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General Directions: St Sever Cemetery and extension is a large communal cemetery situated on the eastern edge of the southern Rouen suburbs of Le Grand Quevilly and Le Petit Quevilly.



1 March - 1 November:
Monday-Saturday : 0815 - 1745
Sundays/Public Holidays : 0815 - 1745

2 November - 28 February:
Every Day: 0815 - 1645


If approaching Rouen from the north, head for the centre of town and cross over the river Seine, following signs for Caen. Follow this route until you get to the 'Rond Point des Bruyeres' roundabout (next to the football stadium), then take the first exit into the Boulevard Stanislas Girardin. The cemetery is 150 metres down this road on the left.


If approaching Rouen from the south, follow the N138 (Avenue des Canadiens) towards the centre of town. At the 'Rond Point des Bruyeres' roundabout (next to the football stadium), take the fourth exit into the Boulevard Stanislas Girardin. The cemetery is 150 metres down this road on the left.


If arriving on foot, take the metro to St Sever Metro Station, then follow the Avenue de Caen until you get to the Avenue de la Liberation, then take this road and follow this, which will become the Boulevard du 11 Novembre. At the end of this road is the 'Rond Point des Bruyeres' roundabout. Take the first exit from this into the Boulevard Stanislas Girardin. The cemetery is 150 metres down this road on the left.

During the First World War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen. A base supply depot and the 3rd Echelon of General Headquarters were also established in the city.

Almost all of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for practically the whole of the war. They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No. 2 Convalescent Depot. A number of the dead from these hospitals were buried in other cemeteries, but the great majority were taken to the city cemetery of St. Sever. In September 1916, it was found necessary to begin an extension, where the last burial took place in April 1920.

During the Second World War, Rouen was again a hospital centre and the extension was used once more for the burial of Commonwealth servicemen, many of whom died as prisoners of war during the German occupation.

The cemetery extension contains 8,346 Commonwealth burials of the First World War (ten of them unidentified) and in Block "S" there are 328 from the Second World War (18 of them unidentified). There are also 8 Foreign National burials here.

The extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield

Victoria Cross: The Rev. Theodore Bailey Hardy, VC. DSO. MC. Chaplain 4th Class, Army Chaplains' Dept. Attached 8th Bn. Lincolnshire Regiment, Appointed Chaplain to His Majesty, 17th Sept., 1918. Died 18/10/1918. Plot S. V. J. 1.

Citation: An extract from the London Gazette, No. 30790, dated 9th July, 1918, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on many occasions. Although over 50 years of age, he has, by his fearlessness, devotion to men of his battalion, and quiet unobtrusive manner, won the respect and admiration of the whole division. His marvellous energy and endurance would be remarkable even in a very much younger man, and his valour and devotion are exemplified in the following incidents: An infantry patrol had gone out to attack a previously located enemy post in the ruins of a village, the Reverend Theodore Bailey Hardy (C.F.) being then at company headquarters. Hearing firing, he followed the patrol, and about four hundred yards beyond our front line of posts found an officer of the patrol dangerously wounded. He remained with the officer until he was able to get assistance to bring him in. During this time there was a great deal of firing, and an enemy patrol actually penetrated between the spot at which the officer was lying and our front line and captured three of our men. On a second occasion when an enemy shell exploded in the middle of one of our posts, the Reverend T. B. Hardy at once made his way to the spot, despite the shell and trench mortar fire which was going on at the time, and set to work to extricate the buried men. He succeeded in getting out one man who had been completely buried. He then set to work to extricate a second man, who was found to be dead. During the whole of the time that he was digging out the men this chaplain was in great danger, not only from shell fire, but also because of the dangerous condition of the wall of the building which had been hit by the shell which buried the men. On a third occasion he displayed the greatest devotion to duty when our infantry, after a successful attack, were gradually forced back to their starting trench. After it was believed that all our men had withdrawn from the wood, Chaplain Hardy came out of it, and on reaching an advanced post asked the men to help him to get in a wounded man. Accompanied by a Serjeant he made his way to the spot where the man lay, within ten yards of a pill-box which had been captured in the morning, but was subsequently re-captured and occupied by the enemy. The wounded man was too weak to stand, but between them the chaplain and the Serjeant eventually succeeded in getting him to our lines. Throughout the day the enemy's artillery, machine-gun and trench mortar fire was continuous, and caused many casualties. Notwithstanding, this very gallant chaplain was seen moving quietly amongst the men and tending the wounded, absolutely regardless of his personal safety."

