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Brown’s Copse Cemetery

Gazetteer No. G0674


Address Roeux, Pas de Calais France


The village of Roeux lies east of Arras, and the cemetery is named after a small copse to the east of the cemetery.

The cemetery displays all the characteristics of a classical Lutyens’ cemetery. It has an impressive gateway building, a central axis with the War Stone in the middle and the Cross of Sacrifice at the end. There is great similarity with Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery, Grévillers British Cemetery and Serre Road Cemetery No. 2. Nevertheless, the differences are also immediately visible. The main axis is interrupted by the field with older graves to the rear of the cemetery, and the War Stone is not perpendicular to the main axis but points along the length of the axis with the front oriented to the east.

The radiant white gateway building is finely elaborated in natural stone, similar to the gateway building at Serre Road Cemetery No. 2. The roof also consists of natural stone. The entrance side is closed and calls to mind a classic arch of triumph. The other side is more open, with three openings and two skylights. Here a composite configuration is created of two square shelters that are connected by means of a gateway and roof. The ongoing uniform detailing with corner pilasters around the two sitting bays, and the application of so-called ‘dead windows’ on two sides instead of openings, reinforces the feeling of a composite building. The arch of the entrance is continued in splendid barrel vaulting with a cassette ceiling. The two auxiliary spaces have a smooth ceiling illuminated by a skylight.

The cemetery lies at practically the same height as the road. However, the gateway building has been placed on a plateau a few steps up. The northwest corner of the cemetery descends slightly, which can be seen by the difference in height in the wall. The cemetery is surrounded by a cemented natural stone wall with a white covering band. A natural stone storage space has been incorporated into the wall. The elevated frontal area of the gateway has a broad structure and accommodates the slanting lie of the road with height differences in the wall and convex and concave quadrants. At the back of the gateway building, the plateau is continued in two plant beds so that the visitor has an overview of the cemetery before moving on the field with headstones.

The cemetery is irregular in its form, but has a clear main axis. The organization of the front area, with graves that were transferred after the Armistice, deviates from the rear part with the graves that were laid out during the war. The old graves are oriented toward the west, and there are two lateral paths. The new graves have been grouped symmetrically around a central path, with one lateral path with a bench on either side. The cemetery is surrounded by large lime trees and pillar-shaped yew trees next to the entrance building and the War Stone.96 Despite the magnitude of the cemetery, there is nevertheless an intimate atmosphere as a consequence of the large lime trees that surround the cemetery. (Geurst, 2010, pp.226-9)


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

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Imperial War Graves Commission