VIS-EN-ARTOIS BRITISH CEMETERY
Pas de Calais
Vis-en-Artois Roll of Honour - Images and details of those buried or commemorated within this cemetery & Memorial
General Directions: Vis-en-Artois and Haucourt are villages on the straight main road from Arras to Cambrai about 10 kilometres south-east of Arras. The Memorial is the back drop to the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, which is west of Haucourt on the north side of the main road.
Panel Information: The Panel Numbers quoted at the end of each entry relate to the panels dedicated to the Regiment served with. In some instances where a casualty is recorded as attached to another Regiment, his name may alternatively appear within their Regimental Panels. Please refer to the on-site Memorial Register Introduction to determine the alternative panel numbers if you do not find the name within the quoted Panels.
Vis-En-Artois and Haucourt were taken by the Canadian Corps on 27 August 1918. The cemetery was begun immediately afterwards and was used by fighting units and field ambulances until the middle of October. It consisted originally of 430 graves (in Plots I and II) of which 297 were Canadian and 55 belonged to the 2nd Duke of Wellington's Regiment. It was increased after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the battlefields of April-June 1917, August and September 1918, and from the smaller cemeteries in the neighbourhood, including:- BOIS-DU-SART BRITISH CEMETERY, PELVES, at the North-Western angle of the Bois-du-Sart, which contained the graves of ten soldiers and airmen from the United Kingdom and nine soldiers from Canada who fell in August and September 1918. DURY GERMAN CEMETERY was on the South-East side of Dury village, a little South of the road to Saudemont. It contained the graves of four British and 49 German soldiers. ECOURT-ST. QUENTIN GERMAN CEMETERY on the East side of the road to Lecluse. It contained the graves of 16 soldiers from the United Kingdom. ETAING COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION, which contained the graves of six soldiers and airmen from the United Kingdom, who fell in 1917 and 1918, 331 German soldiers (including some who fell in August 1914), and two Russian prisoners. LECLUSE GERMAN CEMETERY, on the West side of the village, contained the graves of 476 German soldiers, eleven soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1917, and one Russian prisoner. MONCHY QUARRY CEMETERY was in a quarry 800 metres South-East of Monchy-le-Preux. It contained the graves of 22 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in July 1917. PELVES CANADIAN CEMETERY, nearly 1.6 kilometes due South of the village, contained the graves of 39 soldiers from Canada who fell in August and September 1918. PELVES COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION, which contained the graves of two soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1917. RUMAUCOURT GERMAN CEMETERY, on the Southern edge of the village, which contained the graves of 21 soldiers from the United Kingdom and six from Australia. SAILLY-EN-OSTREVENT COMMUNAL CEMETERY, which was destroyed by shell-fire, contained the graves of three soldiers from the United Kingdom (two of which were recovered). VIS-EN-ARTOIS COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION, which was very badly shelled, contained the graves of 621 German soldiers, 14 from the United Kingdom, eight French and five Russian. The cemetery now contains 2,369 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 1,458 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to eight casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials commemorate four soldiers buried in other cemeteries whose graves could not be found on concentration. The cemetery was designed by J R Truelove.
Casualty Details: UK 1748, Canada 582, Australia 6, South Africa 2, Unidentified 4, Total Burials: 2342
This Memorial bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from 8 August 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and who have no known grave. They belonged to the forces of Great Britain and Ireland and South Africa; the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand forces being commemorated on other memorials to the missing. The Memorial consists of a screen wall in three parts. The middle part of the screen wall is concave and carries stone panels on which names are carved. It is 26 feet high flanked by pylons 70 feet high. The Stone of Remembrance stands exactly between the pylons and behind it, in the middle of the screen, is a group in relief representing St George and the Dragon. The flanking parts of the screen wall are also curved and carry stone panels carved with names. Each of them forms the back of a roofed colonnade; and at the far end of each is a small building. The memorial was designed by J. R. Truelove, with sculpture by Ernest Gillick. It was unveiled by the Rt. Hon. Thomas Shaw on 4 August 1930.
Number of Identified Casualties: 9822
Victoria Cross: 58062 Corporal Allan Leonard Lewis, VC. 6th Bn. Northamptonshire Regiment, 21/09/1918, aged 23. Panel 7. Son of Mr. and Mrs. George Lewis, of Wyeside, Whitney-on-Wye, Herefordshire.
Citation: An extract from the "London Gazette," dated 28th Jan., 1919, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery at Ronssoy on the 18th September, 1918, when in command of a section on the right of an attacking line held up by intense machine gun fire. L./Cpl. Lewis observing that two enemy machine guns were enfilading the line, crawled forward singlehanded, and successfully bombed the guns, and by rifle fire later caused the whole team to surrender, thereby enabling the line to advance. On 21st September, 1918, he again displayed great powers of command, and, having rushed his company through the enemy barrage, was killed whilst getting his men under cover from heavy machine gun fire. Throughout he showed a splendid disregard of danger, and his leadership at a critical period was beyond all praise."
Victoria Cross: Wales Z/424 Chief Petty Officer George Prowse, VC. DCM. Drake Bn. Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. R. N. Division. 27/09/1918, aged 32. Panel 1 and 2. Son of John Prowse; husband of Sarah Prowse, of 65, Pentre-Treharne Rd., Landore, Swansea.
Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," dated 29th Oct., 1918, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when, during an advance, a portion of his company became disorganised by heavy machine gun fire from an enemy strong point. Collecting what men were available he led them with great coolness and bravery against this strong point, capturing it together with twenty-three prisoners and five machine guns. Later, he took a patrol forward in face of much enemy opposition, and established it on important high ground. On another occasion he displayed great heroism by attacking single-handed an ammunition limber which was trying to recover ammunition, killing three men who accompanied it and capturing the limber. Two days later he rendered valuable services when covering the advance of his company with a Lewis gun section, and located later on two machine gun positions in a concrete emplacement, which were holding up the advance of the battalion on the right. With complete disregard of personal danger he rushed forward with a small party and attacked and captured these posts, killing six enemy and taking thirteen prisoners and two machine guns. He was the only survivor of the gallant party, but by this daring and heroic action he enabled the battalion on the right to push forward without further machine gun fire from the village. Throughout the whole operations his magnificent example and leadership were an inspiration to all, and his courage was superb."
Victoria Cross: 20695 Serjeant Frederick Charles Riggs, VC. MM. 6th Bn. York and Lancaster Regiment, 01/10/1918, aged 29. Panel 9. Adopted Son of Elizabeth Burgum, of 39, Capstone Rd., Bournemouth.
Citation: An extract form "The London Gazette," dated 3rd Jan., 1919, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice on the morning of 1st Oct., 1918, near Epinoy, when, having led his platoon through strong uncut wire under severe fire, he continued straight on, and although losing heavily from flanking fire, succeeded in reaching his objective, where he rushed and captured a machine gun. He later handled two captured guns with great effect, and caused the surrender of fifty enemy. Subsequently, when the enemy again advanced in force, Serjt. Riggs cheerfully encouraged his men to resist, and whilst exhorting his men to fight on to the last, this very gallant soldier was killed."
Shot at Dawn: G/18469 Private F. C. Butcher, 7th Bn. The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), executed for desertion 27/08/1918, aged 23. Panel 3 - Vis-en-Artois Memorial. Son of Mrs. E. Butcher, of 24A, Park St., Folkestone.
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.
Cemetery Memorial Used with permission www.cwgc.org