Lonsdale Cemetery

Lonsdale Cemetery
Maintained by the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Established c.1917
Country France
Location Authuille, Somme
Coordinates N 50° 2′ 24.166″
E 2° 40′ 56.57″
Designed by Sir Herbert Baker
Identified Unidentified Total Lonsdale
726 816 1,542 61¥

The Lonsdale Cemetery is a First World War cemetery maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, located near the village of Authuille, three miles north of Albert in the Somme department of Northern France. The cemetery is situated on a gentle sloping terrain amid fields adjacent to Authuille Wood, accessible by a grass path[1] approximately 500 metres from the single-track road.[2] The village of Authuille lies on the main D151 road between Albert and Thiepval, where the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme is located. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, Lonsdale Cemetery stands in a rectangular ground plan covering an area of ​​4,605 ​​square meters. It is surrounded by a brick wall and incorporates the Cross of Sacrifice, which stands on a low plateau at the end of the central aisle, and the Stone of Remembrance, located next to the entrance.[3]

Background information

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.


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References and notes

  1. This path in more recent times has been ploughed over in part by local famers and has caused problems for access to the cemetery.
  2. Lonsdale Cemetery Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Accessed 19 March, 2017.
  3. Lonsdale Cemetery. Wikipedia: the free encyclopaedia. Accessed 19 March, 2017.
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