CHOCQUES MILITARY CEMETERY
Pas de Calais
General Directions: Chocques is 4 kilometres north-west of Bethune on the road to Lillers. When you reach the traffic lights on this road at Chocques, follow the signs for the centre of town and go through the main street, then turn left towards Gonnheim. Take the next turning on the right and the cemetery lies approximately 400 metres down the road on the left.
Chocques was occupied by Commonwealth forces from the late autumn of 1914 to the end of the war. The village was at one time the headquarters of I Corps and from January 1915 to April 1918, No.1 Casualty Clearing Station was posted there. Most of the burials from this period are of casualties who died at the clearing station from wounds received at the Bethune front.
From April to September 1918, during the German advance on this front, the burials were carried out by field ambulances, divisions and fighting units. The groups of graves of a single Royal Artillery brigade in Plot II, Row A, and of the 2nd Seaforths in II D, and III A, are significant of the casualties of the 4th Division at that time. The big collective grave in VI A contains the remains of 29 soldiers of the 4th King's Liverpool Regiment killed in a troop train in April 1918. The stone memorial in IA is placed behind the graves of eight men of the 3rd Squadron, RFC, killed in a bomb explosion on the aerodrome at Merville in March 1915.
After the Armistice it was found necessary to concentrate into this Cemetery (Plots II, III, IV and VI) a large number of isolated graves plus some small graveyards from the country between Chocques and Bethune. Among the small cemeteries thus removed were:-
ANNEZIN Communal Cemetery Extension, a short distance West of Bethune, made by the 3rd Division in April, 1918, which contained 38 graves.
LES HARISOIRS British Cemetery, Mont-Bernenchon, 4.8 Kms North East of Chocques, made by the 4th Division in April, 1918, which contained 27 graves.
CANAL Cemetery, Les Harisoirs, made by the 4th Division in April, 1918, which contained 17 graves.
BOIS-DES-MONTAGNES British Cemetery, Vaudricourt, 3.2 Kms South West of Bethune, made by the 46th Field Ambulance in September, 1915, which contained 8 graves.
Chocques Military Cemetery now contains 1,801 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 134 of then unidentified. There are also 82 German war graves, 47 being unidentified.
Victoria Cross: Second Lieutenant Alexander Buller Turner, VC. 1st Bn. Royal Berkshire Regiment, died of wounds 01/10/1915, aged 22. Plot I. B. 2.
Citation: An extract from the Third Supplement to the London Gazette of 16th Nov., 1915, No. 29371, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery on 28th Sept., 1915, at "Fosse 8," near Vermelles. When the regimental bombers could make no headway in Slag Alley, Second Lieutenant Turner volunteered to lead a new bombing attack. He pressed down the communication trench practically alone, throwing bombs incessantly with such dash and determination that he drove back the Germans about 150 yards without a check. His action enabled the reserves to advance with very little loss, and subsequently covered the flank of his regiment in its retirement, thus probably averting a loss of some hundreds of men. This most gallant Officer has since died of wounds received in this action."
Shot at Dawn: 18143 Private Albert Holmes, 8th Bn. King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), executed for desertion 22/04/1918, aged 22. Plot III. C. 10. Husband of Bessie Holmes, of 51, Croydon St., Easton Road, Bristol.
Shot at Dawn: 20808 Private Robert W. Simmes, 2nd Bn. Royal Scots, executed for desertion 19/05/1918, aged 25. Plot III. A. 19.
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 1709, Canada 51, South Africa 4, India 36, Germany 82, Total Burials: 1882
Richard Henry Coad
2nd Lines of Communication Sect.
Royal Army Medical Corps
22/05/1915, aged 23.
Son of Richard Henry and Ellen Jane Coad. Born at Redruth, Cornwall.
Plot I. C. 48.
Dick lived at 47 March Street, Burnley. He was wounded on May 20th 1915 and handed over to the 4th (London) Field Ambulance for treatment.
