A. I. F. BURIAL GROUND
A.I.F. Burial Ground is 2 kilometres north of
the village of Flers, in the Department of the Somme. Travel south-west of
Bapaume on the D929 in the direction of Albert for 6 kilometres to the
village of Le Sars. Turn left eastwards on the D11 in the direction of
Geudecourt for 3.5 kilometres to the D74/D197 junction. Continue along the
D74 in the direction of Geudecourt for 500 metres when a CWGC signpost will
be seen indicating the A.I.F. Burial Ground along a track to the right.
Flers was captured on 15 September 1916, in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, when it was entered by the New Zealand and 41st Divisions behind tanks, the innovative new weapons that were used here for the first time. The village was lost during the German advance of March 1918 and retaken at the end of the following August by the 10th West Yorks and the 6th Dorsets of the 17th Division.
The cemetery was begun by Australian medical units, posted in the neighbouring caves, in November 1916-February 1917. These original graves are in Plot I, Rows A and B. It was very greatly enlarged after the Armistice when almost 4,000 Commonwealth and French graves were brought in from the battlefields of the Somme, and later from a wider area.
The following were among the burial grounds from which Commonwealth graves were taken to this cemetery:
FACTORY CORNER, FLERS, a little West of the crossing of the roads from Eaucourt-L'Abbaye to Gueudecourt and from Flers to Ligny-Thilloy. This place, which had been a German Headquarters for Artillery and Engineers and had a German Cemetery, was taken by the 1st Canterbury Infantry Regiment on the 25th September, 1916, and again by the 7th East Yorks on the 27th August, 1918. Fifteen soldiers from the United Kingdom and 13 from Australia were buried here in October, 1916-March, 1917, and in August, 1918.
The great majority of the graves in A.I.F. Burial Ground date from the autumn of 1916, but one is from 1914, and there are others from the spring of 1917 and the spring and summer of 1918.
There are now 3,475 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 2,263 of the burials are unidentified and there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of three casualties buried in a cemetery at Flers, who graves could not be found. The cemetery also contains 170 French and 3 German war graves.
The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.
Casualty Details: UK 2815, Canada 67, Australia 417, New Zealand 89, South Africa 27, Unidentified 60, Germany3, France 164, Total Burials: 3580
Victoria Cross: Serjeant Harold Jackson, VC,
C Company, 7th Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment, killed in action on 24/08/1918, aged 26 and buried in plot XV. A. 21/30., Son of Thomas and Mary Ann Jackson, of "Allandales", Kirton, Boston.
Citation: An extract from The "London Gazette", dated 7th May, 1918, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Sjt. Jackson volunteered and went out through the hostile barrage and brought back valuable information regarding the enemy's movements. Later, when the enemy had established themselves in our line, this N.C.O. rushed at them, and single-handed, bombed them out into the open. Shortly afterwards, again single-handed, he stalked an enemy machine-gun, threw Mills bombs at the detachment, and put the gun out of action. On a subsequent occasion when all his officers had become casualties, this very gallant N.C.O. led his company in the attack, and, when ordered to retire, he withdrew the company successfully under heavy fire. He then went out repeatedly under heavy fire and carried in wounded."
William George Geary
16th (Waikoto) Coy. 1st Bn. Auckland Regiment.
N. Z. E. F.
30/09/1916, aged 20.
Son of William and Selina Geary, of Cameron Rd., Tauranga, New Zealand.
Member of Manchester U.I.O. of Oddfellows.
Plot I. K. 30.
Picture courtesy of great, great, great niece, Hannah
J. W. Tatam
2nd Bn. Lincolnshire Regiment
Plot XI. C. 9.
Picture courtesy of granddaughter Mrs C. Miller (nee Tatum)
Henry George Ashford
59th Bn. Australian Infantry,
A. I. F.
23/11/1916, aged 18.
Son of John Oakenville Ashford and Elizabeth Ashford, of Satur, Scone, New South Wales.
Plot IV. L. 25.
Picture courtesy of Harry Willey
View of the battlefield between Flers and Martinpuich; 15th September 1916.
© IWM (Q 195)
Those with awards and decorations
within this cemetery
Capt. James Wilfred Battersby M.C., 53rd Bty. 2nd Brig. Royal Field Artillery, died 24th Oct. 1916 aged 26. II. K. 27.
Bmdr. Allan Edward Beeks M.M., 1st Brig. Australian Field Artillery. K.I.A. 12th Nov. 1916 aged 22. I. A. 3.
Bty. S.M. Robert Birnie M.C., New Zealand Field Artillery. K.I.A. 21st Oct. 1916. I. E. 23.
C.S.M. P. Carr D.C.M., M.M., 7th Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment. Died 27th Aug. 1918. III. K. 9.
Pte. H. H. Cox M.M., 6th Bn. Northamptonshire Regiment, died 5th April 1918. XV. M. 30.
Pte. William Hopkins Davies M.M., 2nd Bn. South Wales Borderers, died 28th Jan. 1917 aged 22. H. M. 17.
Sgt. W. Emery D.C.M., 6th Bn. King's Own Scottish Borderers, died 19th Oct. 1916. XV. M. 21.
C.S.M. Enos England D.C.M., M.M., 6th Bn. Dorsetshire Regiment, K.I.A. 24th Aug. 1918 aged 24. XV. A. 21/30
Cpl. Kenneth Holmes Fairey M.M., 2nd Bty. 1st Brig. Australian Field Artillery. K.I.A. 12th Nov. 1916 aged 21. I. A. 4.
Capt. Leonard Farthing M.C., 2nd Bn. East Lancashire Regiment. K.I.A. near Lesboeufs 16th Nov. 1916 aged 28. Served 13 years with 1st Royal Dragoons. III. D. 27.
Cpl. Francis John Herbert Fear D.C.M., No. 1 Field Coy. N.Z. Engineers. K.I.A. 20th Sept. 1916. I. E. 13.
Sgt. Harry Sydney Guthrie M.M., 17th Bn. Manchester Regiment. K.I.A. 11th Oct. 1916 aged 27. VIII. B. 1.
Pte. Cyril Hant M.M., 10th Bn. West Yorkshire Regiment, K.I.A. 25th Aug. 1918 aged 29. XV. A. 21/30
Capt. Horace William Harriman M.C., 8th attd. 9th Bn. Duke of Wellington Regiment. Died 1st Sept. 1918 aged 27. IV. D. 7.
Cpl. E. Harrison M.M., 7th Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment. Died 27th Aug. 1918. III. K. 1.
2nd Lt. Roger Hugh Ingoldby, Mentioned in Despatches, 2nd Bn. Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Died 1st July 1916 aged 30. In Canada when war broke out. Joined the Alberta Dragoons as a private, going to France in Feb. 1915. Gazetted to a Commission a few months later. VI. H. 26.
Burials by Unit