VAULX HILL CEMETERY

Vaulx-Vraucourt

Pas de Calais

France

 

General Directions: Vaulx-Vraucourt is a village in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, 6 kilometres north-east of Bapaume. Vaulx Hill Cemetery is signposted from the village. Take the RD36 direction Lagnicourt up the hill, and the Cemetery can be seen at the road side 1 kilometre from Vaulx-Vraucourt.

Vaulx-Vraucourt village was taken in the spring of 1917, lost (after severe fighting) in March 1918, and retaken in the following September. Vaulx Hill Cemetery started with just 17 graves of September 1918 (in Plot I, Rows A and B). The rest of the cemetery was formed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from other cemeteries and from the battlefields in the immediate neighbourhood.

Victoria Cross:

Lieutenant Cecil Harold Sewell, VC, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) and 3rd (Light) Tank Bn. Tank Corps. Killed in action 29/08/1918 aged 23. Plot I. D. 3. Son of Harry Bolton Sewell and Mary Ann Sewell, of 26 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London. His brothers Harry Kemp Sewell and Herbert Victor Sewell also fell.

Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 30982, dated 29th Oct., 1918, records the following:-'' When in command of a section of Whippet Light Tanks in action this officer displayed most conspicuous bravery and initiative in getting out of his own Tank and crossing open ground under heavy shell and machine-gun fire to rescue the crew of another Whippet of his section which had side slipped into a large shell-hole, overturned and taken fire. The door of the Tank having become jammed against the side of the shell-hole, Lt. Sewell, by his own unaided efforts, dug away the entrance to the door and released the crew. In so doing he undoubtedly saved the lives of the officer and men inside the Tank as they could not have got out without his assistance. After having extricated the crew, seeing one of his own crew lying wounded behind his Tank, he again dashed across the open ground to his assistance. He was hit in doing so, but succeeded in reaching the Tank when a few minutes later he was again hit, fatally, in the act of dressing his wounded driver. During the whole of this period he was within full view and short range of the enemy machine guns and rifle-pits, and throughout, by his prompt and heroic action, showed an utter disregard for his own personal safety."

Casualty Details: UK 687, Canada 1, Australia 110, New Zealand 58, Total Burials: 856

 

A  NEW  HAT

 

By John Miller

 

Peace and quiet consume me

as I spend my well earned rest

Dwelling on my life that was,

 I know I passed the test

My fallen mates beside me,

 they’re hero’s one and all

For paying life's eternal price

 in answering the call.

 

Suddenly a strange sensation

 wakes me from my sleep

Muffled voices trickle down

 beneath the earth so deep

The sound of footsteps gathered close-

 it makes me wonder why?

For ninety years the strolling echo’s

 simply wandered by.

 

Could it be that someone close

 remembers where I lay?

Is my memory still endeared

 from long gone yesterday?

A nameless face within a frame

 on every mantle piece

Is what becomes of all of us

 when distant memories cease--.

 

The muffled thud of closing doors

 awaken me again

The whining sound of motors

 in the distance start to wane

My spirit reaches upwards –

 ever slowly through the ground

To view the tell-tale poppy

 of friends so newly found.

 

A Poppy? yes and flag as well!

 I feel a sense of pride

Knowing they remember well

 the reason that I died

But what is this? There’s something else

 been left beside my stone

A brand new hat with badge and strap

 like one I used to own.

 

I wish I had a chance to meet

 my visitors today

To find out what connected us

 and what would make them stray

To a plot of land within a field

 in a foreign country side

To lay a flag, new hat and flower

 where soldiers ghosts reside.

 

The nightly shadow slowly

 sets its veil over all

And as I sleep my thoughts and dreams

 do vividly recall

Of home, of friends, of family-

 the essence of our lives

Amidst the flags the hats and flowers—

 our memory survives.

 

 

58198 Private

Robert Henry Evans

2nd/4th Bn. York and Lancaster Regiment

02/09/1918, aged 18.

Plot III. J. 21.

 

Picture courtesy of Paul Evans

Above image courtesy of Nicholas Philpot

 

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