Shot at Dawn: 52081 Gunner W. E. Lewis, 124th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, executed for mutiny 29/10/1916. Plot O. 1. M. 8.

Shot at Dawn: 24/1521 Private J. Braithwaite, 2nd Bn. Otago Regiment (N. Z. E. F.), executed for mutiny 29/10/1916. Plot O. 1. K. 10.

Shot at Dawn: 5884 Coolie F. Y. Wan, Chinese Labour Corps, executed for murder 15/02/1919. Plot S. 1. E. 2. 

Shot at Dawn: 97170 Coolie C. M. Hei, Chinese Labour Corps, executed for murder 21/02/1920. Plot S. 1. F. 1. 

Shot at Dawn: 44340 Coolie C. H.  K'ung, Chinese Labour Corps, executed for murder 21/02/1920. Plot S. 1. F. 6.

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 6754, Canada 321, Australia 782, New Zealand 134, South Africa 84, India 271, Total Burials: 8346



Two British nurses; Rouen, 1st June 1917

© IWM (Q 2338)



Doing their Bit - The Voluntary Aid Detachment


by Janine Lawrence

Over the centuries the history of our country has been littered with governmental mistakes and mishaps. How refreshing then, that in 1908 the new Secretary of State for War, Lord Haldane, undertook reforms in the army which were to have far-reaching effects.

He established a new part-time army of volunteers who were fully-trained soldiers in full-time jobs and who were organised on a county system. This Territorial Force became jokingly known as the 'Saturday Night Soldiers' as the young men who joined were taught to shoulder arms at weekly meetings and drills. They even attended summer camp and many 'Terriers' were at camp when war was declared in August 1914.

In 1909, with unbelievable foresight, the War Office issued a 'Scheme for the Organisation of Voluntary Aid in England and Wales' which recognised the need to provide sufficient medical backup to supplement the Territorial Force in the event of war. Ultimate efficiency would not be realised unless all voluntary aid was co-ordinated and the Territorial Associations were directed to entrust the work to the British Red Cross which had also adopted the county system of organisation. They joined up with the Order of St John of Jerusalem and thus, the organisation known as the Voluntary Aid Detachment was born.

Detachments were divided into those for men and those for women. Men's detachments numbered 56 lead by a commandant and comprising a medical officer, a quartermaster, a pharmacist and four section leaders each responsible for 12 men. They were usually responsible for transport and converting suitable buildings into hospitals and clearing stations and would also act as stretcher-bearers and male nurses if required. After enrolment the men studied first aid and were lectured in the various duties connected with transport and camps.

The women's detachments were less than half the strength of the men. They were also led by a commandant, who could either be male or female and not necessarily a doctor, a quartermaster, a trained nurse as a lady superintendent and 20 women of whom four had to be qualified cooks. It was felt the women's detachments would be better served to the 'less arduous' task of forming railway rest stations where they could prepare and serve meals for sick and wounded soldiers. It was obvious they were seen more as domestic assistants than nurses! However, they were given lectures in first aid, home nursing, hygiene and cookery and were occasionally given training in infirmaries. They were taught to identify suitable buildings for use as temporary hospitals and how to obtain equipment and supplies.

