MAILLY WOOD CEMETERY
General Directions: Mailly Wood Cemetery is 9 kilometres north of Albert on the D919. The Cemetery is situated on the outskirts of the village of Mailly-Maillet on the left hand side of the road to Amiens, where it is signposted from the main road onto a 500 metre mud track.
Mailly-Maillet was within the line taken over from the French in the summer of 1915, and several Commonwealth cemeteries were made in the commune. Mailly Wood Cemetery was begun with the burial of thirteen men of the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders who died on 25 June 1916, and in November 1916, the 51st (Highland) Division buried in it following the capture of Beaumont Hamel. Thereafter, the cemetery was little used until April-August 1918, when the German attack on Amiens brought the front line very close, and further burials were made by the 12th Division (in May) and the 21st (in August), among others. After the Armistice graves from the battlefields immediately north-east of the village were brought into the cemetery, and 30 graves from Mailly Maillet Military Cemetery in the village itself.
Serjeant, Harold John, Colley, VC, MM of the 10th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers is buried within this cemetery in plot II.Q.4. he died of wounds on 25/08/1918 aged 23, Son of John and Hannah Elizabeth Colley, of 74, Cheshire Rd., Smethwick, Staffs.
Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 30967, dated the 18th Oct., 1918, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery and initiative when in command of a platoon in support of forward platoons which had been ordered to hold on at all costs. When the enemy counter-attacked in force, he rushed forward on his own initiative to help the forward line, rallying and controlling the men holding it. The enemy by this time were advancing quicky, and had already obtained a footing in the trench. Serjt. Colley then formed a defensive flank and held it. Out of the two platoons only three men remained unwounded, and he himself was dangerously wounded. It was entirely due to Serjt. Colley's action that the enemy were prevented from breaking through, and were eventually driven off. His courage and tenacity saved a very critical situation."
Casualty Details: UK 671, New Zealand 28, South Africa 3, Total Burials: 702