ARRAS ROAD CEMETERY
Pas de Calais
General Directions: Roclincourt is a village a little east of the road from Arras to Lens and Lille. Arras Road Cemetery is on the west side of the main N17 road from Arras to Lens, about 6 kilometres north of Arras, and north of the village of Roclincourt.
Roclincourt was just within the British lines before the Battles of Arras, 1917; the 51st (Highland) and 34th Divisions advanced from the village on the 9th April, 1917, and the 1st Canadian Division attacked on their left, across the Lens road. Arras Road Cemetery was begun by the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade soon after the 9th April, 1917, and until the Armistice it contained only the graves (now at the back of the cemetery) of 71 officers and men of the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion (British Columbia Regiment) who fell in April, May and June, 1917; but in 1926-29, it was enlarged by the concentration of 993 graves from a wide area mainly North and East of Arras.
The following are the burial grounds from which British graves were moved to Arras Road Cemetery:- Baisieux Churchyard (Nord): six, October, 1918. Bellaing Churchyard (Nord): two Canadian, October, 1918. Bourlon Communal Cemetery (Pas-de-Calais): one, September, 1916, and one Canadian, September, 1918. Comines Communal Cemetery (Nord): five (including one Canadian), 1914-1917. The permanent German Extension on the West side contains 2,257 identified and 1,903 unidentified German graves. Ecaillon Churchyard (Nord): one, January, 1919. Givenchy-les-la Bassee Churchyard (Pas-de-Calais). Givenchy is associated with (among other episodes) the stand made by the 55th (West Lancashire) Division in April, 1918, and it has been "adopted" by the City of Liverpool. Mairieux Churchyard(Nord): one, November, 1918. Mouchin Churchyard (Nord): two, October, 1918. Penin Churchyard (Pas-de-Calais): one, November, 1916. Peronne-en-Melantois Churchyard (Nords): four, October, 1918. Rumegies Churchyard(Nord): ten, October and November, 1918. Sainghin-en-Melantois Churchyard (Nord): three, March, 1917 - October, 1918. Sin Churchyard, Baisieux (Nord): three, April - November, 1918. Tincques Churchyard (Pas-de-Calais): one, May, 1916. Vendin-le-Vieil Communal Cemetery (Pas-de-Calais): one, September, 1915. Wannehain Churchyard (Nord): two, October and November, 1918.
Victoria Cross: Captain Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby, VC. MC. C Company, 2nd Bn. South Staffordshire Regiment, killed in action 25/09/1915, aged 30. Plot 3. N. 27.
Citation: An extract from the London Gazette, dated 30th March, 1916, records the following (and it is known that a memorial of the event was erected by the enemy on the spot):- "For most conspicuous bravery. Captain Kilby was specially selected at his own request, and on account of the gallantry which he had previously displayed on many occasions, to attack with his Company a strong enemy redoubt. The Company charged along the narrow towpath, headed by Captain Kilby, who, though wounded at the outset, continued to lead his men right up to the enemy wire under a devastating machine gun fire and a shower of bombs. Here he was shot down, but, although his foot had been blown off, he continued to cheer on his men and to use a rifle. Captain Kilby has been missing since the date of the performance of this great act of valour, and his death has now to be presumed."
Shot at Dawn: 9970 Private A. L. Jefferies 6th Bn. Somerset Light Infantry, executed for desertion on 01/11/1916. Plot 3. O. 1.
The mass pardon of 306 British Empire soldiers executed for certain offences during the Great War was enacted in section 359 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, which came into effect on royal assent on 8 November 2006.
Casualty Details: UK 930, Canada 111, Australia 22, New Zealand 1, Total Burials: 1064
Used with permission www.cwgc.org