BANCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY

Bancourt

Pas de Calais

France

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  General Directions: Bancourt is a village which lies approximately 4 kilometres due east of Bapaume on the north side of the D7, Bapaume to Bertincourt road. Bancourt British Cemetery is situated east of Bancourt village, 300 metres off the D7 on the north side. The CWGC direction signs on the D7 indicate the best approach to the cemetery.

Bancourt was occupied by Commonwealth forces in March 1917. It was lost a year later during the German offensive in the spring of 1918, but recaptured by the New Zealand Division (in particular, the 2nd Auckland Battalion) on 30 August 1918. The cemetery was begun by the New Zealand Division in September 1918; the original cemetery is now Plot I, Rows A and B. The remainder of the cemetery was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields east and south of Bancourt and from certain Allied and German cemeteries, including:-

BAPAUME RESERVOIR GERMAN CEMETERY, on the Bapaume Beaulencourt road, containing the graves of twelve soldiers from the United Kingdom buried by a German Field Ambulance in March and April, 1918, and of seven others and three from New Zealand who fell at the end of August, 1918. BAPAUME ROAD CEMETERY, BEAULENCOURT, a500 metres South of the Beaulencourt-Gueudecourt road, containing the graves of 20 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in October, 1916.

BEAULENCOURT ROAD CEMETERIES, three in number, on the North-East side of Gueudecourt, containing the graves of 88 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in the autumn of 1916 or in April, 1917. CLOUDY TRENCH CEMETERY, GUEUDECOURT, containing the graves of 40 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in October or November, 1916.

The five cemeteries last named were made by the 5th Australian Division in April, 1917.

FREMICOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION. This Extension was begun by the Germans, who buried in it 1,346 of their own soldiers and 136 officers and men from the United Kingdom who fell in March, 1918. It was taken over in September, 1918, by British and Dominion units, who used it for clearing the battlefields and for fresh burials, and added 94 graves. All the graves have now been removed to other cemeteries. SUNKEN ROAD CEMETERY, LESBOEUFS, between Gueudecourt and Le Transloy, made by the 5th Australian Division in April, 1917. It contained the graves of 49 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Australia who fell in October, 1916.

The great majority of these graves dated from the winter of 1916-1917, the retreat of March 1918, or the advance of August-September 1918.

Bancourt British Cemetery now contains 2,480 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 1,462 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 43 casualties known or believed to be buried among them, and to one soldier buried in Bapaume Reservoir German Cemetery, whose grave could not be found on concentration.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens & George Hartley Goldsmith

Casualty Details: UK 2040, Canada 13, Australia 249, Newfoundland 1, New Zealand 177, Total Burials: 2480

 

     

     

 

 

 

 

 

474 Private

Michael Byrne

B Coy. 29th Bn. Australian Infantry. A. I. F.

02/03/1917, aged 24.

Plot VII. F. 16.

Michael was killed March 2nd 1917, in an attack by the 29th Battalion to take Sunray Trench from the 8th Bavarian Regiment. Michael was born in Harbour Grace Newfoundland in 1893. He was the son of John William and Elizabeth Byrne of Harbour Grace, and one of five siblings. Although listed by the CWGC as an Australian casualty, Michael was actually a Newfoundlander and the casualty statistics above have been altered to show this.

Image courtesy John Michael Byrne, Michael Byrne's Great nephew.

S/34613 Rifleman

Robert Howell

13th Bn. Rifle Brigade

01/10/1918, aged 20.

Plot I. C. 5.Born in Bromley, Kent. Son of Robert & Susan Howell (nee Fuller), of 37, Star Lane, Canning Town, London. They had 14 children:

Florence Alice Howell (b. 1878), William Robert Howell (b. 1879), Harriet Susan (Doll) Howell (b. 1881), Alfred George Howell (b. 1883), Albert Edward Howell (b. 1885), Henry John C Howell (b. 1887), Charles Robert Howell (b. 1889), Mary Louisa Howell (b. 1891), Rebecca Howell (b. 1892), Ada Elizabeth (b. 1895), Edward Thomas Howell (b. 1896), Robert George Howell (b. 1898), Rosina Winifred Howell (b. 1900), Jessie May Howell (b. 1904)

Resident of Canning Town, Essex. Enlisted at Stratford, Essex.

 Information provided by Bill (nephew of Robert) & Hazel Howell

 

     
Victoria Cross: 14951 Serjeant David Jones, VC. 12th Bn. The King's (Liverpool Regiment), 07/10/1916, aged 25. Plot. V. F. 20.

Citation: An extract from the London Gazette, No. 29802, dated 24th Oct., 1916, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty, and ability displayed in the handling of his platoon. The platoon to which he belonged was ordered to a forward position, and during the advance came under heavy machine gun fire, the officer being killed and the platoon suffering heavy losses Serjt. Jones led-forward the remainder, occupied the position, and held it for two days and two nights without food or water, until relieved. On the second day he drove back three counter-attacks, inflicting heavy losses. His coolness was most praiseworthy. It was due entirely to his resource and example that his men retained confidence and held their post."

The action for which David Jones received the Victoria Cross took place at Guillemont in the first week of September 1916, he was killed a month later and buried at Bancourt.

Shot at Dawn:  11606 Private W. Clarke, 2nd Bn. Durham Light Infantry, executed for desertion on 09/02/1918, Plot I. D. 18.

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.

 

 

     

421 Private

Clifford Vernon Love

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

24/12/1916, aged 22.

Son of John and Eliza Love, of Sydney. Native of Walcha, New South Wales.

Plot VIII. C. 20.

 

 

1938 Private

Frank Hillman Hitchins

59th Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.

08/02/1917, aged 21.

Son of M. J. and Julia A. Hitchins, of Hill End, Victoria, Australia.

Plot VII. K. 3.

     
     

5137 Private

George Thomas Laman

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

24/12/1916, aged 22.

Son of Henry and Matilda Laman, of Martin St., Lidcombe, New South Wales. Native of Nelson's Bay.

Plot VIII. D. 9.

 

Lieutenant

Walter Fenwick Matthews

13th Bde. Australian Field Artillery

27/05/1917, aged 30.

Son of Walter Alfred and Emmeline L. Matthews, of Clare, South Australia. Native of Clarendon.

Plot II. K. 7.

     

 

 

23879 Private

Thomas Robson Irwin

2nd Bn. East Lancashire Regiment

23/10/1916, aged 23.

Son of William J. and Margaret Ann Irwin, of Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Plot VIII. C. 14.

 

Image courtesy of niece, Gillian Wilkinson