LICHFIELD CRATER CEMETERY

Thelus

Pas de Calais

France

 

General Directions: Lichfield Crater is a small cemetery situated by the hedge of the motorway A26 (Paris-Calais) behind the village of Neuville St Vaast. On entering Neuville St Vaast follow the directions for the Vimy Canadian Memorial and take the third road on the right toward the wood, go over the motorway and take the first right towards the fields. The cemetery lies in a field approximately 450 metres from the crossroads.

Lichfield Crater was one of two mine craters (the other being Zivy Crater) which were used by the Canadian Corps Burial Officer in 1917 for the burial of bodies found on the Vimy battlefield. The numerous groups of graves made about this time by the Canadians were not named as a rule, but serially lettered and numbered; the original name for Lichfield Crater was CB 2 A. The crater is essentially a mass graves and contains 57 First World War burials, 15 of them unidentified. All of the men buried here died on 9 or 10 April 1917 with one exception, a soldier who died in April 1916, whose grave was found on the edge of the crater after the Armistice and is the only one marked by a headstone. The names of the rest of those buried in the crater are inscribed on panels fixed to the boundary wall.

The cemetery was designed by William Harrison Cowlishaw

VICTORIA CROSS:

Lance Serjeant Ellis Welwood SIFTON, VC, 53730, 18th Bn. Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment). Killed in action 09/04/1917, aged 25. Panel 3. Column 2.

Citation: An extract from The London Gazette, dated 8th June, 1917, records the following:-'' For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. During the attack in enemy trenches Sjt. Sifton's company was held up by machine gun fire which inflicted many casualties. Having located the gun he charged it single-handed, killing all the crew. A small enemy party advanced down the trench, but he succeeded keeping these off till our men had gained the position. In carrying out this gallant act he was killed, but his conspicuous valour undoubtedly saved many lives and contributed largely to the success of the operation."

Further Information: Access and parking can be difficult, the cemetery is in the middle of a field and during wet weather the grassed path can be treacherous.

Casualty Details: UK 5, Canada 52, Total Burials: 57

The single identified grave

 

 

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