Within a year membership numbered somewhere around 6000 with over 2,500 detachments. These numbers increased considerably after the outbreak of war in 1914 and numbers rose to over 74,000, two-thirds of whom were women and girls.

As men were called away to answer their country's call it fell upon the women to fill their shoes in whatever way they could. Initially it was mostly middle-class women who were eager to 'do their bit' and they took on roles such as ambulance drivers, welfare officers, fundraisers, civil defence workers and even letter writers for the illiterate. It is interesting to note that the novelist, Agatha Christie was a VAD and worked in a hospital pharmacy where she learned about poisons!

The military authorities were reluctant at this early stage to accept VADs on the front line, perhaps thinking that the battlefield was no place for a woman. However, this restriction was lifted in 1915 and women volunteers over the age of twenty three and with more than three months experience were allowed to go to the Western Front, Gallipoli and Mesopotamia. Eventually VAD's were also sent to the Eastern Front.

Before the outbreak of war some VADs had taken short nursing courses for which they were awarded certificates. Qualified nurses had undertaken three years training and were understandably suspicious of these short courses, referring to the volunteers as 'ignorant amateurs'. Quarrels broke out and there are even reports of open conflict before the new spirit of unity in time of war was felt and working together for mutual benefit was the order of the day.

The VAD's became very active in the war effort using influence to transport themselves to the conflicts in France to care for the sick and wounded and thus carving out for themselves a clear role as nurses or orderlies in hospitals at home and in the theatres of war. By 1916 their numbers had increased to 80,000.

In 1917 clear regulations were laid down by the British Red Cross which governed the employment of nursing VAD's in military hospitals. Age limits were specified and volunteers should be between 21 and 48 years of age for home service and 23 and 42 for foreign. They were to be appointed for one month on probation during which time they were assessed for suitability by the matron. They then had to sign an agreement to serve for six months or the duration of the war, at home or abroad. Salary would be £20 per annum rising to £22.10.0 for those who signed on for another six months at the end of their current contract. Increments of a further £2.10.0 would be paid every six months until probationers reached the maximum of £30 per annum.

It was also laid down that VAD's should work under fully trained nurses with duties including sweeping, dusting, polishing, cleaning, washing patients' crockery, sorting linen and any nursing duties allotted by the matron.

Meanwhile, VAD hospitals were being set up in Blighty and were mostly located in large houses loaned for the purpose by their owners. Gustard Wood at Wheathampstead and The Bury at King's Walden are just two Hertfordshire premises used. The Council School in Royston and the former mental hospital, Napsbury in Colney Heath are examples of institutes put into service.

These hospitals received the sum of three shillings per day per patient from the War Office and were expected to raise additional funds themselves. As everyone was keen to be seen to help the war effort this was not difficult and local newspapers regularly featured lists of donations received - obviously anonymity did not seem to be the case!

Many women returning home after the conflict ended undertook formal nurse training and registration with the General Nursing Council. Others tried to pick up the threads of their former lives. What must be certain is that life could never have been the same for any of them again. The sight, smell and fear of war must have been imprinted on every mind bringing about a change in the lives of women which would grow and grow over the following years.

Our thanks to Janine Lawrence for permission to use this article

© Janine Lawrence

British wounded convalescing at a base hospital at Rouen.

© IWM (Q 2339)




163257 Sergeant

Joseph Smith

75th Bn. Canadian Infantry

(Central Ontario Regiment)

Died of wounds 02/12/1916,

aged 26

Plot O. III. K. 2

Son of Joseph H. and Marie Louise L'Amy Smith; husband of Laura Dorothy Smith, of 259, Macpherson Avenue, Toronto.


His grandson Jesse T. Smith adds:

He was a Sergeant with the 75th Battalion (Jolly 75th), #163257. He was born January 11th, 1890 in St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands. He moved to Canada in 1911, Married Laura Smith and had a son (my Grandfather) in 1914. He was severely wounded on November 18th 1916 during an attack on  Desire Trench. He was moved to the No. 1 Australian General Hospital in Rouen where he died of his wounds December 2nd, 1916.


