ARRAS ROAD CEMETERY

Roclincourt

Pas de Calais

France

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The ruins of Roclincourt, north of Arras (30 June 1917)

IWM (Q 69006)

General Directions: Roclincourt is a village a little east of the road from Arras to Lens and Lille. Arras Road Cemetery is on the west side of the main N17 road from Arras to Lens, about 6 kilometres north of Arras, and north of the village of Roclincourt.

Roclincourt was just within the British lines before the Battles of Arras, 1917; the 51st (Highland) and 34th Divisions advanced from the village on the 9th April, 1917, and the 1st Canadian Division attacked on their left, across the Lens road.

Arras Road Cemetery was begun by the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade soon after the 9th April, 1917, and until the Armistice it contained only the graves (now at the back of the cemetery) of 71 officers and men of the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion (British Columbia Regiment) who fell in April, May and June, 1917; but in 1926-29, it was enlarged by the addition of 993 graves from a wide area, mainly North and East of Arras. Amongst these were graves from the following burial grounds:-

BAISIEUX CHURCHYARD (Nord): six, October, 1918.
BELLAING CHURCHYARD (Nord): two Canadian, October, 1918.
BOURLON COMMUNAL CEMETERY (Pas-de-Calais): one, September, 1916, and one Canadian, September, 1918.
COMINES COMMUNAL CEMETERY (Nord): five (including one Canadian), 1914-1917. The permanent GERMAN EXTENSION on the West side contains 2,257 identified and 1,903 unidentified German graves.
ECAILLON CHURCHYARD (Nord): one, January, 1919.
GIVENCHY-LES-LA BASSEE CHURCHYARD (Pas-de-Calais). Givenchy is associated with (among other episodes) the stand made by the 55th (West Lancashire) Division in April, 1918.
MAIRIEUX CHURCHYARD (Nord): one, November, 1918.
MOUCHIN CHURCHYARD (Nord): two, October, 1918.
PENIN CHURCHYARD (Pas-de-Calais): one, November, 1916.
PERONNE-EN-MELANTOIS CHURCHYARD (Nord): four, October, 1918.
RUMEGIES CHURCHYARD (Nord): ten, October and November, 1918.
SAINGHIN-EN-MELANTOIS CHURCHYARD (Nord): three, March, 1917 - October, 1918.
SIN CHURCHYARD, BAISIEUX (Nord): three, April - November, 1918.
TINCQUES CHURCHYARD (Pas-de-Calais): one, May, 1916.
VENDIN-LE-VIEIL COMMUNAL CEMETERY (Pas-de-Calais): one, September, 1915.
WANNEHAIN CHURCHYARD (Nord): two, October and November, 1918.

There are now over 1,000, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site.

The cemetery covers an area of 4,084 square metres. It is enclosed on three sides by a stone rubble wall, and against the road by a retaining wall. Old dug-outs exist under the North-East corner and on the South-West boundary.

Casualty Details: UK 930, Canada 111, Australia 22, New Zealand 1, Total Burials: 1064

     
Victoria Cross: Captain Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby, V C, M C, Twice Mentioned in Despatches. "C" Company, 2nd Bn. South Staffordshire Regiment, 25/09/1915, aged 30. Only son of Sandford and Alice F. Kilby. Born at East Hayes, Cheltenham. Plot III. N. 27.

Citation: An extract from the London Gazette, dated 30th March, 1916, records the following (and it is known that a memorial of the event was erected by the enemy on the spot):- "For most conspicuous bravery. Captain Kilby was specially selected at his own request, and on account of the gallantry which he had previously displayed on many occasions, to attack with his Company a strong enemy redoubt. The Company charged along the narrow towpath, headed by Captain Kilby, who, though wounded at the outset, continued to lead his men right up to the enemy wire under a devastating machine gun fire and a shower of bombs. Here he was shot down, but, although his foot had been blown off, he continued to cheer on his men and to use a rifle. Captain Kilby has been missing since the date of the performance of this great act of valour, and his death has now to be presumed."

Captain Kilby's heroism was acknowledged by the German defenders who erected a memorial cross at the location of his death. His body was eventually found on 19 February 1929 and interred at Arras Road Cemetery, Roclincourt.

 

  Shot at Dawn: 9970 Private Alfred Leonard Jefferies, 6th Bn. Somerset Light Infantry, executed for desertion on 01/11/1916. Son of Leonard and Georgina Jefferies, of 33, Edward Street, St. Philip's, Bristol. His brother, Arthur Thomas, also fell. Plot III. O. 1.

The mass pardon of 306 British Empire soldiers executed for certain offences during the Great War was enacted in section 359 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, which came into effect on royal assent on 8 November 2006.

 

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Used with permission www.cwgc.org

7060 Private

Arthur Watt Knox

2nd Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.

04/05/1917, aged 25.

Son of James and Mary Lucy Knox, of "Loloma," Kelso St., Enfield, New South Wales. Born at Lidcombe, New South Wales.

Plot III. N. 33.