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Webmatters : Brown's Road Military Cemetery, Festubert
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Brown's Road Military Cemetery

Location

Festubert is a village 8 kilometres east-north-east of Béthune. From the church in Festubert, take the D166 signposted Cuinchy. After 300 metres turn right. Brown’s Road Military Cemetery will be found a further 300 metres along this road on the right hand side.

Brown's Road Military Cemetery

 

Historical Information

Festubert was occupied by Commonwealth forces in October 1914 and on 23rd-24th November, the Indian Corps repulsed a German attack.

The Battle of Festubert (15th-25th May 1915) resulted in a short advance which left the village somewhat less exposed than it had been. Except for an advance which was attempted just to the south of Festubert (the Second Action of Givenchy, 15th-16th June 1915), this sector remained quiet until 9th April 1918 and the beginning of the Battle of the Lys.

Brown's Road Military Cemetery

Festubert was held by the 55th (West Lancashire) Division against the German assault, and successive attacks lasting through the month were repelled by the 1st and other Divisions. It remained an outpost for Commonwealth forces until the final advance began in September 1918.

The cemetery was begun in October 1914, and carried on by fighting units and field ambulances until November 1917, when it contained 299 graves. It was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when graves were brought in from small cemeteries and isolated sites on the surrounding battlefields.

The more sizeable of the graveyards concentrated here were:

Cheyne Walk Cemetery, Givenchy, on the road from Givenchy to Cuinchy, named from a trench. It was part of a café and garden, and it contained the graves of 13 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in October and December 1914.

Le Plantin South Cemetery, Givenchy, on the road leading South from the hamlet of Le Plantin to Windy Corner. It contained the graves of 33 soldiers from the United Kingdom, and it was used from October 1914 to December 1916.

Le Plantin Cemetery (Welsh Chapel), Festubert, on the South-West side of the road at Le Plantin North. It contained the graves of 43 soldiers from the United Kingdom (largely OBLI and 2nd Black Watch) and four from Canada, and it was used from December 1914 to December 1915.

Brown’s Road Cemetery now contains 1,071 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 407 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate three casualties believed to be buried among them.

The cemetery was designed by Charles Holden.

 


Lance Corporal Percival Fosbury

Lance Corporal Percival Fosbury 1194
6th Bn London Regiment
City of London Rifles
Died on 18th May 1915 aged 24
Son of Mr and Mrs Fosbury
of North Camberwell, London

Grave: I B 15


Rifleman Arthur Paveley

Rifleman Arthur Paveley 2348
6th Bn London Regiment
City of London Rifles
Died on 8th May 1915 aged 17
Only son of Charles and Josephine Paveley
of 26, Wellesley Rd, Wanstead, Essex

Grave: I A 15


Private G Colle

Private G Colle 3209
19th Bn London Regiment
County of London
Died on 15th April 1915 aged 17
Son of Mr V Colle, of 149
Sumatra Rd, West Hampstead, London

Grave: II A 4


Lt Colonel Wilfred Bliss

Lieutenant Colonel Wilfred Bliss
2nd Bn Cameronians
Scottish Rifles
Died on 10th March 1915 aged 49
Brother of Miss Muriel Bliss
of 81, Philbeach Gardens, Earl’s Court, London

Grave: VIII J 10


Lieutenant The Hon John De Blaquiere

Lieutenant The Hon John De Blaquiere
2nd Bn Cameronians
Scottish Rifles
Died on 10th March 1915 aged 25
Son of William, 6th Baron de Blaquiere
and Lucienne Baroness de Blaquiere, O.B.E.
of 3, The Circus, Bath

Grave: VIII J 5


Private R Fletcher

Private R Fletcher 10003
1st Bn Gloucestershire Regiment
Died on 12th March 1915 aged 17
Son of Ernest and Mary Fletcher
of 2, Ashcroft Rd., Cirencester, Glos

Grave: VII H 8


Private R Kitching

Private R Kitching 14132
14th Bn Hampshire Regiment
Died on 28th July 1916 aged 17
Son of Ada Kitching
of 31, Lord St, Portsmouth,
and the late Richard Kitching

Grave: II C 14

 

Shot at Dawn


Rifleman W Bellamy

Rifleman W Bellamy 5/3119
1st Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Died on 16th July 1915 aged 34

Shot for cowardice

Had joined the army in 1898 before becoming a reservist. He was recalled to the colours in 1914 and was present at the battle of Festubert in April 1915. The battalion was then moved to La Bassée where on 24th June 1915 part of the trench was blown by a German mine. Troops were ordered forward to plug the gap but Bellamy refused to leave his dugout.

Bellamy claimed that the explosion had affected him and that he had suffered twice before with nervous exhaustion. A medical board failed to find anything wrong with him and the court found him guilty of cowardice.

Grave: IV D 19


Private George Lowton

Private George Lowton 15251
17th Bn Sherwood Foresters
Notts and Derby Regiment
Died on 30th July 1916 aged 36
Son of William and Margaret Lowton, of Nottingham

Shot for cowardice

Just after midnight on the 4th July 1916 Lowton’s battalion carried out a raid into the German lines near La Bassée this was considered successful despite numerous casualties but a number of portable bridges had been left behind. That evening a second raid was planned to recover the bridges.

Lowton (Shot at Dawn spells it as Lawton) was detailed for the raid but refused to go. He claimed that he suffered with his nerves but a medical board could find nothing wrong with him. However, his death sentence was forwarded with a plea for mercy. It was turned down by General Monro.

Both Lowton and McCubbin (below) were held at the Lone Farm Advanced Dressing Station on their last night and were shot together the following morning.

Grave: V G 13


Private Bertie McCubbin

Private Bertie McCubbin 31821
17th Bn Sherwood Foresters
Notts and Derby Regiment
Died on 30th July 1916

Shot for cowardice

Three days after Lowton had refused to participate in a trench raid, McCubbin had refused to man a listening post 40 metres in front of the line. In his defence McCubbin stated that his nerves were in such a state that putting him out in such an important position would have been a danger to everyone else.

A death sentence was handed down by the court martial with a recommendation for mercy which was overruled by the Army Commander, General Munro who felt that shirking onerous duties was not an option to soldiering.

Grave: V B 16

 

Other cemeteries in the area


Recent Additions

Canadian Cemetery No.2

Givenchy Road Canadian Cemetery

Petit Vimy British Cemetery

CWGC Poppy Button