BOIS-CARRÉ BRITISH CEMETERY
Pas de Calais
General Directions: Thelus is a village 7 kilometres north of Arras and Bois-Carre British Cemetery is 1 kilometre east of the village on the south side of the D49 road to Bailleul-sire-Berthoult.
Thelus village, which stands on the Vimy Ridge, was captured by the Canadian Corps on the 9th April, 1917, and it remained in British hands until the end of the War. The commune contains Battle Memorials of the 1st Canadian Division and (at Les Tilleuls) the Canadian Artillery. Bois-Carre British Cemetery was begun by units of the 1st Canadian Division in April, 1917, and used until the following June, and the 61 graves thus made are in Plot I. It was greatly enlarged after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the surrounding battlefields, and a Canadian soldier, accidentally killed in 1919, was buried in Plot I, Row F.
The following were the larger burial grounds from which graves were concentrated to this cemetery:- Bumble Trench Cemetery, Vimy, (CC 186)* on the road from Vimy to Lens before the railway crossing. Here were buried, in May-August, 1917, nineteen Canadian soldiers and five from the United Kingdom. Canadian Grave (CD 27)* Neuville-St. Vaast, 1,828 metres West of Petit-Vimy, in which 48 Canadian soldiers who fell on the 9th April, 1917, were buried; almost all belonged to the 54th and 102nd Battalions. Vimy Station Cemetery, where 17 Canadian soldiers were buried in April and May, 1917.
Further Information: * On many occasions burial plots administered by the Canadian Burial Officer were given a serial number as opposed to a name, these are shown here and marked with an asterisk.
Casualty Details: UK 120, Canada 382, Total Burials: 502
42nd Bn. Canadian Infantry
Plot V. B. 5.
Two excerpts from the book "Ghosts Have Warm Hands" by Will R. Bird, published in 1968 by Clarke, Irwin & Co. of Toronto relating to Herman Black
p. 12 " At dusk another sergeant came and led us to Neuville St. Vaast to join the battalion. It was January 3, 1917. We were told the place had once been a town built on chalk, but shell fire had reduced it to rubble. Soldiers occupied the cellars. We were divided into groups and eleven of us were shunted into a cellar, in whcih were timbers holding shreds of wires. They had been bunks once. Rats ran into holes as we lit candles and then came briefly back and stared at us. It was a cold and wet-smelling place. We sat on our packs and wondered. There was Arthur Burke, Herman Black, Lauire Bacon, Mel Baillie, Belliveau, Roy Baxter, Earle Black, Ira Black, brown, Mickey, and myself. Our guide had gone. Not an order had been given us, we knew nothing about the lines, where we drew rations, or what platoons we were supposed to be with."
p. 37. Recounting his death at Vimy Ridge "Herman Black had run amuck. They found him almost at the bottom of the Ridge, near a battery position, with eight dead Germans about him, four of them killed by bayonet."
Picture courtesy of great niece, Sandra Guinan