Thanks to Jesse T. Smith of Vancouver B. C. Canada, for supplying the photo

11328 Lance Corporal

George Saxby

1st Bn. The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

Formerly 4014, 17th Lancers.

Died of wounds 08/11/1916, received 3rd/4th/11/1916.

Plot O. I. H. 4.




156635 Gunner

William James Spalding

69th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.

11/11/1918, aged 26.

Son of Richard and Louisa Spalding, of 62, Richmond Park Rd., Kingston-on-Thames.

Plot S. II. GG. 3.


Picture Courtesy of Mike Spalding, great nephew of this soldier.


127141 Private

John Henry Alderton

38th Bn. Machine Gun Corps. (Infantry)

18/09/1918, aged 19.

R. III. L. 24.

The only son of Charles & Edith Annie Alderton (Nee Chittock) of Ilford, Essex, UK. Edith having been widowed after only two years later married James Jennings. Edith was my Great Aunt.


Picture courtesy of Derek Miller




36687 Corporal

Joe E. Peters D C M

8th Bn. Royal Berkshire Regiment

05/11/1918, aged 29.

Plot S. III. H. 27.

Joe Peters was born in 1887 at Cammers Green, Berrow,  and pre-war worked as a carpenter making carts and building houses, he built his own house at Cammers Green and a relative still lives in the property making carts in Birtsmorton, Worcs. He was married to Ellen on 2nd November, 1909 and they ran the Post Office, which was located at his house. He joined the Worcestershire Regiment before war broke out and originally travelled to France as part of the 7th Bn. He was later transferred to the 8th Bn. Royal Berkshire Regiment as part of a draft of 80 men, this happened sometime before December 1917. By 1918 he was serving in “D” Company, 8/Royal Berks. when the German offensive started on 21 March. The unit were at La Guingette Farm, 6 miles south of La Quentin when he earned his DCM. The citation [published LG 3 Sept. 1918] reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He volunteered to accompany an officer over the top of the trench to tackle an enemy sniper who was doing much execution amongst our men. Under heavy fire he rushed the sniper and took him back to the trench”.

The Battalion War Diary amplifies this:

12 March. Bn. takes over front line trenches, B and C Companies in the front line, A Company along the St. Quentin Road, and D Company in the Quarry.

20 March. Notice of impending attack received during the evening.

21 March. The enemy put down a heavy barrage which included much gas shelling. All communications were destroyed almost immediately. At 11.00 the enemy advanced in a thick line to attack the trench west of Bn. HQ. Owing to the mist they were able to reach 50 yards from our trench, but were then shot down almost to a man. One sniper, in a shell hole about 50 yards in front, was particularly active. Lieut. N. Williams, having located him, climbed over the parapet, accompanied by his servant 36678 Pte. J.E. Peters, rushed him with the bayonet and took him prisoner. When returning to the trench this Officer was killed. By this great act of gallantry he undoubtedly saved many lives. About this time the mist began to lift and the leading enemy troops were seen advancing towards la Fontaine. The remainder of the battalion was ordered to withdraw down Seine alley, towards the Battle Zone.

26 July L.-Cpl. J. E. Peters, “C” Company, who was awarded the DCM in May, was presented with the medal ribbon by the Corps Commander

He was not destined to survive the war, however, as he was wounded on 23 October, serving with “C” Company. The battalion had assembled for an attack in the railway cutting north of the Halt near Le Cateau: Cpl. Peters was amongst the many such casualties from enemy artillery fire during the assembly. [source: Battalion War Diary] He died of his wounds 13 days later, and was buried in St. Sever Extension in Plot III, Row H, Grave 27.

His widow remarried in 1921.


Picture and text courtesy of Philip Wadley, grandson of this soldier


E/254453 Private

Ernest George Summers

Army Service Corps


12/12/1916, aged 29.

