MARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY and
THE MARFAUX NEW ZEALAND MEMORIAL
General Directions: Marfaux is 18.5 kilometres from Reims and 16 kilometres from Epernay. Marfaux British Cemetery is about one kilometre south-east of the village along the RD386, on the north-east side of the road to Nanteuil-la-Foret and on the south-east side of the crossroad from Bois-de-Courton. The Marfaux (New Zealand) Memorial takes the forms of a panel stone erected in the shelter in Marfaux British Cemetery, and commemorates, by name, 10 casualties of the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion who fell in July 1918 and who have no known grave.
Marfaux was captured by the Germans in May 1918, and retaken, after severe fighting, on the 23rd July, by the 51st (Highland) and 62nd (West Riding) Divisions and the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion.
The cemetery was begun after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the battlefields and from other Military Cemeteries in the Marne, including:-
BASLIEUX MILITARY CEMETERY, a little North of the village of Baslieux-les-Fismes: 41 soldiers 25th Div., May 1918.
BOIS-D'AULNAY BRITISH CEMETERY, CHAUMUZY, South-west of Marfaux across the Ardre: 22 soldiers, mainly 51st Div., July 1918.
BROUILLET GERMAN CEMETERY: 4 soldiers, May-June 1918.
BUSSY-LE-CHATEAU FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY, East of the village: 3 soldiers, August 1918 (and 800 French, 200 German, 10 American).
CHALONS-SUR-VESLE FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY: 1 soldier, June 1918.
CHAMERY MILITARY CEMETERY, South-west of the village: 1 soldier (and 19 French).
CORMICY FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY (not the permanent MAISON-BLEUE FRENCH NATIONAL CEMETERY, at the Cormicy Aguilcourt cross-roads on the main Laon-Reims road).
COURVILLE MILITARY CEMETERY, in South part of village: 22 soldiers, May-June 1918 (and 250 French and 130 German).
CRUGNY HOSPITAL CEMETERY, a German cemetery: 1 soldier, June 1918.
CUITRON BRITISH CEMETERY, MARFAUX, in the middle of a cornfield, made by the 62nd Div. Burial Officer: 60 soldiers (mainly 8th West Yorks), July 1918.
FISMES GERMAN CEMETERY (in Hospital grounds): 1 soldier, June 1918.
LAGERY HOSPITAL CEMETERY, a German cemetery: 1 soldier, June 1918.
LES VENTEAUX GERMAN CEMETERY, MONTIGNY-SUR-VESLE: 6 soldiers, May-June 1918.
MARFAUX CHURCHYARD EXTENSION, made by 59th Field Ambulance: 11 soldiers, June 1918.
MONTIGNY-SUR-VESLE MILITARY CEMETERY, used by French until 27th May and then by Germans: 60 soldiers, May-July 1918 (and 1400 French and 1100 German).
MOULIN DE L'ARDRE BRITISH CEMETERY, MARFAUX: 22 soldiers (all 51st Div.), July 1918.
NANTEUIL-LA-FOSSE MILITARY CEMETERY (Marne), made by Field Ambulances: 38 soldiers (and 16 French), May-July 1918.
PEVY GERMAN CEMETERY: 5 soldiers, May-July 1918.
POURCY BRITISH CEMETERIES No.1 and No.2, MARFAUX, both made by the 62nd Division: 77 soldiers and 14 soldiers, July 1918.
PROUILLY MILITARY CEMETERY, started by Germans and continued by French: 7 unidentified soldiers (and 500 French and 120 German).
ROMAIN MILITARY CEMETERY, near the Chateau: 3 soldiers, June 1918 (and 350 French and some German).
ST. GILLES MILITARY CEMETERY: 1 soldier, May 1918 (and 756 French and 246 German).
SAPICOURT FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY, COURCELLES-SAPICOURT: 2 soldiers, June 1918.
SERMIERS COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION: 3 soldiers, July 1918 (and 30 French).
