ST. VAAST POST MILITARY CEMETERY
Pas de Calais
General Directions: The cemetery lies near the village of Richebourg-l'Avoue which is 9 kilometres north-east of Bethune. From Bethune follow the D.171 toward Armentieres and progress onto the D.166 proceeding into the outskirts of Richebourg. Take a left turning into Rue des Charbonniers for approximately 2 kilometres and the cemetery is on the right hand side.
Richebourg-L'Avoue village remained in British hands from the Autumn of 1914 to the 9th April, 1918, though the front line was within 1.6 kilometres of it. It was recovered in September, 1918. The strong point from which the cemetery was named was in turn named from the hamlet of St. Vaast, between the village of Richebourg-St. Vaast and Goix-Barbee. It stands in an old orchard between two farm buildings, where a trench tramway had its terminus and a Dressing Station was established. It was begun in May, 1915, at the time of the Battle of Festubert, and used by fighting units and Field Ambulances until July, 1917. In April and May, 1918, the Germans buried 90 of their men at the South-East end, and in September and October, 1918, 18 further British dead were buried in Plot V. Eleven Portuguese soldiers buried here in May-July, 1917, have been removed to the Portuguese Military Cemetery.
Shot at Dawn: Private E. Beaumont, 2nd Bn. Leicestershire Regiment, executed for desertion 24/06/1915, plot 1. G. 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 744, India 55, Germany 91, Total Burials: 890
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