 1916 aged 18
Son of Rose Coulson
of Past Office, Philadelphia, Co. Durham

Grave: IV E 28


Private George Hawkins

Private George Hawkins 1606
Royal Newfoundland Regiment
Died on 1st July 1916 aged 26
Son of John and Matilda Hawkins
of Durrell’s Arm, Twillingate
Newfoundland

Grave: II F 34


Private R Gibson

Private R Gibson 291167
1/7th Bn Gordon Highlanders
Died on 14th November 1916

Grave: I F 2

 

Looking across the Ancre Valley from the Ulster Tower

This photo was taken from the area of the Ulster Tower.
The cemetery can be seen within the large group of trees to the right, in the middle of the photo.
The area around the cemetery was the subject of heavy fighting on the 1st July 1916 by the Ulster Division
The trees on the ridge are those of the Newfoundland Memorial Park at Beaumont Hamel

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Canadian Cemetery No.2

Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery

Petit Vimy British Cemetery

CWGC Poppy Button