Vermelles British Cemetery


Vermelles is a village 10 kilometres north-west of Lens. From Lens take the N43, towards Bethune, to its junction with the D75 in Mazingarbe. Turn right at this junction and continue for approximately 900 metres when Vermelles British Cemetery will be found on the left hand side of the road.


Vermelles was in German hands from the middle of October to the beginning of December, 1914, when it was recaptured by the French. The cemetery was begun in August, 1915 (though a few graves are slightly earlier), and during the Battle of Loos (when the Chateau was used as a Dressing Station) Plot I was completed. It was laid out and fenced by the Pioneers of the 1st Gloucesters, and known for a long time as "Gloucester Graveyard". The remaining Plots were made by the Divisions (from the Dismounted Cavalry Division onwards) holding the line 1.6 kilometres East of the cemetery until April, 1917, and they incorporated a few isolated French graves of October, 1914. From April, 1917, to the Armistice, the cemetery was closed; but after the Armistice graves were brought in (to Plots II, IV and VI) from the battlefields to the East. There are now over 2,000, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, nearly 200 are unidentified and special memorials are erected to six soldiers from the United Kingdom, known to be buried among them.

ŠPaul Reed 2005

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