VILLERS STATION CEMETERY

Villers-au-Bois

Pas de Calais

France

 

General Directions: Villers-au-Bois is a village in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, 11 kilometres north-west of Arras. The Cemetery is about 2 kilometres north-west of the village along a track from the Villers-au-Bois to Servins road (D65).

This cemetery was begun by the French but was used by Commonwealth divisions and field ambulances from the time they took over this part of the front in July 1916 until September 1918. It is associated particularly with the Canadian Corps whose headquarters were nearby and many of the graves in Plots V to X date from April 1917 and the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

After the Armistice, a few graves were brought in from isolated positions in the neighbourhood and in June 1923, the French graves were removed, the great majority to Notre Dame-de-Lorette French National Cemetery.

Villers Station Cemetery now contains 1,208 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 32 German war graves.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Shot at Dawn: 454482 Private H. G. Carter, 73rd Bn. Canadian Expeditionary Force, executed for desertion 20/04/1917. Plot 10. A. 7. 

Shot at Dawn: 227098 Private E. Fairburn, 18th Bn. Canadian Expeditionary Force, executed for desertion 02/03/1918. Plot 11. B. 23.

Shot at Dawn: 718566 Private S. Fowles, 44th Bn. Canadian Expeditionary Force, executed for desertion 19/06/1918. Plot 13. B.1.

Shot at Dawn: 203313 Private F. Bateman, 1st/4th Yorks & Lancs Regiment, executed for desertion 10/09/1918. Plot 12. C. 4.

Casualty Details: UK 180, Canada 1008, South Africa 20, Total Burials: 1208

 

911406 Private

John Edward Lees

46th Bn. Canadian Infantry

(Saskatchewen Regiment)

03/05/1917, aged 21.

Born in Southport, Lancashire, England, on November 5, 1895, John moved to Canada at age sixteen with an elder brother and sister. He took teachers' training at Camrose Normal in Alberta and taught for a short time before joining the 196 Battalion C. E. F. on April 7, 1916.  Although he was studious when necessary, he was also known to have a keen sense of humour. Under his pen, everyday happenings became cartoons. He enjoyed hunting, swimming and hiking in the great outdoors. What a shame he wasn't able to come home to share his many talents and zest for life.   

Plot V. F. 11.

 

Picture courtesy of niece, Jane Gray

 

458270 Private

Michael Slattery MM

87th Bn. Canadian Infantry

(Manitoba Regiment)

14/08/1917, aged 20.

Son of Mrs. L. Slattery, of 437, Magdalen St., Point St. Charles, Montreal, and the late Patrick Slattery. Brother of Lieutenant Edward Slattery, Killed 1918 and buried at Valley Cemetery, Vis-en-Artois.

Plot VIII. F. 1.

 

Picture courtesy of niece, Geraldine Slattery-Ellis

 

1009632 Private

Damien Alary

46th Bn. Canadian Infantry

(Saskatchewan Regiment)

21/08/1917, aged 21.

Son of Omer  and Praxede Alary, of Jasmin, Saskatchewan.

Plot IX. F. 16

 

He enlisted in Manitoba on Feb. 19, 1916 with the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force, 19th Reserve.  He arrived in England April 4, 1917 on the S.S. Northland and taken on strength the following day.  He served  with the 46th Battalion  from June 6, 1917 to his death in action on August 8, 1917, Pas-de-Calais, France. 

 

Picture courtesy of great niece, Janet Adey

 

 

472029 Private

James Craik

"A" Coy. 72nd Bn. Canadian Infantry

(British Columbia Regiment)

10/04/1917, aged 27.

Plot VII. J. 4.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. James Craik, of 329, Avenue Rd. South, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Killed at Vimy Ridge, he was my mothers brother. We still have everything that was sent home after his death including the last letter he wrote to his mother while waiting to deploy a few days before his death

 

Courtesy of Pat Schile

 

 

Lieutenant

Norman Eden Walker

(Known as Eden)

124th Bn. Canadian Pioneers

13/04/1917, aged 20.

Son of Charles and Violet L. Walker, of 59, Oriole Rd., Toronto, Canada.

Plot VII. J. 33.

 


 

Burial Service was held at 2:30 p.m., VILLERS STATION CEMETERY, VILLERS-AU-BOIS, Pas de Calais, France. Grave reference VII. J. 33.

Grave was visited by P.C. Gunyon on 16th March 2001. The gravestone reads, "Lieut. N.E. Walker, Canadian Pioneers, 13th April 1917, age 20. FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH".

Extract from letters to his mother by Eden's cousin and fellow officer of the 124th Bn. C.E.F. Philip Edward Williams

"I wrote you a letter yesterday but since that I got the awful news that Eden had been killed...When I was up there I met a Lt. Wood who was slightly wounded by the same shell that killed poor Eden so I got the exact story. Wood had been laying out Eden's party to clean out a trench and was returning along the top of the trench with another Engineer officer towards the front line to look over another job when a whizz-bang (small H. Velocity shell) hit near them. He took no notice of it but went on and another hit a little bit closer. He then spoke to the other officer and they got down into the trench where they found Eden, Watson and an officer of another unit. He stayed there and the other officer went on. Several more shells came over so they got down as low as possible but one struck the side of the trench killing Eden instantly and wounding the other three. This was the last shell fired. He was only slightly wounded while the officer of the other unit died the next day. These are the exact details. I will certainly send a flower from Eden's grave next chance I get to go up to the cemetery. Mrs. Moore tells me that Eden's death hit the Walkers very hard. It is a pity that he was killed. He was so much loved by all his relations."

 

 

Picture courtesy of Philip Gunyon, 3rd cousin.

 

775009 Private

Ernest Charles Bunce

38th Bn. Canadian Infantry

04/04/1917, aged 37.

Son of Elijah and Mary Bunce. Father of Albert (William) Elbert Bunce, Dorothy Ethel Bunce (Little-Stevens), and Frederick William Bunce.

Born in England, lived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Plot VI. J. 7.

 

Picture courtesy of Ann Bunce (Jones), granddaughter of Ernest's son, Frederick.

 

 

 

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