Webmatters Title
Webmatters : Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery
Rough Map of Area

Pheasant Wood

Location

Fromelles is a village 16 kilometres west of Lille and Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery is located within the village slightly down from the church. It is located on the road towards VC Corner Cemetery and the Australian Cobber Memorial both of which are well indicated.

GPS N E Wikimapia
Decimal 50.608047 2.850770 Map

Pheasant Wood Cemetery

 

Historical Information

The Battle of Fromelles was a combined attack by British and Australian troops on 19-20 July 1916. The aim of the operation was to seize the German-held salient just north of the village of Fromelles.

It was the first offensive operation by the Australian Imperial Force since arriving on the Western Front.

After a night and day of fierce fighting the German defensive line remained unbroken. When the attack was called-off on the morning of 20 July over 7,000 Australian and British troops had been killed, wounded, captured or were missing.

The high casualties from Australia’s 5th Division, fighting alongside the British 61st Division, remind us that the battle remains the worst loss of life in a 24 hour period in Australia’s history.

The original burial site at Pheasant Wood

The original burial site at Pheasant Wood

The remains of many of the Australian and British dead from the engagement could not be accounted for at the time but in May 2008 six communal graves dating from the battle were identified at Fromelles on the edge of Pheasant Wood. The British and Australian governments appointed the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to oversee the recovery of remains and to create a new cemetery where they would finally be laid to rest.

Between May and September 2009, the bodies of 250 British and Australian soldiers were painstakingly removed from the Pheasant Wood graves. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission began construction of Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery.

Pheasant Wood Cemetery

The majority of the recovered remains were buried in the cemetery, with full military honours, throughout February 2010. As the re-burials took place before the cemetery construction was completed, special preparations were necessary for the burial area. Lidded, wooden sarcophagi, into which the coffins were to be placed, were sunk into an excavated area filled with schist.

Afterwards, a thick layer of topsoil was laid over the burial area as a base for the cemetery’s horticulture.

Joint British and Australian Identification Boards met to determine what, if any, level of identity could be established for each soldier from the historical, anthropological, archaeological and DNA evidence available.

Thousands of artefacts were recovered and almost a hundred soldiers positively identified — all of them Australian.

Pheasant Wood Cemetery

19th July 2010

The body of one soldier was laid to rest in a special ceremony on the 30th January and the last re-buried during the cemetery’s dedication ceremony on 19th July 2010.

The remaining 248 were re-buried in Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery during February 2010.

The cemetery was designed by Barry Edwards.

 

Some of the graves

The circumstances of the creation of this cemetery have made all of those interred here perhaps more special than those buried so long ago.

Here are a few of the graves.


Private Edwin Dibben

Private Edwin Dibben 4183A
54th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 19th-20th July 1916 aged 33

Thanks for his loyal soul
His adventurous spirit
And his stout heart
May he now rest in peace

Grave: I F 7


Private Robert Scott

Private Robert Scott 1046
32nd Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 20th July 1916 aged 21
Son of Andrew and Christian Scott,
of Upper Keir, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Born at Perth, Scotland

Qui dieu garde
Est bien gardé

Grave: II E 6


Corporal James Ross

Corporal James Ross 1216
29th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 19th July 1916 aged 23
Son of James and Alice Ross,
of 99, Arthurton Rd, Northcote, Victoria
Born Stirling, Scotland

Beloved son of Alice and James Ross
I once was lost but now
I am found not forgotten

Grave: II D 1


Corporal Gregory Stalgis

Corporal Gregory Stalgis 2898
14th Coy Australian Machine Gun Corps
Died on 20th July 1916 aged 21
Son of Mr J and Mrs A. Stalgis,
of 45, Edgeware Rd, Enmore, New South Wales.
Native of Sydney, New South Wales

Grave: I D 9


Lt Colonel Ignatius Norris

Lt Colonel Ignatius Norris
53rd Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 19th July 1916 aged 35

Grave: III A 3


Corporal Herbert Bolt

Corporal Herbert Bolt 3009
55th Bn Australian Infantry
Died on 20th July 1916 aged 22
Son of Frederick and Mary Bolt
Husband of Jennie Bolt,
of 144, Wilson St, Newtown, New South Wales
Born at Sydney

“Nutsy”
Loved husband of Jennie
A loving father to Mona
Our hero. Never forgotten

Grave: III B 6

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Bailleul Road West Cemetery

Huy (La Sarte) Communal Cemetery

Les Baraques Military Cemetery

CWGC Poppy Button