GUARDS' CEMETERY

Lesboeufs

Somme

France

 

General Directions:  Lesboeufs is a village 16 kilometres north-east of Albert. From Arras take the N17 south. Then after Bapaume, take the D19 to Lesboeufs. Take the right fork by the Church through Le Transloy to Leboeufs village, then take the C5 towards Ginchy. The Cemetery is on the right hand side.

Lesboeufs was attacked by the Guards Division on 15 September 1916 and captured by them on the 25th. It was lost on 24 March 1918 during the great German offensive, after a stubborn resistance by part of the 63rd Bn. Machine Gun Corps, and recaptured on 29 August by the 10th Bn. South Wales Borderers.

At the time of the Armistice, the cemetery consisted of only 40 graves (now Plot I), mainly those of officers and men of the 2nd Grenadier Guards who died on 25 September 1916, but it was very greatly increased when graves were brought in from the battlefields and small cemeteries round Lesboeufs.

There are now 3,136 casualties of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 1,643 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 83 soldiers known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of five casualties buried in Ginchy A.D.S. Cemetery, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire, and three officers of the 2nd Bn. Coldstream Guards, killed in action on 26 September 1916 and known to have been buried together by the roadside near Lesboefs, whose grave could not later be located.

The more considerable burial grounds concentrated into this cemetery were the following:-

FLERS DRESSING STATION CEMETERY, GINCHY, between Delville Wood and Flers, containing the graves of 33 soldiers from Australia and eight from the United Kingdom who fell in September, 1916-March, 1917.

FLERS ROAD CEMETERY, FLERS, on the Flers-Longueval road, containing the graves of 17 soldiers from the United Kingdom, three from New Zealand and one from Australia, who fell in October, 1916.

GINCHY A.D.S. CEMETERY, on the North side of Ginchy village. This was a Field Ambulance cemetery, used from November, 1916 TO March, 1917, and containing the graves of 77 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Australia.

GINCHY R.F.A. CEMETERY, between Ginchy and Flers, containing the graves of 16 Artillerymen from the United Kingdom and five from Australia who fell in October, 1916-February, 1917.

GUARDS' BURIAL GROUND, GINCHY, on the East side of the village, containing the graves of 21 officers and men of the Guards Division who fell on the 15th September, 1916.

NEEDLE DUMP CEMETERY, LESBOEUFS, on the road to Flers, containing the graves of 23 soldiers from Australia and four from the United Kingdom who fell in October, 1916-March, 1917.

NEEDLE DUMP SOUTH CEMETERY, LESBOEUFS, about 50 yards South of Needle Dump Cemetery, containing the graves of 14 soldiers from Australia and nine from the United Kingdom who fell in October, 1916-March, 1917.

SWITCH TRENCH CEMETERY, FLERS, a little East of the Flers-Longueval road, containing 110 (mainly Australian) graves of 1916-17. On the site of another part of Switch Trench, further West, the New Zealand Government have erected one of their two Battlefield Memorials in France.

WINDMILL TRENCH CEMETERY, LESBOEUFS, on the road leading North from Lesboeufs. It was used from September, 1916 to March, 1917, and it contained the graves of 27 soldiers from the United Kingdom and 16 from Australia.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

Casualty Details: UK 2911, Canada 5, Australia 209, New Zealand 11, Total Burials: 3136

Two images of Guards' Cemetery a few years apart. The first image shows building work taking place at the cemetery not long after the end of the war, the second image shows the completed cemetery in the early 1920's.

 

 

17886 Private

F. W. Goodall

7th Bn. Yorkshire Regiment

26/12/1916, aged 21.

Son of John Thomas and Jane Ellen Goodall, of Hampton Inn, Herne Bay, Kent.

Plot V. S. 3.

 

Picture courtesy of John Goodall

 

1778 Private

Joseph Oswald Wilcoxon

Prince of Wales Coy.

1st Bn. Welsh Guards

10/07/1916, aged 22.

Son of Joseph and Annie Wilcoxon, of 21, Alexandra Rd., Wrexham. Native of Coedpoeth, Wrexham.

Plot XIII. N. 30.

 

Joseph Oswald was born at Coedpoeth on October 5th 1893. Son of Joseph and Annie Wilcoxon

His brother Harold was a 2nd Lt with the 13th Welsh Regiment and during their embarkation to France saw Joseph Oswald but was unable to acknowledge him due to his rank, that was the last time he saw his brother alive.  Joseph died on Sunday 10th September 1916 and is buried at Guards Cemetery Lesboeufs, Somme.

 

Picture courtesy of Annette Edwards (nee Wilcoxon), great niece.

 

Captain

William Harold Nicholls

15th Bn. Australian Infantry,

A. I. F.

26/01/1917, aged 29.

Son of William and Catherine Nicholls; husband of Lilian May Nicholls, of 3, Central Terrace, Llanbradach, Cardiff, Wales. Native of Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Plot IV. B. 9.

 

Captain Nicholls born Tenby, South Wales. Emigrated to Australia 1912. Enlisted 21 September 1914 at Ipswich, Queensland, 15th Battalion AIF. Wounded twice at Gallipoli and then at Pozieres , 8 August 1916 in initial attack on Mouquet Farm. During convalescent leave he married Lillian May Fuell at Llanbrabach Parish Church , Wales, 18 September 1916. He returned to France November 1917 and was promoted to Captain of Coy. C, 15th Battalion. He was killed by shell concussion about 10 PM. January 26, 1917 while in his trench dugout northeast of Guedecourt, aged 29 years. He was initially buried in Switch Trench Cemetery and after the war was reburied in the Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs.

 

Picture courtesy of Ralph Bennett

 

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