His friend, Harry Greenhalgh, wrote to Dick's parents:
"Last Thursday evening the Germans started shelling this place, and a group of us were standing not far from our billet when a shell burst about ten yards away. Dick, Will and another of our chaps were hit, but we soon had them inside, and our officer, who is a doctor and was in the billet at the time, attended to them, and it was not long before they were taken into hospital. I went to see them the following day and found them all right. As I expect Dick will be all right in a few weeks. They have taken him away from this place, I don't know where he has been removed, but I am expecting a letter from him any time now. I received the parcel you sent to him yesterday, and Dick told me to divide it among the section. I am looking after his kit for him and will let you know if I hear something."
Sadly, Dick succumbed to his wounds and was buried at Chocques Military Cemetery. Harry Greenhalgh, also from Burnley, survived the war and ended up as a Serjeant in the R.A.M.C.
1st/4th Bn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers
11/05/1915, aged 24.
Son of Mr. W. Davies, of II, Lodge Lane, Liverpool; husband of E. Conde (formerly Davies), of 2, Chirk Green, Chirk, Denbighshire.
Plot I. A. 110.
Wounded at the Battle of Aubers Ridge 9th May 1915 and died of wounds two days later 11th May 1915, his death is mentioned in All that we had we gave, by Peter Glynn
James Miller Taylor
10th Bn. Cameronians
Husband of Mrs. M. G. Cartwright (formerly Taylor), of 41, May St., Burnley Wood, Burnley.
Plot II. C. 3.
Picture courtesy of Grandson, Gareth Davies
12th Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment
17/08/1916, aged 36.
Plot I. A. 67.
Son of Benjamin and Eliza Jarvis, husband of Ada of 2 Selkirk Street, Hull, father to Richard, Harold and Ada Alkimia. Brother to my grandmother Matilda Ward (nee Jarvis). Also brother to 10657 Private Arthur Harold Jarvis, 6th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment killed Monday 9th August 1915 at the Dardnelles in the Gallipoli campaign. Commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.
Remembered with honour and pride by great niece Liz Cook and all his descendents
"C" Bty. 210th Bde. Royal Field Artillery
10/03/1918, aged 26.
Son of John and Sarah Waddington, of 116, Cleaver St., Burnley.
Plot I. O. 33.
Edward died of bronchial pneumonia at No.1 Casualty Clearing Station, France. The chaplain, Rev. R. G. Gamble wrote the following words to his parents:
"Your son has given his life for his country and for love of you and yours. He did not suffer much, but passed away quietly in his sleep. We laid him to rest in a little cemetery near here this afternoon, and his officer and many of his fellow-men attended to do him last honour."
Alfred Herbert Jardine
9th Bn. The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
27/08/1915, aged 17.
Plot I. D. 79.
Alfred's parents visit his grave in Chocques Military Cemetery after the war (left)
Alfred's nephew, George Bancroft and his son visit his grave many years later (centre)
A portrait of Alfred Herbert Jardine (right)
The sad loss of my Grandfather’s only son.
Alfred Herbert Jardine was born in Wavertree, Liverpool on the 5th
July 1898, the only son of Alfred Jardine & Lucy Emily Jardine nee Herbert.
I have always had an interest in Family History and I have a number of
Memorabilia items for my uncle Alfred that relate to his short life.
I also have several sketches he did, one of these being a picture dated June 1914 of the liner ‘Empress Of Ireland’ that sank in the Saint Lawrence
River following a collision with the Norwegian collier SS Storstad in
the early hours of 29 May 1914.
It is hard to believe that such a happy childhood would be brutally
interrupted in 1914 and have a devastating impact for him and his family the
following year in 1915 when he was killed in action.
They are truly 'not forgotten' and I have had the honour to visit their War Graves on two occasions and pay our family respects for their sacrifice.
The casualty sheet from Alfred's service record
Pictures and text courtesy of George Bancroft, nephew of Alfred Jardine
"C" Bty. 96th Bde. Royal Field Artillery
Plot I. E. 125.
The reverse side of the picture postcard
(Note that the CWGC show him as McAllister but he writes his name as MacAllister)
Pictures courtesy of Michel Leclercq
German Offensive in Flanders. Prisoners captured near La Bassee at Chocques, 10 April 1918, outside a medical inspection hut.
© IWM (Q 8687)