On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 32nd Division, which included the 1st Dorsets and the 11th (Lonsdale) Battalion of the Border Regiment attacked the German line at this point and stormed the Leipzig Salient, but were compelled to retire later in the day. In the spring of 1917, after the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, V Corps cleared these battlefields and made a number of new cemeteries, including Lonsdale No.1 and No.2.
- Lonsdale Cemetery No.1 — This is the present-day cemetery, which originally contained 96 graves in what is now Plot I. The majority of these graves were officers and men of the 1st Dorset Regiment and the 11th Border Regiment. After the Armistice the cemetery was enlarged to accommodate the many casualties who fell in the surrounding battlefields, the majority from 1916. In addition to these other small burial grounds were included, namely:
- Lonsdale Cemetery No.2 — This cemetery was located approximately 500 metres to the east. It contained the graves of 38 soldiers from the United Kingdom, 31 of whom belonged to the Lonsdale Battalion, and two German soldiers.
- Nab Road Cemetery — This cemetery was located approximately 900 metres east of Lonsdale Cemetery at Ovillers-la-Boisselle, which was on the road running up Nab Valley. It contained the graves of 27 soldiers from the United Kingdom, who fell in July, September and October of 1916.
- Paisley Avenue and Paisley Hillside Cemeteries — These cemeteries were located to the south of Thiepval Wood. They contained the graves of 284 soldiers and Marines from the United Kingdom (mainly of the 49th (West Riding) Division), who fell between July 1916 and February 1917. Included also were two German soldiers.
Lonsdale Cemetery now contains 1,542 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 816 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 22 casualties known or believed to be buried among them.