Left a widow, Ada and son Eric Ernest Garner Summers

Plot O. III. P. 6.


Not Forgotten


Picture courtesy of grandson Vivian Summers


1958 Corporal

John James Kelly

4th Div. Trench Mortar Bty.

Australian Field Artillery

06/05/1917, aged 33.

Son of John and Catherine Kelly. Native of Redcastle, Victoria, Australia.

Plot P. I. J. 3B


Picture courtesy of Harry Willey


61971 Private

Robert Hawthorn

16th Bn. Cheshire Regiment

28.03/1918, aged 22.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorn, of 31, Molyneux St., Derby Rd., Bootle Liverpool.
Plot P. VII. H. 9A


Picture courtesy of great niece, Margaret Isaacs


2576 Private

 James Joseph Charlton

3rd Bn. Australian Infantry,

A. I. F.


Plot O. VIII. M. 2.

James Joseph Charlton. Regiment 2576. 3rd Battalion 8th Reinforcement. Panel 35 on the Roll of Honour at A.W.M. Thank you Grandfather Charlton, we are all safe and well because of you and your sacrifice.  You were the much loved husband of Ethel adoring father of Alma & Leslie, devoted grandchildren Wave William Edward & Lolo. in 2009 you have 15 respectful Great grandchildren , 23 Great, Great grandchildren , 5 Great, Great, Great grandchildren.

Grandfather while mortally wounded, secured the safety of two fellow wounded soldiers from the battle area. Private J. J. Charlton died in France 22nd March 1917. Receiving the " British War Medal." & "Victory Medal." His adoring sister Mary received the condolences letter from the Empire Which broke her heart and she died the same year. the letter stated how he was a fine example and inspired his fellow men. He was described as having strict soldier qualities and the sterling qualities of a soldier and a man. He is buried at St Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France. His grave has been visited by family. James J. Charlton was the Grandson of William Charlton NSW Corps 1790, he sailed to Australia on Neptune 1789. Mentioned in the first "Land Grants Book" 1788-1809. William married Mary, a convict, he was a rum trader. William & Mary forged a life for their family, which his Grandson James had to defend to the death in WW1 . James J. Charlton enlisted and sailed on the SS Runic in 1915 to Suez and the war. James J. Charlton's Great grandson now a soldier wears your medals Anzac day every year. A Kelso born man loved adored respected and always remembered by your family.  Lest We Forget

WITHOUT THE HERO THERE IS NO EVENT..........................................................

Picture courtesy of Granddaughter Deborah Venet-Sanos


M/274439 Private

David Storrar

Army Service Corps

attd. 123rd Siege Bty. Royal Garrison Artillery

15/11/1918, aged 29.

Son of the late Smart Storrar and of Christina Storrar, of 1, Lorne Place, Leith, Edinburgh.

Plot S. III. HH. 11.


Picture courtesy of Douglas Hollinsworth

2704 Private

John Henry Hector Wilson

Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)

09/12/1917, aged 20.

Son of George Hector and Rosa C. M. Wilson, of 8, Marli St., Port of Spain, Trinidad, British West Indies. He was born 18 Jan 1897.  His name appears on the War Memorial in Port-of-Spain. 
Plot P. V. O. 12A


Picture courtesy of nephew, Alan Wilson


T4/083359 Driver

Michael Foley

Army Service Corps.

attd. 7th Dragoon Guards (Princess Royal's)

13/06/1918, aged 33.

Son of Catherine Foley, of 21, St. Patrick's Cottages, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.

Plot Q. I. E/ 23.


Michael was obviously very ill judging by this photo as he looks unwell and is surrounded by Medical personnel. This building in background is probably the Hospital and we wonder if the statue with orator and admirer helps you to let me know precise location.

We understand that a Spanish influenza was rampant at the time and claimed his life finally.

