Pas de Calais



General Directions: Metz-en-Couture is a village situated in the extreme south-eastern corner of the Department of the Pas-de-Calais. The British Extension is next to the Communal Cemetery and lies adjacent to the D29B, 2 kilometres east of the village travelling in the direction of Gouzeaucourt.

The village was captured by the 10th and 11th King's Royal Rifle Corps on the 4th and 5th April 1917, evacuated on the 23rd March 1918, and retaken by the 1st Otago Regiment on the following 6th September. It was noted for its extensive system of underground cellars. It was later "adopted" by the County Borough of Halifax.

The Communal Cemetery was used by the enemy for the burial of German soldiers and also of three R.F.C. Officers, whose graves have now been removed to the British Extension. On the East side of it a German Extension was made containing the graves of 252 German soldiers and one man of the Chinese Labour Corps; the German graves have now been removed to other cemeteries and the Chinese grave to the British Extension.

The British Extension was begun in April 1917, and used until March, 1918, and two graves were added in the following September. These original burials, made by Field Ambulances and fighting units, are in Plots I and II; Plots III and IV were added after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the immediate neighbourhood, including:

METZ-EN-COUTURE BRITISH CEMETERY No.2, which was on the West side of the village, a little South of the road to Ruyaulcourt. It contained the graves of 35 soldiers from the United Kingdom, mainly of the 58th (London) and 47th (London) Divisions, who fell in 1917 and 1918.

There are now nearly 500, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, almost 50 are unidentified and special memorials are erected in the cemetery recording the names of four soldiers from the United Kingdom, buried in Metz-en-Couture British Cemetery No.2, whose graves could not be found on concentration.

The cemetery covers an area of 2,212 square metres and is enclosed on three sides by a rubble wall.


Victoria Cross: Captain George Henry Tatham Paton VC. MC.  4th Bn. Grenadier Guards, 01/12/1917, aged 22. Plot II. E. 24. Son of George William and Etta Tatham Paton, of Wolviston House, Whyteleafe, Surrey.

Citation: An extract from the "London Gazette,'' dated 12th Feb., 1918, records the following:-" For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice. When a unit on his left was driven back, thus leaving, his flank in the air and his company practically surrounded, he fearlessly exposed himself to re-adjust the line, walking up and down within fifty yards of the enemy under a withering fire. He personally removed several wounded men, and was the last to leave the village. Later, he again re-adjusted the line, exposing himself regardless of all danger the whole time, and when the enemy four times counter-attacked he sprang each time upon the parapet, deliberately risking his life, and being eventually mortally wounded, in order to stimulate his command. After the enemy had broken through on his left, he again mounted the parapet, and with a few men, who were inspired by his great example, forced them once more to withdraw, thereby undoubtedly saving the left flank."

Casualty Details: UK 422, Canada 1, Australia 1, New Zealand 43, South Africa 7, Germany 12, Total Burials: 486


R/15563 Rifleman

William Hadfield

11th Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps.

04/04/1917, aged 19.

Son of Mr. Thomas W. Hadfield, of 11, St. Stephens Rd., Blackburn, Lancs.

Plot III. B. 4.


Picture courtesy of Evelyn Swain, William Hadfield's niece.

19295 Private

Edwin James Rixon

2nd Bn. Royal Berkshire Regiment

04/04/1917, aged 22.

Son of James and Elizabeth Rixon, of Fawley Green, Henley-on-Thames. He lived in the village of Fawley, nr. Henley on Thames, with his parents, his brother Jack (my grandfather) and sister Amy(Cis). I visited his grave with my parents about 40yrs ago, to take a photo for Aunt Cis who was never able to visit it.

Plot III. C. 16.


Picture courtesy of great niece, Alison Palmer



200606 Lance Serjeant

Ernest Tapper

2nd/5th Bn. South Staffordshire Regiment


Plot II. A. 17.

Ernest was born in Walsall in 1892, he enlisted in Walsall and served in the South Staffordshire Regiment with the  2nd/5th battalion. His battalion landed at Le Havre in France on 25/02/1917 and during the period 14/03/17 - 05/04/17  were involved in the German Retreat to the Hindenburg line.

Ernest was killed in action on 25/06/17 when he was blown up on a gun carriage. His residence at the time of his death was 31 Poole Street, Walsall. His regimental number was 200606 and his rank was Lance Sergeant. After the war he was posthumously awarded the Victory medal.

Picture courtesy of great niece, Jane Pettifer



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