BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY
Pas de Calais
General Directions: Boulogne-sur-Mer is a large Channel port. Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, one of the town cemeteries, lies in the district of St Martin Boulogne, just beyond the eastern (Chateau) corner of the Citadel (Haute-Ville). The cemetery is a large civil cemetery, split in two by the Rue de Dringhen, just south of the main road (RN42) to St Omer. The Commonwealth War Graves plot is located down the western edge of the southern section of the cemetery, with an entrance in the Rue de Dringhen. Unusually, the headstones are laid flat in this cemetery. This is due to the sandy soil. Car parking is available along the Rue de Dringhen.
Boulogne, was one of the three base ports most extensively used by the Commonwealth armies on the Western Front throughout the First World War. It was closed and cleared on the 27 August 1914 when the Allies were forced to fall back ahead of the German advance, but was opened again in October and from that month to the end of the war, Boulogne and Wimereux formed one of the chief hospital areas. Until June 1918, the dead from the hospitals at Boulogne itself were buried in the Cimetiere de L'Est, one of the town cemeteries, the Commonwealth graves forming a long, narrow strip along the right hand edge of the cemetery. In the spring of 1918, it was found that space was running short in the Eastern Cemetery in spite of repeated extensions to the south, and the site of the new cemetery at Terlincthun was chosen. During the Second World War, hospitals were again posted to Boulogne for a short time in May 1940. The town was taken by the Germans at the end of that month and remained in their hands until recaptured by the Canadians on 22 September 1944. Boulogne Eastern Cemetery contains 5,577 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 224 from the Second World War.
Further Information: This Cemetery is open 7 days a week, all year round. From 1 October to 15 March: 08.00 - 18.00 From 16 March to 30 September: 08.00 - 19.00.
Victoria Cross: Captain Frederick William Campbell, VC. 1st Bn. Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment), died of wounds 19/06/1915. Plot II. A. 24.
Citation: An extract from the London Gazette, No. 29272, dated 20th Aug., 1915, records the following:-For most conspicuous bravery on 15th June, 1915, during the action at Givenchy. Lt. Campbell took two machine-guns over the parapet, arrived at the German first line with one gun, and maintained his position there, under very heavy rifle, machine-gun and bomb fire, notwithstanding the fact that almost the whole of his detachment had then been killed or wounded. When our supply of bombs had become exhausted, this Officer advanced his gun still further to an exposed position, and, by firing about 1,000 rounds, succeeded in holding back the enemy's counter-attack. This very gallant Officer was subsequently wounded, and has since died.
Shot at Dawn: 18603 Private G. Mills, 2nd Bn. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, executed for desertion 29/09/1915. Plot 8. B. 81.
Shot at Dawn: C/40124 Lance Bombardier F. S. Arnold, 1st Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, executed for desertion 25/ 07/1916. Plot 8. A. 137.
Shot at Dawn: 107526 Private J. W. Roberts, 2nd Bn. Canadian Mounted Rifles, executed for desertion 30/07/1916. Plot 8. A. 154.
Shot at Dawn: 26/626 Acting Corporal J. R. Short, 24th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers, executed for mutiny 04/10/1917. Plot 8. I. 43.
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 4735, Canada 442, Australia 307, New Zealand 74, South Africa 15, India 5, Total Burials: 5578
Used with permission www.cwgc.org