Normandy, France

History - WWI

Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre

Ste. Marie Cemetery is one of the town cemeteries, but it is actually situated in the commune of Graville-St. Honorine, overlooking Le Havre from the north.

more »

Fecamp (Le Val Aux Clercs) Communal Cemetry

Fecamp is a coastal town and port 41 kilometres north-east of Le Havre and Rouen. The cemetery is on the Rue Jean-Louis Leclerc, 76400 Fecamp.

more »

St Sever Cemetery, Rouen

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.

more »

Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre

Locality: Seine-Maritime

Visiting Information:

Wheelchair access to this cemetery is possible with some difficulty. For further information regarding wheelchair access, please contact our Enquiries Section on telephone number 01628 507200.

Location Information:

Ste. Marie Cemetery is one of the town cemeteries, but it is actually situated in the commune of Graville-St. Honorine, overlooking Le Havre from the north.

The main entrance to the cemetery is on the Rue du 329ème Régiment d'Infanterie. There is another entrance on the west side of the cemetery which is closest to the main war graves plots and this can be accessed via the Rue Eugène Landoas. Please note that the sketch plan of the cemetery that can be downloaded from the Commissions website was drawn up many years ago as a guide to the layout of the plots within it. The road names and numbers shown on the plan are therefore no longer representative of today.

Historical Information:

During the First World War, Le Havre was one of the ports at which the British Expeditionary Force disembarked in August 1914. Except for a short interval during the German advance in 1914, it remained No.1 Base throughout the war and by the end of May 1917, it contained three general and two stationary hospitals, and four convalescent depots. The first Commonwealth burials took place in Division 14 of Ste Marie Cemetery in mid August 1914. Burials in Divisions 19, 3, 62 and 64 followed successively.

A memorial in Plot 62 marks the graves of 24 casualties from the hospital ship 'Salta' and her patrol boat, sunk by a mine on 10 April 1917. The memorial also commemorates by name the soldiers, nurses and merchant seamen lost from the 'Salta' whose bodies were not recovered, and those lost in the sinking of the hospital ship 'Galeka' (mined on 28 October 1916) and the transport ship 'Normandy' (torpedoed on 25 January 1918), whose graves are not known. There are now 1,690 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in this cemetery, 8 of which are unidentified. During the Second World War, Le Havre was one of the evacuation ports for the British Expeditionary force in 1940 and towards the end of the war it was used as a supply and reinforcement base.

There are now 364 burials of the Second World War here,(59 of them unidentified) in Divisions 64 and 67 of the cemetery.

The Commonwealth plots in the cemetery were designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

No. of Identified Casualties: 1993

Fecamp (Le Val Aux Clercs) Communal Cemetry

Locality:Seine-Maritime

Location Information:

Fecamp is a coastal town and port 41 kilometres north-east of Le Havre and Rouen. The cemetery is on the Rue Jean-Louis Leclerc, 76400 Fecamp.

Historical Information:

This communal cemetery contains 11 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, all of them Merchant seamen. There are also 21 Second World War burials, four of them unidentified.

No. of Identified Casualties: 28

St Sever Cemetery, Rouen

Locality: Seine-Maritime

Location Information:

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. 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.

Historical Information:

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.

Victoria Cross:

The Rev. Theodore Bailey, VC, DSO, MC, Chaplain 4th Class, Army Chaplains' Dept. Attached 8th Bn. Lincolnshire Regiment, died 18/10/1918, plot S. V. J. 1.

Shot at Dawn:

Gunner W E Lewis, 124 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, executed for mutiny 29/10/1916, plot O. 1. M. 8.

Private J Braithwaite, 2nd Bn. Otago Regiment (New Zealand), executed for mutiny 29/10/1916, plot O. 1. K. 10.

Coolie F Y Wan, Chinese Labour Corps, executed 15/02/1919 for murder, plot S. 1. E. 2.

Coolie C M Hei, Chinese Labour Corps, executed for murder 21/02/1920, plot S. 1. F. 1.

Coolie C H K'hung, Chinese Labour Corps, executed 21/02/1920 for murder, plot S. 1. F. 6

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

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.