He is mentioned by name in a play about Francis Ledwidge by Irish writer Dermot Bolger "Walking the road"

By a strange co-incidence Ledwidge himself,as a youth was a shop boy in Michael's ''home district of Rathfarnham,South Co.Dublin.

Picture courtesy of Joe Walsh


51954 Gunner

Edward James Townsend

"A" Bty. 298th Bde.

Royal Field Artillery

22/04/1918, aged 21.

Plot P. IX. B. 7A.


In Memory of Gunner Edward James Townsend Much loved Son of Thomas & Charlotte Townsend. He worked for the Railways before volunteering for the Army in 1914, joining the Medical Corps he later transferred to the Royal Artillery as he said he found it difficult recovering parts of his Comrades & would sooner shoot the Enemy. After being gassed in 1917 he was sent to home to recover, he wasn't obliged to go back but insisted he felt it was his duty to to fight for his Family (1 Brother & 8 Sisters) and his Country. He was gassed again in 1918 this was to be the last time. He lay dying of his wounds for six days in St Louis, U.S.A., Hospital, France and spent his 21st birthday there. My Grandmother never managed to visit his Grave but I his niece have been lucky enough to have managed to visit several times. We are eternally grateful for the Great Sacrifice he & his comrades made. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff for their hard work in keeping the Cemetery immaculate.

We loved him in life, he is dear to us still, Although we must bend to God's Holy will. The loss is great and the grief hard to bear, But angels in Heaven will attend him with care.


Courtesy of his niece Valerie Phillips


844 Private

Dudley Joseph Clift

20th Bn. Australian Infantry,

A. I. F.


Son of Joseph Henry and Florence Augusta Ransome Clift. Native of Maitland, New South Wales.

Plot O. VIII. I. 5.

#844 Private Dudley Joseph Clift from Maitland, and "Breeza Station",
New South Wales, Australia, enlisted on 30th March 1915 and was assigned
to 2nd Division, 5th brigade, 20th Battalion, C Coy. AIF.

He was born in 1883, the son of Joseph Henry Clift and Florence Augusta
Ransome Clift (nee Maitland),and worked on the family pastoral property
and as a Stock and Station Agent before his enlistment.

Dudley's unit was sent to the Gallipoli Penisula, arriving there in
August 1915. In July 1916 he arrived in France and was hospitalised on
and off for various illnesses, including mumps, till he rejoined his
unit on 6th February 1917.

The unit was engaged in action near Martinpuich, north of Albert when,
on 2nd March 1917, Dudley received 5 gun shot wounds and was treated at
the 1/1 SMCCS before being transferred to the 9th General Hospital in
Rouen. He died on 28th March 1917 of septicaemia and is buried in the
St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.

Dudley was my paternal grandfather.

Submitted by Miss. Aenone S. McRae-Clift, originally from New South
Wales and now of Ferntree Gully, Melbourne, Australia.



4113 Private

William Ernest Garvie

24th Bn. Australian Infantry,

A. I. F.

19/11/1916, aged 34.

Son of George and Jane Garvie, of Inlet Rd., Leongatha, Victoria, Australia.

Plot O. II. M. 2

Pictures courtesy of great-niece, Carmel Speakman


L/12772 Squadron Serjeant Major

Charles Augustus Rowland, DCM.

"A" Sqdn. 9th (Queen's Royal) Lancers

16/08/1918, aged 41.

Son of John and Eliza Rowland, of 106, Washwood Heath Rd.,

Saltley, Birmingham. Native of Gloucester.

Plot R. II. I. 20.



Picture courtesy of his great nephew, Brian Rowland



2139 Private

Albert Victor Bretherton, MM.

19th Bn. Australian Infantry, A. I. F.

09/10/1918, aged 30.

Son of William and Lucy Ann Bretherton. Native of Pendleton, Manchester, England.

Plot S. II. N. 20.


Image courtesy of Lesly Rochelle