FINS NEW BRITISH CEMETERY

Sorel-le-Grand

Somme

France

 

General Directions: Fins is a village on the road between Cambrai and Peronne. The British Cemetery is a little south-east of the village in the district of Sorel Le Grand on the right hand side of the road to Heudicourt.

Fins and Sorel were occupied at the beginning of April 1917, in the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line. They were lost on the 23 March 1918, after a stubborn defence of Sorel by the 6th K.O.S.B. and the staff of the South African Brigade; and they were regained in the following September.

The first British burials at Fins were carried out in the Churchyard and the Churchyard Extension, and the New British Cemetery was not begun until July 1917. It was used by fighting units (especially the 40th, 61st (South Midland) and 9th (Scottish) Divisions) and Field Ambulances until March, 1918, when it comprised about 590 graves in Plots I to IV. It was then used by the Germans, who added 255 burials, including 26 British, in Plots IV, V, and VI. In September and October 1918, about 73 British soldiers were buried by the 33rd and other Divisions, partly in Plots I and II, but mainly in Plots V and VI. Lastly, Plots VII and VIII were made, and other Plots completed, by the concentration of 591 graves after Armistice from the surrounding battlefields and from other smaller cemeteries, including:-

EQUANCOURT CHURCHYARD, where three soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried in 1917 and 1918.

FINS CHURCHYARD, in which nine soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried in April, 1917.

FINS CHURCHYARD EXTENSION, which was on the North side of the churchyard, within the enclosure of a house. It contained the graves of 121 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Canada, who fell in April July 1917, and one German soldier who fell in March 1918.

SOREL-LE-GRAND GERMAN CEMETERY, on the West side of the village, opposite the Communal Cemetery. Here were buried, some by the enemy and some by their comrades, 17 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1916-1918.

There are now 1289, First World War casualties commemorated in this site. Of these 208 are unidentified, and special memorials are erected to nine soldiers from the United Kingdom who are believed to be buried among them. Another special memorial records the name of a soldier from the United Kingdom, buried in Fins Churchyard Extension, whose grave could not be found on concentration. Nine graves in Plot VIII, Row E, identified as a whole but not individually, are marked by headstones bearing the words: "Buried near this spot." There are also 276 German burials here, 89 being unidentified.

This cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

 

Shot at Dawn: 6565 Private, Harry James Knight, 1st Bn. The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment,) executed for desertion 06/10/1918, Son of Mrs. Ellen Elizabeth Knight, of 2, Lower Addiscombe Road, West Croydon, Surrey. Plot VI. E. 20.

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. 

Casualty Details: UK 1193, Canada 5, Australia 2, New Zealand 3, South Africa 87, Germany 233, Total Burials: 1523

 

 

 

 

14042 Serjeant

William Bassett

117th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry).

31/01/1918, aged 29.

Photos courtesy of  his Granddaughter, Janet Thomas of Australia

 

 

 

151577 Gunner

Luke William Mather

294th Siege Battery

Royal Garrison Artillery

21/03/1918

Son of Luke William and Elizabeth (nee Highfield) Mather father of Ronald James, Dora Elizabeth, William Ernest Luke and Marjorie Ethel.
Plot IV. D. 12.

 

Picture courtesy of Grandson John Leonard Mather who would be happy to hear from any relatives

 

18459 Private

Philip George Newham

9th Bn. Machine Gun Corps.

(Infantry)

21/03/1918, aged 25.

Son of Francis and Honora Newham, of 61, Graylands Rd., Peckham, London.

Plot IV. D. 20.

 

Picture courtesy of Dave Sellens

 

 

     

55745 Private

Reginald Percy Knowles

8th Bn. Devonshire Regiment,

transf. to (103460), 173rd Coy. Labour Corps.

10/12/1917, aged 26.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Job Knowles, of Town Mills, Honiton, Devon;

husband of Amy Knowles, of 40, Bolsover St., Great Portland St., London, W.1.

Plot III. A. 12.

Picture courtesy of Patrick Kenney, Reginald was his grandmother's first husband

 

 

Second Lieutenant

Thomas V. Tyrwhitt-Drake

1st Bn. Rifle Brigade

29/01/1917

Plot VII. G. 19.

 

25827 Private

Milton Frank Parsons

7th Bn. Somerset Light Infantry

12/10/1917, aged 33.

Plot I. F. 16.

Son of James and Eliza Parsons of Westbury on Trym, Bristol.   Husband of Ethel Parsons and father of Iris, Gladys Myrtle and Alfred. Milton was accidentally shot by one of his own comrades whilst returning from a routine patrol.

This extract describes Milton's death:

Pictures courtesy of grandson, Les Parsons

 

55504 Private

Frederick Willis

7th Bn. York and Lancaster Regiment

20/09/1918, aged 39.

Son of John Willis, of 10, Agar Terrace, Girlington, Bradford, Yorks; husband of Catherine Willis, of 63, Marrowbone Lane, Cork St., Dublin.

Plot VI. D. 18.

 

Picture courtesy of his granddaughter Pauline of Bristol, England

 

34072 Private

Frank Minniss

1st Bn. Worcestershire Regiment

04/03/1917, aged 26.

Son of Richard and Annie Minniss, of 15, Sand St., Burnley.

Plot VII. E. 22.

 

 

 

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