Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pozieres War Graves France

In the words of Australian official historian Charles Bean, Pozieres "is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth."

This cemetery contain thousands of Australian war dead but there is no name of any Australian soldier buried here. The Australian soldiers who fell here are commemorated on the National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux a few kilometres away.

It is a walled enclosure set amongst the rolling fields of northern France not far from the city of Amiens.

This grave only identified by rank.

On 23 July 1916 the 1st Division of the Australian Imperial Forces captured Pozieres Village. The division clung to its gains despite almost continuous artillery fire and repeated German counter-attacks. By the time it was relieved on 27 July it had suffered 5,285 casualties.

The 2nd Division took over from the 1st and mounted two further attacks. They were relieved on 6 August, having suffered 6,848 casualties.


The memorial encloses POZIERES BRITISH CEMETERY of which contains original burials of 1916, 1917 and 1918, carried out by fighting units and field ambulances.

There are now 2,758 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 1,380 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. There is also 1 German soldier buried here.

The cemetery and memorial were designed by W.H. Cowlishaw, with sculpture by Laurence A. Turner. The memorial was unveiled by Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien on 4 August 1930.

From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Part of Taphophile Tragic's to view the others click here.


  1. I have a 2nd cousin at Pozieres - Reginald Sydney Merrett (1895-1917).

  2. it is always interesting to read of the Australian forces in the first world war - something we did not learn much of in school.

  3. OH so many dead...thats a huge burial ground.

  4. So people don't actually know exactly where their loved one is buried, only that its at at that cemetery?

  5. True Ann, just like that headstone, they only found his uniform insignia.

  6. It is humbling and sad to see so many... yet is is nice that each has his own stone.

  7. Twelve thousand dead from these two divisions? And only 2700 commemoratd here. Where are the rest buried?

  8. So many unknown soldiers...like numbers in a prison...the prison of war! Strange that no attempt was made to connect ranks and names! But perhaps that would be an insurmountable task!

  9. Without being too graphic, the bodies were not able to be identified because they were in pieces from artillery. A major effort was undertaken to identify the dead, today they use DNA from that taken from soldiers when they enlist, however at the time they did their best. Some headstones just read, 'A soldier from the great war', others the just identify the unit. It must have been horrific.

  10. Oakland, no not 12,000 dead - but casualties. Thousands dead, yes, I did not get the breakdown.

  11. Such an interesting post. You don't really understand the scale of sacrifice until you see the rows upon rows of white stones.

  12. Yes, it is the row upon row of white stones that shafts it home. And the men are not men, they are boys. Blown to smithereens.

    Fascinating post, Peter.

  13. how sad.
    isnt it just tiring that people cant live without fighting and killing? and sending soldiers etc etc...
    it has always been like that, and probably will never change. i guess


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