VAUX-VARENNES MILITARY CEMETERY, BOUVANCOURT: 1 soldier, buried by enemy, June 1918 (and 400 French and 60 German).
VENTELAY FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY: 2 soldiers.
VILLE-DOMMANGE MILITARY CEMETERY: 4 soldiers, June-July 1918 (and 830 French and 170 German).
There are over 1,000, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 300 are unidentified and special memorials are erected to eight soldiers from the United Kingdom known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of 12 soldiers from the United Kingdom, buried in other cemeteries, whose graves could not be found. Ten of the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion who fell in July 1918, whose graves could not be found, are commemorated on a memorial erected in the shelter.
The cemetery covers an area of 4,162 square metres and is enclosed on three sides by a low rubble wall.
Serjeant, John Meikle, VC, MM of the 4th Seaforth Highlanders, he was killed in action on 20/07/1918 aged 19 and is buried in plot 8. C. 1.
Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette", dated 13th Sept., 1918, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery and initiative when his company, having been held up by machine-gun fire, he rushed single-handed a machine-gun nest. He emptied his revolver into the crews of the two guns and put the remainder out of action with a heavy stick. Then, standing up, he waved his comrades on. Very shortly afterward another hostile machine-gun checked progress, and threatened also the success of the company on the right. Most of his platoon having become casualties, Serjt. Meikle seized the rifle and bayonet of a fallen comrade, and again rushed forward against the gun crew, but was killed almost on the gun position. His bravery allowed two other men who followed him to put this gun out of action. This gallant non-commissioned officer's valour, devotion to duty, and utter disregard for his personal safety was an inspiring example to all."
Casualty Details: UK 1114, New Zealand 15, Total Burials: 1129
Robert Moses Nedderman, MM
5th Bn. Duke of Wellington's Regiment
20/07/1918, aged 24
Plot VII. A. 8.
Husband of the late Sarah Ellen Nedderman (formerly Thorpe),
and father of Annie and Robert Nedderman of Oldham, England.
Lance-Corporal Nedderman was awarded the Military Medal in March 1918. According to the official record, the medal was awarded, "for absolute fearlessness and devotion to duty as stretcher-bearer during an attack on March 28, when he attended to the wounded under the heaviest shell fire, and on one occasion when a man from one of the forward posts had been wounded before reaching our line, brought him in under heavy machine gun and rifle fire". He was also wounded 3 times between March 1915 and July 1918.
Picture courtesy of his grandson, Robert E. Nedderman, Hope, Maine, USA
Marfaux New Zealand Memorial
Marfaux (New Zealand) Memorial takes the form of a panel stone erected in the shelter in Marfaux British Cemetery. It commemorates, by name, 10 casualties of the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion who fell in July 1918 and who have no known grave.
1st/4th Bn. Gordon Highlanders
19/07/1918, aged 34.
Plot V. E. 12.
Husband of Betsy Henderson and father of Janet Henderson, 2 Fleuchar Street, Dundee, Scotland. In 1915, John enlisted in the Highland Cyclist Battalion and was later transferred to the Gordons. He had been in France for 10 months.
Battles of the Marne, 1918. Ruins of Marfaux captured by the 62nd Division, 21-23 July, 1918.
© IWM (Q 6858)
76th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps.
29/05/1918, aged 22.
Son of Mr. Robert & Mrs. Elizabeth Nutter, of 12, Daneshouse Rd., Burnley.
Plot I. D. 4.
William Nutter worked in the Tram shed at Burnley prior to enlisting. He was wounded in the hip on 27/05/1918 at a French Casualty Clearing Station by shrapnel and later taken to No.48 Casualty Clearing Station. The following day, according to a returned prisoner who contacted his parents after the war, "We were all taken prisoner and your son died on the 29th and was buried at a place called Montigny."
Battles of the Marne 1916. Men of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment resting in a shell-hole after the capture of Marfaux on 23 July, 1918.
© IWM (Q 6867)