War Dead Cemeteries
A.I.F. BURIAL GROUND, FLERS
||First World War
A.I.F. Burial Ground is 2 Kms north of the village of Flers, in the Department of the Somme. Travel south-west of Bapaume on the D929 in the direction of Albert for 6 Kms to the village of Le Sars. Turn left eastwards on the D11 in the direction of Geudecourt for 3.5 Kms to the D74/D197 junction. Continue along the D74 in the direction of Geudecourt for 500 metres when a CWGC signpost will be seen indicating the A.I.F. Burial Ground along a track to the right.
Wheelchair access is possible via the main entrance.
Flers was captured on 15 September 1916, in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, when it was entered by the New Zealand and 41st Divisions behind tanks, the innovative new weapons that were used here for the first time. The village was lost during the German advance of March 1918 and retaken at the end of the following August by the 10th West Yorks and the 6th Dorsets of the 17th Division.
The cemetery was begun by Australian medical units, posted in the neighbouring caves, in November 1916-February 1917. These original graves are in Plot I, Rows A and B. It was very greatly enlarged after the Armistice when almost 4,000 Commonwealth and French graves were brought in from the battlefields of the Somme, and later from a wider area.
The following were among the burial grounds from which Commonwealth graves were taken to this cemetery:-
FACTORY CORNER, FLERS, a little West of the crossing of the roads from Eaucourt-L'Abbaye to Gueudecourt and from Flers to Ligny-Thilloy. This place, which had been a German Headquarters for Artillery and Engineers and had a German Cemetery, was taken by the 1st Canterbury Infantry Regiment on the 25th September 1916, and again by the 7th East Yorks on the 27th August 1918. Fifteen soldiers from the United Kingdom and 13 from Australia were buried here in October 1916 - March 1917, and in August 1918.
NORTH ROAD CEMETERY, FLERS, North-West of the village, at the crossing of the Eaucourt-L'Abbaye road with "North Road" (to Factory Corner). Here were buried, in the winter of 1916-17, 13 Australian soldiers and seven from the United Kingdom. The great majority of the graves in A.I.F. Burial Ground date from the autumn of 1916, but one is from 1914, and there are others from the spring of 1917 and the spring and summer of 1918. There are now 3,475 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 2,263 of the burials are unidentified and there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of three casualties buried in a cemetery at Flers, whose graves could not be found. The cemetery also contains 170 French and 3 German war graves.
The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.
Our dead commemorated here (click name to view):
William Henry Ridgway
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from information supplied by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. www.cwgc.org.
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