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CWGC: The Cambrai Memorial

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The Cambrai Memorial

Louverval, France

Image Right - The Cambrai Memorial Courtesy of WW1 Cemeteries

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  • Cambrai East Military Cemetery
  • Cambrai (Route de Solesmes) Communal Cemetery
  • Louverval Military Cemetery

Cambrai was occupied by German forces on 26 August 1914 and it remained in German hands until 9 October 1918.

The 1917 Battle of Cambrai (20 November to 3 December) left the Allied line eight kilometres from the city on the south-west side, and the German offensive of March 1918, drove it far to the west. The 1918 Battle of Cambrai, the last of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line, delivered the city into the hands of Commonwealth forces, though it was severely damaged. Two Casualty Clearing Stations were later posted to the town, 30 CCS in October 1918 and 22 CCS in November 1918.

// Cambrai Memorial The Cambrai Memorial

Sometimes referred to as the Louverval Memorial.
=====Image right By René Hourdry - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, =====

More than 7000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, whose graves are not known, are commemorated at The Cambrai Memorial. The memorial stands on a terrace at one end of Louverval Military Cemetery
It was unveiled on 4 August 1930 by Lieutenant-General Sir Louis Ridley Vaughan.

// East Military Cemetery Cambrai East Military Cemetery

Image right Courtesy of World War 1 Cemeteries

Cambrai East Military Cemetery was made by the Germans during their occupation and laid out with the greatest care, with monuments erected in it to the French, Commonwealth and German dead. On 11 August 1918, as an inscription in the cemetery records, the Bavarian Commandant handed over to the city the care and maintenance of the cemetery.
The graves have been regrouped. The Commonwealth Plots are numbered I to VI, in the south-east corner, and Plot VII, near the north side, on the left of the entrance. Plots I to IV were made by Commonwealth troops after the capture of Cambrai. Plots V and VI contain 69 graves brought from the battlefields east and south of the city, and Plot VII contains the graves of Commonwealth prisoners.
The cemetery contains 501 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 28 of the graves are unidentified but special memorials are erected to seven soldiers known to be buried among them. Another special memorial commemorates a soldier buried by the Germans in Cauroir Communal Cemetery, whose grave could not be found.
The Commonwealth plots were designed by Charles Holden.

// (Route de Solesmes) Communal Cemetery Cambrai (Route de Solesmes) Communal Cemetery

Image CWGC

During the 1914-1918 War Cambrai, in enemy hands, was deemed the key position on the German front line. On November 20th, 1917, the first day of the battle of Cambrai, it was the scene of a spectacular British success when tanks went into action for the first time. A penetration was made of 8 kilometres on a 9.6 kilometre from, the hitherto invulnerable Hindenburg line was breached, and Cambrai itself was left virtually defenceless.
The Communal Cemetery is west of, the Cambrai East Military Cemetery, a large, mainly German burial ground of the 1914-1918 War.
There are over 70, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site.

See World war 1 in Pictures (Translated)] and Geneanet for Grave images.

// Military Cemetery' Louverval Military Cemetery

Image By René Hourdry - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The chateau at Louverval was taken by the 56th Australian Infantry Battalion at dawn on 2 April 1917. The hamlet stayed in Allied hands until the 51st (Highland) Division was driven from it on 21 March 1918 during the great German advance, and it was retaken in the following September.
Parts of Rows B and C of the cemetery were made between April and December 1917 and in 1927, graves were brought in from Louverval Chateau Cemetery, which had been begun by German troops in March 1918 and used by Commonwealth forces in September and October 1918.
The cemetery contains 124 First World War burials. UK 118, Australia 4, New Zealand 2, Total Burials: 124

Notable names

The Cambrai Memorial holds the names of seven recipients of the Victoria Cross who have no known grave.

  • Private George William Burdett Clare
  • Private Frederick George Dancox
  • 2nd Lt James Samuel Emerson
  • Major Frederick Henry Johnson
  • Captain Allastair Malcolm Cluny McReady-Diarmid
  • Captain Walter Napleton Stone
  • Captain Richard William Leslie Wain Victoria Cross holders - Cambrai

References, Sources and Further Reading