A. I. F. BURIAL GROUND

Flers

Somme

France

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A.I.F. Burial Ground is 2 kilometres 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 kilometres to the village of Le Sars. Turn left eastwards on the D11 in the direction of Geudecourt for 3.5 kilometres 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.

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, who graves could not be found. The cemetery also contains 170 French and 3 German war graves.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

Casualty Details:  UK 2815, Canada 67, Australia 417, New Zealand 89, South Africa 27, Unidentified 60, Germany3, France 164, Total Burials: 3580

 

 

 

Victoria Cross: Serjeant Harold Jackson, VC,

C Company, 7th Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment, killed in action on 24/08/1918, aged 26 and buried in plot XV. A. 21/30., Son of Thomas and Mary Ann Jackson, of "Allandales", Kirton, Boston.

Citation: An extract from The "London Gazette", dated 7th May, 1918, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Sjt. Jackson volunteered and went out through the hostile barrage and brought back valuable information regarding the enemy's movements. Later, when the enemy had established themselves in our line, this N.C.O. rushed at them, and single-handed, bombed them out into the open. Shortly afterwards, again single-handed, he stalked an enemy machine-gun, threw Mills bombs at the detachment, and put the gun out of action. On a subsequent occasion when all his officers had become casualties, this very gallant N.C.O. led his company in the attack, and, when ordered to retire, he withdrew the company successfully under heavy fire. He then went out repeatedly under heavy fire and carried in wounded."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/3022 Private

William George Geary

16th (Waikoto) Coy. 1st Bn. Auckland Regiment.

N. Z. E. F.

30/09/1916, aged 20.

Son of William and Selina Geary, of Cameron Rd., Tauranga, New Zealand.

Member of Manchester U.I.O. of Oddfellows.

Plot I. K. 30.

 

Picture courtesy of great, great, great niece, Hannah

 

 

38638 Private

J. W. Tatam

2nd Bn. Lincolnshire Regiment

28/08/1918

Plot XI. C. 9.

 

Picture courtesy of granddaughter Mrs C. Miller (nee Tatum)

 

 

 

 

 

1868 Private

Henry George Ashford

59th Bn. Australian Infantry,

A. I. F.

23/11/1916, aged 18.

Son of John Oakenville Ashford and Elizabeth Ashford, of Satur, Scone, New South Wales.

Plot IV. L. 25.

 

Picture courtesy of Harry Willey

 
 

View of the battlefield between Flers and Martinpuich; 15th September 1916.

IWM (Q 195)

 

Those with awards and decorations within this cemetery

Cpl. George Ashmore M.M., 9th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment, died 25th Sept. 1916. Aged 29. II. L. 9.

Capt. James Wilfred Battersby M.C., 53rd Bty. 2nd Brig. Royal Field Artillery, died 24th Oct. 1916 aged 26. II. K. 27.

Bmdr. Allan Edward Beeks M.M., 1st Brig. Australian Field Artillery. K.I.A. 12th Nov. 1916 aged 22. I. A. 3.

Bty. S.M. Robert Birnie M.C., New Zealand Field Artillery. K.I.A. 21st Oct. 1916. I. E. 23.

C.S.M. P. Carr D.C.M., M.M., 7th Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment. Died 27th Aug. 1918. III. K. 9.

Pte. H. H. Cox M.M., 6th Bn. Northamptonshire Regiment, died 5th April 1918. XV. M. 30.

Pte. William Hopkins Davies M.M., 2nd Bn. South Wales Borderers, died 28th Jan. 1917 aged 22. H. M. 17.

Sgt. W. Emery D.C.M., 6th Bn. King's Own Scottish Borderers, died 19th Oct. 1916. XV. M. 21.

C.S.M. Enos England D.C.M., M.M., 6th Bn. Dorsetshire Regiment, K.I.A. 24th Aug. 1918 aged 24. XV. A. 21/30

Cpl. Kenneth Holmes Fairey M.M., 2nd Bty. 1st Brig. Australian Field Artillery. K.I.A. 12th Nov. 1916 aged 21. I. A. 4.

Capt. Leonard Farthing M.C., 2nd Bn. East Lancashire Regiment. K.I.A. near Lesboeufs 16th Nov. 1916 aged 28. Served 13 years with 1st Royal Dragoons. III. D. 27.

Cpl. Francis John Herbert Fear D.C.M., No. 1 Field Coy. N.Z. Engineers. K.I.A. 20th Sept. 1916. I. E. 13.

Sgt. Harry Sydney Guthrie M.M., 17th Bn. Manchester Regiment. K.I.A. 11th Oct. 1916 aged 27. VIII. B. 1.

Pte. Cyril Hant M.M., 10th Bn. West Yorkshire Regiment, K.I.A. 25th Aug. 1918 aged 29. XV. A. 21/30

Capt. Horace William Harriman M.C., 8th attd. 9th Bn. Duke of Wellington Regiment. Died 1st Sept. 1918 aged 27. IV. D. 7.

Cpl. E. Harrison M.M., 7th Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment. Died 27th Aug. 1918. III. K. 1.

2nd Lt. Roger Hugh Ingoldby, Mentioned in Despatches, 2nd Bn. Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Died 1st July 1916 aged 30. In Canada when war broke out. Joined the Alberta Dragoons as a private, going to France in Feb. 1915. Gazetted to a Commission a few months later. VI. H. 26.

 

Number of Burials by Unit
 

Australian burials
273
  Royal Fusiliers - City of London Regiment
85
New Zealand burials
55
  Manchester Regiment
50
Durham Light Infantry
40
  Rifle Brigade
37
King's Royal Rifle Corps
33
  Canadian burials
29
Duke of Wellington - West Riding Regiment
24
  South Wales Borderers
23
King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
22
  Bedfordshire Regiment
21
Machine Gun Corps
20
  Royal Irish Rifles
20
Middlesex Regiment
19
  Scots Guards
17
Dorsetshire Regiment
16
  East Yorkshire Regiment
16
Highland Light Infantry
16
  Leicestershire Regiment
15
Queen's - Royal West Surrey Regiment
15
  Royal Engineers
15
Hampshire Regiment
14
  King's Liverpool Regiment
13
Royal Field Artillery
13
  Green Howards - Yorkshire Regiment
12
Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
12
  Royal Scots Fusiliers
12
Border Regiment
11
  Lancashire Fusiliers
11
Monmouthshire Regiment
11
  Royal Navy Division - infantry
10
West Yorkshire Regiment
10
  Worcestershire Regiment
10
Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry
9
  Wiltshire Regiment
9
Grenadier Guards
8
  Cameronians - Scottish Rifles
7
Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
7
  South Lancashire Regiment
7
Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment
7
  Artistes Rifles
6
Coldstream Guards
6
  Essex Regiment
6
King's Own Scottish Borderers
6
  Northamptonshire Regiment
6
Royal Welsh Fusiliers
6
  York & Lancaster Regiment
6
East Lancashire Regiment
5
  Royal Irish Regiment
5
Royal Warwickshire Regiment
5
  Seaforth Highlanders
5
Somerset Light Infantry
5
  Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
4
Black Watch
4
  1st/5th Bn. London Regiment - London Rifle Brigade
4
Northumberland Fusiliers
4
  Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
4
Royal Irish Fusiliers
4
  Royal Sussex Regiment
4
Royal West Kent Regiment
4
  Welsh Regiment
4
Welsh Guards
4
  Buffs - East Kent Regiment
3
Gloucestershire Regiment
3
  Lincolnshire Regiment
3
1st/13th Bn. London Regiment - Kensington
3
  Royal Munster Fusiliers
3
Royal Marines Light Infantry
3
  South African Regiment
3
Cheshire Regiment
2
  1st/2nd Bn. London Regiment - Royal Fusiliers
2
1st/4th Bn. London Regiment - Royal Fusiliers
2
  1st/7th Bn. London Regiment
2
1st/14th Bn. London Regiment - London Scottish
2
  Royal Dublin Fusiliers
2
Royal Army Service Corps
2
  Connaught Rangers
1
Irish Guards
1
  King's Hussars
1

King's Shropshire Light Infantry

1
  1st/1st Bn. London Regiment - Royal Fusiliers
1
1st/3rd Bn. London Regiment - Royal Fusiliers
1
  1st/6th Bn. London Regiment - Rifles
1
1st/17th Bn. London Regiment - Poplar & Stepney Rifles
1
  Norfolk Regiment
1
1st/9th Bn. London Regiment - Queen Victoria's Rifles
1
  Royal Berkshire Regiment
1
Royal Garrison Artillery
1
  South Staffordshire Regiment
1
Suffolk Regiment
1
  Tank Corps
1
Identified burials
1211
     
Unidentified burials
2262
     
Total burials
3473
  Collated by Barry Cuttell