For nearly a hundred years, Chapelle-d’Armentières New Military Cemetery sat in splendid isolation in the middle of the fields just to the north of La Chapelle d’Armentières.
In fact if you look on Google Maps you will still see exactly what I mean.
In the last couple of years, however, new housing has grown up to the south and west of the cemetery, as you can see in these photos.
In Perpetuity tablet.
As we saw last Nursery post, the final burial in Chapelle-d’Armentières Old Military Cemetery was made on 2nd October 1915. The first burial here at the new cemetery was made just four days later, on 6th October, and the cemetery was only in use for three months, the final burial being made on 12th January 1916.
Of the 73 graves here, 72 are identified. The only unidentified burial can be found in Row D, and, according to the Graves Registration Report Form, was originally believed to be a Corporal Newbury of the York & Lancaster Regiment.
As ever, courtesy of those kind folk at the CWGC, here’s the cemetery plan.
Cross of Sacrifice.
View along the western boundary towards the Cross of Sacrifice, Row F in the foreground.
Looking across the cemetery from the north western corner, Row F in the foreground, and the cemetery entrance in the distance.
Row D (foreground). At the far end of Row C (behind), before the gap, a single casualty was brought in from Roubaix Communal Cemetery and reburied here in 1927.
The modern world encroaches on the old. I wonder, now that this housing project has been all but completed, how much this place will have further changed in another twenty years?
Let no one say he’s not a damned fine spotter.
“What’ve you got?”*
*That’s the sort of thing we say to each other when we’re ‘working’.
You know, he hasn’t taken it well since a recent Skype call when I decided the time had come to mention, with due care and respect, I thought, my planned ‘Return to the Somme’ venture in a few months time. Without him. To put it bluntly, he wailed. A lot. And there was gnashing of teeth.
Time to move on, I think. In more ways than one.
We had been lucky, as, for the ten minutes we were here, the relentless rain, if not the wind, had eased off a little.
Two minutes later, however, by the time we were back at Chapelle-d’Armentières New Military Cemetery, it was chucking it down again.
And we still have three more cemeteries to visit. Before them, however, and just up the road, is La Chapelle d’Armentières war memorial.
It’s been two days since Magic Fingers’ Return to the Somme. As evening falls, the tourbus he has chosen to be on, driven by a man named Jacques who doesn’t speak English, slowly makes its way through early spring hail and icy rain attempting to make it to the hotel before eight. “Excuse me Jacques,” utters Magic Fingers urgently, as he spots what looks like a ten grave half hidden cemetery he had missed on his first visit. “Excuse me Jacques, could you please stop for a moment here? I shall just need a minute to photograph this site! It is vital that I do so!” Jacques, a usually silent bear of a man, turns and shouts: “Assez Magique! On en a marre de vos conneries!” Though the exact meaning of the garbled French patois escapes him, Magic Fingers is quite acutely, viscerally aware of just what it is that Jacques is telling him. That last stop, half an hour ago, it must have been one stop too many. He sighs, puts the cap back on to his camera, and is left to stare wistfully out the frosted window for the remaining journey. Baldrick, he ponders. Baldrick would’ve stopped.
…and it’s soooooo true!
…and the sandwiches?? Who’s gonna bring you the sandwiches?? Oy vey!!
Jeez, I hadn’t thought of that! It’s gonna be a nightmare!