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Photographer: Tim Skelton

Bellacourt Military Cemetery

Gazetteer No. G0668


Address Riviere, Pas de Calais France


The construction was begun by French troops in October 1914 and continued by British troops from February 1916 to September 1918. The French part was extended in 1923 with graves from other cemeteries. Sixteen American graves were transferred elsewhere.

The cemetery is primarily impressive due to the monumental terrace structure with the War Stone and the Cross of Sacrifice on the north side of the cemetery. In addition, it is exceptional for a part of the graves to be French. Lutyens was involved in other combined cemeteries, such as the cemetery at the memorial in Thiepval and Crucifix Corner Cemetery.

The entrance lies along a country road. At the modest gateway that allows access to the cemetery the low wall has been turned inward, thus creating a semicircular fore- court.91 In its layout, the cemetery is basically symmetrical. However, the left and right-hand sides of the main axis with the War Stone and the Cross of Sacrifice are not exactly equal. The right-hand part is slightly broader and also contains French graves. The rows have been laid out irregularly. The left-hand part is more strictly arranged but is narrower in its second segment. Six plant beds have been built into the sidewalls.

The ground ascends slightly as it extends toward the steep slope to the higher corn field. The original embankment has been cut out in various terraces with the War Stone and the Cross of Sacrifice on the highest terrace. Two other side terraces have also been constructed, although these are not shown on the drawings. At the junction of the higher terraces there are two benches between plant beds with yew. The various steps to the terraces are precisely detailed in a combination of white and grey natural stone. The higher terraces are surrounded by lavender and the rear wall of the War Stone is covered with climbing roses. (Geurst, 2010, p.216)


Geurst, J. (2010) Cemeteries of the Great War by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.

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Imperial War Graves Commission