NAVES COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION
General Directions: Naves is a small village about 5 kilometres north-east of Cambrai on the road to Saulzoir (D114). The Communal Cemetery is on the south side of the road a little south-west of the village at the entrance to the village coming from Cambrai.
The Extension was begun by the 49th (West Riding) Division in October, 1918, after the capture of the village on the 10th. The 31 graves then made are now in Plot V; Plots I to IV were made after the Armistice, by the concentration of graves from smaller cemeteries and from the battlefields of Cambrai. Among the graves thus concentrated were those of many Lancashire Fusiliers and King's Own Royal Lancasters who fell in August, 1914.
There are now nearly 450, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over a quarter are unidentified and special memorials are erected to four soldiers of the 8th Northumberland Fusiliers, buried in Eswars German Cemetery, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. The grave of one American soldier has been removed to another cemetery.
The Extension covers an area of 1,446 square metres and is enclosed by a low red brick wall.
The following were among the burial grounds from which British graves were removed to Naves Communal Cemetery Extension:-
ESWARS COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION, which contained the graves of seven soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Canada who fell in October, 1918.
HILLTOP CEMETERY, LESDAIN, between Lesdain and Seranvillers, containing the graves of 17 New Zealand and six German soldiers who fell in October, 1918.
MAUROIS BRITISH CEMETERY, on the Maurois-Maretz road, containing the graves of 15 South African soldiers who fell on the 14th October, 1918.
PAILLENCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY, close to the Sensee river, containing the graves of twelve soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Canada who fell on the 16th October, 1918.
THUN-ST. MARTIN BRITISH CEMETERY, in the middle of the village. Here were buried 18 soldiers from the United Kingdom (mainly of the 51st (Highland) Division) and three from Canada, who fell in October, 1918.
Corporal James McPhie, VC, 416th (Edinburgh) Field Company, Royal Engineers, died of wounds 14/10/1918 aged 24, plot II. E. 4. Son of Allan and Elizabeth McPhie, of 112, Rose St., Edinburgh.
Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 31155, dated 28th Jan., 1919, records the following:- " For most conspicuous bravery on the 14th October, 1918, when with a party of sappers maintaining a cork float bridge across the Canal de la Sensee near Aubencheul-au-Bac. The further end of the bridge was under close machine gun fire and within reach of hand grenades. When Infantry just before dawn were crossing it, closing up resulted and the bridge began to sink and break. Accompanied by a sapper, he jumped into the water and endeavoured to hold the cork and timbers together, but this they failed to do. Cpl. McPhie then swam back, and, having reported the broken bridge, immediately started to collect material for repair. It was now daylight. Fully aware that the bridge was under close fire and that the far bank was almost entirely in the hands of the enemy, with the inspiring words " It is death or glory work which must be done for the sake of our patrol on the other side," he led the way, axe in hand, on to the bridge and was at once severely wounded, falling partly into the water, and died after receiving several further wounds. It was due to the magnificent example set by Cpl. McPhie that touch was maintained with the patrol on the enemy bank at a most critical period."
Casualty Details: UK 322, Canada 50, Australia 4, New Zealand 53, South Africa 15, Total Burials: 444
7th Bn. Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
13/10/1918, aged 23.
Plot I. A. 17.
Son of James
and Annie Ross nee Stevenson, of 19 Nimmo's Rows, New Stevenston,
Lanarkshire. prior to enlisting David was a miner in James Nimmo's
Collieries, Holytown, Lanarkshire.
Picture courtesy of great niece, Mary Garraton
Bert John Robinson
2nd Bn. Suffolk Regiment
08/10/1918, aged 27.
Son of Mrs. Harriet Robinson, of 29, Eden St., Cambridge
Plot I. F. 2
Picture courtesy of Andy Kin, great, great nephew