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Crucifix Corner Cemetery

Gazetteer No. G0691


Address Villers-Bretonneux, Somme France


The cemetery lies right beside the motorway E44 at the Villers-Bretonneux junction. The construction began in August 1918, by the Canadians, and it was closed again the same month. The cemetery was extended with graves from the battle field after the war.

The cemetery has a regular layout and almost half of the graves are French. It is clearly visible that the French approach with regard to the form of personal memorials and the information on the individual victims is quite different from that of the British. There are also entirely different headstones among the French crosses, which are for Islamic soldiers. The location of the Cross of Sacrifice, on a high plateau in front of a screen of trees, is strongly accentuated. It is accessible by way of monumental stair- ways and two intermediate plateaux with benches. The War Stone is at a lower location level with the headstones, albeit on the west side, which is highly unusual. The composition is similar to Bellacourt Military Cemetery where French and British troops are also jointly buried.

The cemetery is virtually level, and the platform is not used to overcome an existing difference in elevation, but to place the Cross in a higher position. The cemetery is largely surrounded by a beech hedge, and at the back by the wall of the platform, with high trees behind. The plain entrance is marked by two low pillars.[108] The graves are positioned on either side of a central path.[109] Longitudinally, the cemetery is divided into five sections.[110] There are currently two young beeches beside the memorial stone and large lime trees behind the Cross of Sacrifice. There are roses in front of the graves in the colours red, pink and yellow, divided into sections to break the monotony of the rows of graves. (Geurst, 2010, p.258)


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

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Imperial War Graves Commission