General Directions: Romeries is a village approximately 16 kilometres
south of Valenciennes and 4 kilometres north-east of Solemes. The Communal
Cemetery is on the west side of the village on the north side of the road to
Part of the II Corps retired through this area during the Retreat from
Mons in August 1914, and in October 1918, Commonwealth forces returned
during the Advance to Victory.
Briastre was captured on 10 October 1918, Belle Vue Farm on 20 October,
Romeries itself and Beaudignies on 23 October and Englefontaine on 26
October. The Battle of the Sambre, the last great action of the war, carried
the front forward into Belgium and ended with the Armistice. Romeries
Communal Cemetery Extension is one of the burial grounds of those who died
between these dates.
The original extension is Plot I, made by the 3rd and New Zealand Divisions,
and containing 128 graves. The remaining plots were made after the Armistice
when graves were brought in from isolated positions on the battlefield,
including (in Plot X) a few graves of 25 August 1914, and from small
BRIASTRE-SOLESMES ROAD MILITARY CEMETERY, BRIASTRE (Nord), was used by the
37th Division and the 1st Wellington Regiment (New Zealand) from the 11th to
the 16th October, 1918. It contained the graves of 25 soldiers from the
United Kingdom (12 of the 4th Middlesex) and 11 from New Zealand. It was
about 800 metres South-East of Briastre, across the Selle.
BRIASTRE CHURCHYARD contained the grave of one New Zealand soldier.
BELLE VUE FARM CEMETERY, BRIASTRE, was 200 metres South of the Farm, which
was almost immediately East of Briastre, across the Selle. It contained the
graves of 16 soldiers of the 4th Middlesex who fell on the 10th October.
BEAUDIGNIES CHURCHYARD (Nord) contained the graves of five New Zealand
soldiers who fell on the 4th November.
ENGLEFONTAINE GERMAN CEMETERY contained the graves of three soldiers from
the United Kingdom who fell on the 26th and 27th October.
GRAND GAY FARM CEMETERY, LOUVIGNIES-QUESNOY (Nord), was nearly 1.6
kilometres South of Louvignies. There were buried in it 37 soldiers from the
United Kingdom, 24 of whom belonged to the 9th Duke of Wellington's.
SALESCHES CHURCHYARD (Nord) contained the graves of three soldiers from the
United Kingdom who fell on the 25th and 29th October.
ST. PYTHON COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION was made by the 2nd Division. It
contained the graves of 23 soldiers from the United Kingdom, two from New
Zealand, and one from Canada, who fell between the 27th October and the 8th
There are now 832 burials and commemorations of the First World War in the
extension. 129 of the burials are unidentified but there are special
memorials to 15 casualties believed to be buried among them.
The extension was designed by
Henry Holden & William
Victoria Cross: Corporal John McNamara, VC. 9th Bn. East Surrey
Regiment, died 16/10/1918, aged 29. Plot IV. D. 17.
extract from the London Gazette, dated 12th Nov., 1918, records the
following:-"For conspicuous bravery, initiative, and devotion to duty. When
operating a telephone in evacuated enemy trenches occupied by his battalion,
Cpl. McNamara realised that a determined enemy counter-attack was gaining
ground. Rushing to join the nearest post, he made the most effective use of
a revolver taken from a wounded officer. Then seizing a Lewis gun he
continued to fire it till it jammed. By this time he was alone in the post.
Having destroyed his telephone, he joined the nearest post, and again
displayed great courage and initiative in maintaining Lewis gun fire until
reinforcements arrived. It was undoubtedly due to the magnificent courage
and determination of Pte. McNamara that the other posts were enabled to hold
on, and his fine example of devotion is worthy of the highest praise."
Shot at Dawn: G/46730 Private Ernest Jackson, 24th Bn. Royal Fusiliers, executed
for desertion, 07/11/1918, aged 32. Plot IV. C. 20.
The mass pardon of 306 British
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 719, Canada 1, New Zealand 112, Total Burials: 832