Monday, 9 November 2009

Valenciennes Communal Cemetery, France

Valenciennes remained in German hands from the early days of the First World War until 1-2 November 1918, when it was entered and cleared by the Canadian Corps; 5,000 civilians were found in the town. In November and December 1918, the 2nd, 57th, 4th Canadian and 32nd Casualty Clearing Stations were posted at Valenciennes and the last of them did not leave until October 1919. The Communal Cemetery of St. Roch was used by the Germans in August and September 1914 and an extension was then made on the south-east side. The Commonwealth plots were made adjoining the German: I and II contain the graves of October 1918 to December 1919; III, IV, V and part of VI contain the graves of 348 soldiers buried originally in the German Extension and 226 whose bodies were brought from other cemeteries or from the battlefields. The German Extension has since been removed and the Commonwealth plots are within the enlarged Communal Cemetery.

There are 697 UK servicemen buried here, 151 Canadians, 28 Australians, 1 New Zealander, 3 from South Africa and 5 from India.

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