CONTALMAISON CHATEAU CEMETERY
General Directions: Contalmaison is a village about 6 kilometres north-east of the town of Albert and south of the main road from Albert to Bapaume. The Cemetery is on the northern side of the village.
The village was reached on the 1st July, 1916, by small parties of the 34th Division. It was stormed by the 23rd Division on the 7th July, and some men of the Northumberland Fusiliers taken four days earlier were released; but it was lost the same afternoon. It was not finally captured until the 8th and 9th Yorkshire Regiment cleared it on the 10th. However, it was lost again in March, 1918, and recaptured by the 38th (Welsh) Division on the evening of the following 24th August. The underground fortifications made by the enemy before 1916 played an important part in the defence of the village. The cemetery was begun by fighting units on the evening of the 14th July, 1916, and used from September, 1916 to March, 1917 by Field Ambulances. A few burials were made in Plot I, Rows B and C, in August and September, 1918. Graves were added after the Armistice by concentrations from the battlefields of the Somme and the Ancre. 18 German graves and one French were removed to other burial grounds.
Private William Henry Short, VC, 8th Bn. Yorkshire Regiment, died of wounds 07/08/1916, aged 31 years, plot II. B. 16., Son of James and Anne Short, of 35, Vaughan St., Grangetown, Yorks. Born at Eston, Yorks.
This British steel helmet is believed to have been worn by Private William Short, VC.
© IWM (UNI 11312)
Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 29740, dated 8th Sept., 1916, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery. He was foremost in the attack, bombing the enemy with great gallantry, when he was severely wounded in the foot. He was urged to go back, but refused and continued to throw bombs. Later his leg was shattered by a shell, and he was unable to stand, so he lay in the trench adjusting detonators and straightening the pins of bombs for his comrades. He died before he could be carried out of the trench. For the last eleven months he had always volunteered for dangerous enterprises, and has always set a magnificent example of bravery and devotion to duty."
Casualty Details: UK 264, Canada 4, Australia 21, Total burials: 289
14th Bn. Welsh Regiment
28/08/1918, aged 19.
Son of Mr and Mrs Feeley, 10 Thursfield Road, Burnley.
Plot I. B. 37.
Roger enlisted on March 5th, 1917, prior to this he was employed at the Burnley Corporation Gas works as a labourer.
19th Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.
09/02/1917, aged 36.
Son of Joseph and Eliza Jane Leslie, of Tullintrain, Co. Derry, Ireland.
Plot I. B. 27.
10th Bn. Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
09/08/1916, aged 22.
Son of Mr and Mrs Bridge, 8 Fielding Street, Burnley
Plot II. A. 28.
Prior to enlisting, Albert worked as a weaver at the Wood Top Mill Co., Burnley
Contalmaison, France. c. 1917. British Army medical orderlies carrying a wounded soldier on a stretcher back from an advanced dressing station which is marked on a tree in the background.
The ruins of Contalmaison Chateau, 2 September 1917.
© IWM (Q 2792)
The Chateau, pre-war
The ruins of Contalmaison Chateau, War graves in the foreground, which were tended and supplied with flowers by the French inhabitants; 2nd September 1917.
© IWM (Q 2793)
Number of burials by unit - Collated by Barry Cuttell