Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilly
This cemetery is a concentration cemetery, being created after the Armistice of November 1918 by bringing together graves and remains from the nearby battlefields and from several military burial grounds in the area.
A total number of 2,142 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War are buried or commemorated here. Of this number, 609 of the burials are unidentified. It is believed that five soldiers are buried among these unidentified graves and there are special memorials to them. There are also special memorials to 15 men who were buried in other cemeteries before the Armistice and their graves could not be found when those burial sites were examined for removing the graves to this place.
There are graves for two New Zealand airmen of the Second World War in the Villers-Bretonneux Cemetery.
Design of the Cemetery
The cemetery and the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Stone of Remembrance
The Stone of Remembrance, also known as the War Stone, is at the entrance to the cemetery, flanked by two large portico type structures. The Memorial Registers for the cemetery and Visitors' Book are located in the right hand (southern) of these two buildings.
Cross of Sacrifice
The Cross of Sacrifice, also called the Great Cross, is situated in the centre of the cemetery.
On the left hand side as one enters the cemetery, the ten Plots numbered I to X and the Plot number XX at the far end of the right hand (south) side of the cemetery, were completed by 1920. These plots contain mostly Australian graves. The majority of these graves are for officers and men who died during the period from March to August 1918.
The plots with an “A” after the Roman numeral, i.e. Plots IIIA, VIA, XIIIA and XVIA, and Rows in other Plots which are lettered “AA”, were completed by 1925. These plots contain many graves which are unidentified. Many of them were brought to this place from a distance beyond the nearby battlefield location.
In the late 1920s there were 444 graves brought to this cemetery and reburied here from Dury Hospital Military Cemetery.
The burial grounds listed here were sites from where graves were exhumed and were brought into this cemetery:
- CARD COPSE CEMETERY, MARCELCAVE: This burial ground was on the road to the village of Fouilloy. 35 Australian soldiers were buried here by the 2nd Australian Division in July and August 1918.
- DURY HOSPITAL MILITARY CEMETERY: The cemetery had been located at the asylum near the west side of the Amiens-Dury road. From August 1918 to January 1919, this asylum building was used by British medical units. A cemetery was made next to an existing French Military Cemetery. The British cemetery contained the graves of 195 Canadian and 185 United Kingdom soldiers and airmen. there were 63 Australian soldiers, one casualty from the Cape Auxiliary Horse Transport Corps, one French and one American soldier.
- HIGH CEMETERY, SAILLY-LE-SEC: The cemetery had been located on the road to Ville-sur-Ancre. There were 18 United Kingdom and eleven Australian soldiers buried there in June-August 1918.
- KANGAROO CEMETERY, SAILLY-LE-SEC: The burial site was on the Ville-sur-Ancre road near Sailly. 13 Australian soldiers were buried by the Australian 41st Battalion in March-April 1918. 14 men from the British 58th (London) Division were buried here in August 1918.
- LAMOTTE-EN-SANTERRE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION. Australian troops captured this village on 8th August 1918. The burial ground, an extension of the existing civilian village cemetery, contained the graves of 56 Australian and twelve United Kingdom soldiers who fell in action during August and September 1918.
- LA NEUVILLE-LES-BRAY COMMUNAL CEMETERY: One grave of an Australian soldier who fell in August 1918 was removed from the civilian cemetery.
- LE HAMELET BRITISH CEMETERY: This cemetery, behind the village church, contained the graves of 25 Australian soldiers who fell in April-July 1918. The extension to the civilian cemetery, the COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, contained the graves of 27 Australian soldiers and one from the United Kingdom who had been buried here in July and August 1916.
- MIDWAY CEMETERY, MARCELCAVE: The cemetery was located 1,400 metres north-west of Marcelcave church, and had been made by the Canadian Corps. There were 53 Canadian graves and three United Kingdom soldiers' graves who had been killed in August 1918.
- VAUX-SUR-SOMME COMMUNAL CEMETERY: The cemetery contained 3 Australian graves from March-April 1918, and 2 United Kingdom soldiers killed in 1916 and 1917. The extension to the civilian cemetery was made in May-August 1918. This part contained the graves of 130 Australian soldiers and 104 United Kingdom soldiers mostly from the 58th Division and the artillery, with one airman from the United Kingdom.
- WARFUSEE-ABANCOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION: The 12th Australian Field Ambulance buried 5 Australian soldiers here in August 1918.
The cemetery is located in the grounds of the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial. The memorial is an Australian National Memorial.
Location of the Villers-Bretonneux Cemetery
Latitude N 49° 53' 11" ; Longitude E 2° 30' 31"
The cemetery is situated on the D23 minor road about halfway between the villages of Villers-Bretonneux and Fouilloy.
There is parking space at the roadside for cars and coaches. Visitors should be careful when moving about by parked vehicles as this road is fairly quiet but vehicles tend to be travelling fast when they are passing this place.
Cemeteries and Memorials on the Somme Battlefields
CWGC Plan of the cemetery and information about the cemetery by kind permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission