Pas de Calais
General Directions: Neuville-Vitasse is a village in the department of the Pas-de-Calais, 5 kilometres south-east of Arras on the D5. London Cemetery stands on the west side of the road to Arras in a shallow valley.
Neuville-Vitasse was attacked by the 56th (London) Division on 7 April 1917 and captured by the same Division on 9 April. The village was almost entirely lost at the end of March 1918 but regained at the end of the following August. It was later "adopted" by the Metropolitan Borough of Paddington. The London Cemetery was made by the 56th Division in April 1917 and greatly extended after the Armistice when graves were brought in from other burial grounds and from the battlefields between Arras, Vis-en-Artois and Croisilles. London Cemetery contains 747 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 318 of the burials are unidentified and on a screen wall are panels bearing the names of casualties buried in the following four cemeteries, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire:- WANCOURT ROAD CEMETERY No.2, just East of NEUVILLE-VITASSE; NEUVILLE0-VITASSE MILL CEMETERY, close to a German strong point on the road to Mercatel; BEAURAINS ROAD CEMETERY No.2, just North-West of NEUVILLE-VITASSE; BEAURAINS GERMAN CEMETERY; and ERCHIN GERMAN CEMETERY (Nord).
Shot at Dawn: Private S. H. Cunnington, 2nd Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment, executed for desertion 19/05/1917, Plot 1. C. 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 713, Canada 23, Australia 11, Total Burials: 747
7th Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps.
11/05/1917, aged 22.
Wancourt Road Cem. No. 2 Mem., Panel 2.
Picture courtesy of David Downs, Adelaide, Australia