Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France
Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery is the first new war cemetery to be constructed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for fifty years. The cemetery was started in early 2009 and was completed for a dedication ceremony on 19th July 2010.
Discovery of Soldiers “Missing in Action”
The remains of Australian and British casualties were discovered in a number of mass graves in 2008. It is believed that between 225 and 400 Australian and British soldiers were buried by the Germans near a wood known as Pheasant Wood on British Army maps after the Battle of Fromelles on 19th and 20th July 1916. Casualties were very high during this battle, with 5,5330 Australians killed, wounded and missing and 1,547 British casualties killed, wounded and missing. According to the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the number of dead by the end of the battle were 1,780 Australian and 503 British soldiers.
Some 400 of the casualties reported missing, believed killed, were believed to have been buried by the Germans in as many as 8 mass burial pits. In 2007 and 2008 research carried out by historian Peter Barton led to a limited excavation requested by the Australian Government in the location believed to be the site of the mass burial pits near Pheasant Wood. Following the dig there was conclusive evidence to suggest that Australian and British soldiers were buried in 8 burial pits.
Work was started from May 2009 to excavate the site and recover the remains of the dead for reburial in individual graves. The first reburial to take place in the newly designed cemetery was carried out at a ceremony in February 2010.
Dedication Ceremony July 2010
The official Dedication Ceremony for this cemetery was held on Monday 19th July 2010, marking the 94th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles.
Background to the New Cemetery at Pheasant Wood
To find out about the story behind the discovery, the work carried out by those involved in the project to rebury these soldiers and tell their story, and all the latest news on the project go to the website by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) at:
Website: CWGC: Remembering Fromelles
Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery Location
Latitude N 50° 36' 29" ; Longitude E 2° 51' 5"
Parking & Access
There is dedicated parking next to the cemetery. A ramp enables access to the Cross of Sacrifice terrace.
V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery & Memorial
The Australian Remembrance Trail: France and Belgium
Australian visitors may be interested to see a website established by the Australian Government which provides information about the major sites to visit in France and Belgium where the Australian forces fought and where they are commemorated.
Website: www.ww1westernfront.gov.au Australian Remembrance Trail
CWGC Photographs courtesy of the image library on the CWGC website: Commonwealth War Graves Commission: Remembering Fromelles