Pozières Memorial

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Pozières Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Pozieres British Cemetery 21-3.jpg
View looking east across the cemetery, with colonnades of memorial panels in the background
For forces of the United Kingdom and South Africa
Unveiled 4 August 1930
Location 50°02′03″N 02°42′55″E / 50.03417°N 2.71528°E / 50.03417; 2.71528Coordinates: 50°02′03″N 02°42′55″E / 50.03417°N 2.71528°E / 50.03417; 2.71528
Designed by William Harrison Cowlishaw
Laurence A. Turner (sculptor)
In memory of the officers and men of the Fifth and Fourth Armies who fought on the Somme battlefields 21 March – 7 August 1918 and to those of their dead who have no known grave
Statistics source: Cemetery Details. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The Pozières Memorial is a World War I memorial, located near the commune of Pozières, in the Somme department of France, and unveiled in August 1930. It lists the names of 14,657 British and South African soldiers of the Fifth and Fourth Armies with no known grave who were killed between 21 March 1918 and 7 August 1918, during the German advance known as the Spring Offensive (21 March–18 July), and the period of Allied consolidation and recovery that followed. The final date is determined by the start of the period known as the Advance to Victory on 8 August.[1]

The memorial forms the perimeter walls of a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery, which principally contains the bodies of men killed during the Battle of Pozières and the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Memorial[edit]

View looking north-west towards the Cross of Sacrifice

The memorial commemorates the missing of the British Fifth Army, and to a lesser extent of the Fourth Army (re-formed to turn the tide of battle following the virtual disintegration of the Fifth Army). The original intention was that the memorial at Pozières should commemorate the missing of the Third Army, while those of the Fifth Army would be commemorated at Saint-Quentin, at the heart of the Army's sector in March 1918. However, the French authorities objected to the amount of land being taken for British memorials, and so the names of the Third Army missing were added to the Arras Memorial, while the Fifth Army memorial was situated here, despite the fact that Pozières lay on the wrong side of the River Somme from the area in which those named had died.[2]

The memorial was designed by William Harrison Cowlishaw, with sculpture by Laurence A. Turner. It consists of a colonnade of wall panels forming three sides of the perimeter of a cemetery, and incorporating a Cross of Sacrifice. The names of the missing are inscribed on the panels, arranged by regiment or other unit. The fourth side of the cemetery, on the road frontage, is formed by an open arcade, with the entrance archway at its centre: the inscription is over this. The memorial was unveiled on 4 August 1930 by Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, who had served as a general commanding the British II Corps and the British Second Army during the war.[1]

Cemetery[edit]

View looking south-east across the cemetery towards the entrance archway

The memorial encloses a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery, in which 2,758 Commonwealth servicemen are either buried or commemorated. Plot II (occupying less than one sixth of the site) is an original plot of 1916–18, containing 272 burials. The rest of the cemetery contains graves moved here from surrounding areas following the Armistice, the majority being those of soldiers killed during the Battle of Pozières and the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. A few belong to men killed in August 1918 during the Advance to Victory. Approximately half the graves are those of unidentified bodies: of those identified, the majority belong to Australian soldiers. 57 Germans were buried here in 1918, but most of their remains were moved after the war, leaving just a single German grave.[1][3]

Notable commemorations[edit]

Brigade commander[edit]

The most senior officer commemorated on the Memorial is Brigadier-General G.N.B. Forster of the 14th (Light) Division, killed on 4 April 1918 when his brigade was in action near Villers-Bretonneux.[4]

Victoria Crosses[edit]

Headstone of Claud Castleton

One Victoria Cross recipient is buried in the cemetery: he is Sergeant Claud Castleton of the Australian Machine Gun Corps, killed on 29 July 1916.[3]

Three Victoria Cross recipients are commemorated on the Memorial, under their respective units:[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Pozieres Memorial". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Middlebrook, Martin; Middlebrook, Mary (1991). The Somme Battlefields: a comprehensive guide from Crécy to the two World Wars. Harmondsworth: Viking. pp. 131–2. ISBN 0-670-83083-6. 
  3. ^ a b Middlebrook and Middlebrook 1991, pp. 130–31.
  4. ^ Middlebrook and Middlebrook 1991, pp. 132, 293–4.
  5. ^ Stewart, Iain. "Names of Victoria Cross Holders on the Pozières Memorial, France". The Victoria Cross: Britain's highest award for Gallantry. Retrieved 10 May 2016. .

External links[edit]