ABBEVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY AND EXTENSION

Abbeville

Somme

France

 

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The town of Abbeville is on the main road from Paris to Boulogne (N1), about 80 kilometres south of Boulogne. The communal cemetery and communal cemetery extension are located on the left hand side of the road when leaving the town in a north-east direction for Drucat.

CWGC direction signs will be found within the cemetery. Enter the Communal Cemetery by the left hand side main gate and follow CWGC signs within the Cemetery.

GPS Co-ordinates: N50.12101, E1.83220

For much of the First World War, Abbeville was headquarters of the Commonwealth lines of communication and No.3 BRCS, No.5 and No.2 Stationary Hospitals were stationed there variously from October 1914 to January 1920. The communal cemetery was used for burials from November 1914 to September 1916, the earliest being made among the French military graves. The extension was begun in September 1916.

During the early part of the Second World War, Abbeville was a major operational aerodrome, but the town fell to the Germans at the end of May 1940. On 4 June, an attempt was made by the 51st Division, in conjunction with the French, to break the German bridgehead, but without success. Towards the end of 1943, eight large ski shaped buildings appeared near Abbeville. These proved to be storage units for flying bomb components an they were heavily bombed by Commonwealth air forces. Abbeville was retaken on 4 September 1944 by Canadian and Polish units.

Abbeville Communal Cemetery contains 774 Commonwealth burials of First World War and 30 from the Second. The Extension contains 1,754 First World War burials and 348 from the Second.

The Commonwealth sections of both cemetery and extension were designed by
Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Casualty Details (Communal) UK 739, Canada 9, Australia 13, New Zealand 1, South Africa 10, India 2, Total Burials: 774

(Extension) UK 1376, Canada 109, Australia 226, New Zealand 33, South Africa 8, India 2, Total Burials: 1754

 

8628 Private

John Coulson

"C" Coy. 2nd Bn. Yorkshire Regiment

22/11/1916, aged 36.

Husband of Elizabeth A. Coulson, of 29, Stainton St., West Hartlepool.

Plot I. J. 19. (Extension)

Picture courtesy of Tony Rob

 

 

437 Driver

Edward James Furneyvall

31st Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.

23/11/1918

Son of Charles and Annie Furneyvall. Of The Leap, Mackay, Queensland.

Plot V. D. 46. (Extension)

 

 

     

 

 

Victoria Cross: 3026 Lance Corporal, Leonard James Keyworth, VC, 1st/24th Bn. London Regiment, 19/10/1915 aged 22. Communal Cemetery plot III. C. 2. Medal of St. George (2nd Class) of Russia. Son of James and Emma Keyworth, of Lincoln.

CitationAn extract from the "London Gazette," dated 2nd July, 1915, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery at Givenchy on the night of 25-26th May, 1915. After the assault on the German position by the 24th Battalion, London Regt, efforts were made by that Unit to follow up their success by a bomb attack, during the progress of which 58 men out of a total 75 became casualties. During this very fierce encounter Lance-Cpl Keyworth stood fully exposed for 2 hours on the top of the enemy's parapet, and threw about 150 bombs amongst the Germans, who were only a few yards away."

 

403380 Pilot Flying Officer

James Alexander Saint-Smith, DFC. DFM.

627 Sqdn. Royal Australian Air Force

29/06/1944, aged 26.

Son of Raymond and Catherine Mary Saint-Smith, of Earlwood, New South Wales, Australia.

Plot 8. Row D. Joint grave 13-14. (Extension)

 

 403380 Flight Sergeant (Flt Sgt) James Alexander 'Alec' Saint-Smith, 460 Squadron RAAF, seated in the cockpit of the Avro Lancaster bomber 'G for George'. As the first regular captain of the Australian War Memorial's Lancaster 'G for George' (W4789), he flew the aircraft on its first operational sortie to Mannheim in Germany on 6 December 1942. Flt Sgt Saint-Smith flew the aircraft on another 12 occasions, using it as his regular aircraft for the remainder of his tour, which ended in March 1943. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal in March 1943 for gallantry in a mission over Berlin. Later promoted to the rank of Flying Officer, Saint-Smith undertook a second tour of operations with 627 Squadron RAF. During his 73rd operation, Saint-Smith was killed in action on 29 June 1944 when his Mosquito IV (DZ516) crashed near Vaulx, Belgium. He and his navigator, Flying Officer (FO) Geoffrey Ernest Heath DFC, DFM, RAAF (who as an NCO had served as Saint-Smith's navigator throughout his first tour of operations, with 460 Squadron) are now buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension in France. FO Saint-Smith was posthumously awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross on 24 August 1944 for his ‘conspicuous gallantry and determination' in successfully completing numerous sorties over Germany and France with 627 Squadron.

 

 

1343646 Sergeant

John Macfie

61 Sqd. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

25/06/1944, aged 21.

Son of Andrew B. Macfie and Frances Macfie, of Glasgow.

Plot 6. F. 11. (Extension)

"Remembered with Honour"

By his niece Betty McClennan (nee Macfie)

 

 

 

 

 

10584 Corporal

Edwin Benner, MM.

3rd Signal Coy. Australian Engineers

10/11/1918

Son of Arthur Sydney and Francis Annie Benner; husband of Nellie Benner, of 166, St. Mary's Rd., Southampton, England. Native of Tinsley, Sheffield, England.

Plot V. B. 46. (Extension)

 

 

6827 Private

Horace John Towers

32nd Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.

11/11/1918, aged 30.

Son of John and Catherine Towers, of Harte Brooke Rd., Auburn, New South Wales. Of Cootamundra, New South Wales.

Plot V. C. 12. (Extension)

 

 

 

 

W.A.A.C.'s tending soldiers' graves at Abbeville

© IWM (Q 5954) & IWM (Q 8467) © IWM (Q 8469) & © IWM (Q 8470)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8773 Corporal

Harold Burchell

5th Bde. Australian Field Artillery

19/10/1918, aged 32.

Son of Arthur and the late Emily Burchell, of 99, Gilbert St., Adelaide, South Australia.

Plot IV. H. 20. (Extension)

 

 

 

413707 Pilot Officer

Robert Ernest Yarra

Royal Australian Air Force

14/04/1944, aged 21.

Son of Alfred Ernest and Harriet Yarra, of Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia.

Plot 6. Row. H. Grave 3. (Extension)

 

 

 

51896 Private

John Charles Kennewell

57th Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.

22/11/1918

Son of A. J. and Rose John Kennewell, of Gawler East. South Australia.

Plot V. D. 49. (Extension)

 

730 Private

Herbert Robert Duncan Cherry

35th Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.

15/11/1918

Son of James and Ellen Cherry; husband of Margaret E. Cherry, of Killingworth, New South Wales. of Barnsley, New South Wales.

Plot V. D. 6. (Extension)

 

 

4895 Driver

Robert Thomas Straughair

16th Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.

21/10/1918, aged 23.

Son of Robert and Sarah Straughair. His brother George Angove Straughair also fell.

Plot IV. H. 23. (Extension)

 

 

 

644 Private

Gordon Leslie White

32nd Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.

14/10/1918, aged 21.

Son of Thomas Reid White and Amelia Sarah White, of 2, McDonnel Avenue, Hindmarsh, South Australia.

Plot IV. H. 5. (Extension)

 

 

5351 Private

Thomas Harman Cooper

53rd Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.

29/05/1917

From Majura, NSW. Enlisted on 5th November 1915.

Plot III. A. 17.