French Flanders: Armentières to La Gorgue Part Seven – A Return to Anzac Cemetery

You might recognise this somewhat idiosyncratic cemetery entrance that incorporates the Cross of Sacrifice, because we have been here before, during our tour of the battlefields and cemeteries associated with the Battle of Fromelles.

So a brief stop, for a couple of specific reasons, before we move on, but first here’s the link to the previous visit, which you will find mentions stuff not found in this new post.  And here’s the cemetery plan.  Thank you, fine people of the CWGC.

Plots I (background) & II, in which the majority of the Australian Fromelles casualties are buried,…

…and Plot III, stretching the length of the cemetery.

In the foreground, four Northumberland Fusiliers killed on 25th September 1918.  Our main reason for revisiting this cemetery, however, is to pay our respects at the memorials to the three men once buried in the plot at Sailly churchyard mentioned last post, and their memorials are the group of four headstones along the wall in the left background.  Yes, four headstones.

On the way,…

…the second reason for a return visit.  I failed to take a close-up of this headstone last time,…

…so this time here are two!  I do wonder whether these twenty two men were discovered buried together in a shellhole.  And who were they, I wonder?  And when were they found?  Questions, always questions.

Special memorials along the north west boundary.  The headstone on the very far left has been added fairly recently, because I stumbled across a photograph taken, I would guess, in the last ten years, that clearly shows only seven special memorials here (although all eight were certainly in place when we last visited a few years back), the final headstone at the time being the memorial to Lieutenant W. S. K. Scudamore of 208 Squadron, not that to Private R. McAulay, whose special memorial is now on the far left.  Scudamore was killed on 18th July 1918 when his Sopwith Camel was hit by anti-aircraft fire near Merville. It also explains another thing I have wondered about since our first visit.  The cemetery plan shows seven special memorials along the southern boundary which are no longer there, and we can now surmise that at some point they were moved a short distance to the western boundary where we now see them along with the additional headstone of Private McAuley.

Private McAulay’s name was for many years listed on Panel 10 of the Australian Memorial at V. C. Corner,…

…until 2012, by which time it had been ascertained that he had not died on the battlefield, and was probably buried here, yet another casualty of Fromelles to die at the dressing station nearby; clearly, enough proof must have been uncovered for a special memorial with ‘believed to be buried in this cemetery’ and the dates ’19th-20th July 1916′ inscribed upon it, to be erected here.

To the left of the eight special memorials, these are the special memorials to the men once buried at Sailly churchyard whose graves were later lost; the close-up below of the second headstone was taken on our first visit.  All three men died in German captivity during the second week of April 1918.

Plot III Row O.  The River Lys, seventy feet wide at this point, flows across the field in the background just a little over 200 yards away, the river’s channel just visible between the headstone nearest the camera and the white house in the distance.

Looking south east, back towards the cemetery entrance,…

…our next stop nothing more than a smart walk across the road (click the link).

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8 Responses to French Flanders: Armentières to La Gorgue Part Seven – A Return to Anzac Cemetery

  1. Sid from Down Under says:

    Thank you Magicfingers – amazing detail including “Engravers Notes” that I imagine would apply to all headstones. You never cease adding to our knowledge (or lack thereof).

    As you are well aware, Australia’s most solemn day occurs annually on 25th April …. ANZAC Day.

    My wife and I have just returned from a visit to our south coast including Albany from where the Gallipoli (ANZAC) convoys left Australia. Something that amazed us was not only the number of soldiers sent to a distant War (for King and Country) but the great many Whaler horses often outnumbering soldiers on the ships. Only one horse returned – named Sandy.

    The incredible National ANZAC Centre is in Albany and any reader visiting our fair shores is recommended to add this to their itinerary. Allow at least two hours if not a full day for the visit.

    En route south we side-tracked to the small town Cranbrook (named after Cranbrook in Kent) where on their War Memorial Wall of Remembrance WW1 plaques, dedicated to their sons who laid down their lives, bare stark reference to many of the places your posts describe. It was very moving and at that moment being the only person in sight (except my missus) standing in the Western Australian sheep, wheat and cattle belt, made me thing of “With the British Army in Flanders & France” – I did take photographs, hopefully to be added to the War Memorials website you alerted me to.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Thanks Sid – and you lot are knowledgeable enough in my opinion – I just add little snippets here and there. Love your last paragraph. That I appreciate very much. The power of the interweb again. Btw I can find no reference that this should be ANZAC Cemetery (as opposed to Anzac) although we both know it should be capital letters – there is an ANZAC Cemtery in Codford St Mary in Wiltshire which contains the graves of 31 Australian & 66 New Zealand Great war soldiers.

  2. james dover says:

    your site is amazing. visited France in 2017. 1st trip abroad at age 77. plan to return in July. hope to day trip from Paris to Arras. i want to visit Essex Farm Cemetery and the nearby cemetery where Americans are buried. would like to take some poppies to decorate graves at both sites and McCrae Memorial. fast train round trip and hire taxi or tour guide in Arras. is this doable, or just a fantasy on my part? thank you.

    • Nick kilner says:

      Hi James. Paris to Arras is a four hour round trip. It’s doable but would be exhausting. Personally I would recommend spending a night or two in the beautiful town of Arras itself. It’s a wonderful place, far more relaxed than Paris. It’s also a superb jumping off point for numerous battle sites, and I’m sure you’d have no problem booking a guide from there.

      • jim says:

        many thanks for your answer. you have been very helpful. this will be only my second trip abroad and likely my last as i am getting along in years, so i want to do as much as i can in France, possibly Belgium to see more WW1 sites. if i get there i will send a couple photos.

        • NIck Kilner says:

          My pleasure Jim. Staying in Arras would put you only around 15 minutes from Vimy Ridge to the north, with the town of Ypres and the Menin gate around 45 minutes further on. Heading south Beaumont Hamel, Thiepval and the battlefields of the Somme are less than 45 minutes away, so it would give you a very central location for your visit. Should you decided to stay in Arras, I’d recommend staying fairly close to the main square as it has some wonderful bars and restaurants. There are also the Wellington caves, cut beneath the town and used by soldiers during the First World War, which would be well worth a visit.
          I hope that’s of some help.

          • james dover says:

            i may decide to do just as you say. i have many itinerary ideas that must be resolved. will not do a whirlwind trip and not remember anything. Arras. Paris. day trip to the village where van Gogh spent his last days. that is enough for 7 days. nice to be there in 100th anniv. and for National Day.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello James. You may have gathered I have been off on my travels – this site wouldn’t really work if I didn’t. Thanks for your kind words earlier, and as you have experienced, when I am away there are other nice folk around here to fill in the gap. Hope all goes well on your trip – make sure you let us know!

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