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Photographer: Chris Knowles

Daours Communal Cemetery and Extension

Gazetteer No. G0603

Date 1923

Address Daours, Somme France


The cemetery lies on the road next to the municipal grave- yard. It consists of two parts, of which the first has lovely cherry trees on three sides. The War Stone, flanked by two pavilions, stands beside the eld with headstones. The second part has a lime walk, i.e., an avenue lined with truncated lime trees, and the Cross of Sacrifice at the end, beyond which some Chinese and Indian graves are found. The pavilions are characteristic of Lutyens’ work. The combination of brick and white stone, along with the use of arches and a gently sloping roof of tiles or natural stone, are recurrent themes in his work.

The pavilions have a central loggia with three arches and, in addition, extra openings without a semicircular end. There is one opening with a semicircular arch in the front section of the short side, as is seen in many small square pavilions by Lutyens in other cemeteries. An unusual aspect here is that there are two large pavilions, which are interconnected by means of a wall, creating a small courtyard. Pavilions with a central Tuscan loggia are also found in Anneux British Cemetery and H.A.C. Cemetery, and there is a similar building in Combles Communal Cemetery Extension. Although Baker is credited with this cemetery, it is likely that assistant architect Goldsmith was given carte blanche and designed a pavilion in the style of Lutyens. The pavilions are interconnected by a system of white stones strips bordering the lawn that create a relation between the courtyard, the War Stone and the buildings. When comparing the present situation to a photograph of 1929, it turns out that three border stones around the War Stone have been removed in the meantime. This has broken the original interplay of lines by which the symmetry of the pavilions was continued in the pattern of the edging. At the same time, it has become less evident that the width of the loggia was carefully adjusted to the plateau with the War Stone.

The ground is a little higher than the road, which is apparent from the steps at the entrance. From here, the field with gravestones rises a little, as can be seen at the end, where the wall has a few height adjustments. The cemetery has a beech hedge along the entire boundary, with the exception of the part between the pavilions and the Cross of Sacrifice, where the hedge meets a wall. The entrance with two pillars in natural stone is characteristic of many cemeteries designed by Goldsmith or by Lutyens and Goldsmith together. The nest example is Monchy British Cemetery near Arras.

There is a path in the central axis of the Stone across the first field of the cemetery and here the field is two rows wider than the second part with the lime avenue. The Cross of Sacrifice is at the end of the vista from the entrance, the original central axis of the cemetery. The Chinese and Indian graves have an oblique position.

A remarkable aspect of this cemetery is that there are early design drawings, dating from October 1917 – before the German spring offensive. The design included a smaller number of graves situated in the present plots i, ii and iii. The graves were placed symmetrically along a central path (which is surprising considering that the graves must have been there already and that they face one side in the present situation). A high wall had been planned near the entrance, with two openings leading to two large square pavilions with saucer-shaped roofs. The War Stone was placed between the pavilions on a raised plateau. The War Stone and the pavilions were flanked by pyramidal oaks. After the eld with graves, a garden had been designed with a row of graves on one side, lime trees on both sides, and a number of large plant borders in the middle, with a wide variety of plants and roses along the edges. The next step was a lime walk leading to a special place with Indian graves. Suggestions – probably Jekyll’s – have been written on the drawing about replacing the trees lining the avenue by cypresses and planting holly at the outside wall surrounding the cemetery. There were two seats next to the beginning of the lime walk.

In comparison with the original design, the number of graves has surprisingly been extended as far as the location with the Indian graves. The buildings and the War Stone have been moved to the side. The conclusion may have been that the space near the entrance was too limited. The northeast direction of the War Stone was changed to southeast, and the graves now faced the Stone as was originally intended by Lutyens. The present cherry trees do not occur in the original design at all and the suggestion of the cypresses has been ignored. There are lime trees along the avenue now, albeit between the present grave- stones that were not in the design. The Cross of Sacrifice was added later in line with the wishes of the erstwhile IWGC.

Although there are relatively many trees in this field compared with other cemeteries, and cherry trees are an exception, the original design by Lutyens and Jekyll shows that what they had in mind: a garden with freeflowering shrubs and trees and an abundance of flowers. As a matter of fact there was to be no greenery around the graves, but the design included lavish borders along the sides instead. There are roses in two colours now, yellow and red, in three sections in a longitudinal direction that is not broken but rather accentuated in this case.

It was not until more than ten years later that Lutyens was offered the opportunity to design a real memorial garden for the Irish national war memorial in Dublin. (Geurst, 2010, pp.260-2)


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

Also Cited In

Butler, A., 1950. The architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens: the Lutyens memorial series. Vol III: Town and Public Buildings: Memorials: The Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool, Country Life: London and Scibners: New York.

Listing Grade

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Listing Reference


Imperial War Graves Commission