Connaught Cemetery | Richard Cartwright

Rich In History

The Connaught Cemetery is adjacent to The Ulster Tower Memorial, and in the distance the Thiepval Memorial is visible - at the time of our visit this was undergoing maintenance in preparation for the centenary commemorations of the battle of the Somme next year.

The German army took the area around Thiepval at the end of September 194. It then established a line with troops from its 26th Division.

During the action on1st July 1916 the 36th (Ulster) Division were told to attack the German positions north of Thiepval, known as the Hansa Line and the Schwaben Redoubt. Initially this was successful, with some soldiers reaching as far as the German second line of defence known as Stuff Redoubt.

By the end of the day however, as a result of other units on either side failing to achieve their objectives (in particular the 32nd's failure to capture Thiepval) it was forced back to the original German front line.

Thiepval finally fell to the 18th Division on 26 September 1916, and remained under Allied occupation until 25 March 1918 when it was lost during the German Offensive, until it was retaken by 17th and 38th (Welsh) divisions on 24 August.

Work started on Connault Cemetery in early autumn 1916, and by the Armistice it contained the graves of 228 soldiers. It was then enlarges when remains bere brought in from the battlefield and other small cemeteries.

There are now 1268 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in the cemetery. Half the burials are unidentified, and there are two special memorials to commemorate two casualties believed to be buried amongst them and five buried in Divion Wood Cemetery No.2 whose bodies could not be found on concentration.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

GPS Location: Latitude: 50.059 Longitude: 2.68065