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Photographer: Benjamin J. Hatherell

Grévillers British Cemetery

Gazetteer No. G0715


Address Grévillers, Pas de Calais France


The construction of the cemetery began in March 1917 for three Australian Casualty Clearing Stations. After the German spring offensive, the cemetery was again put to use by a New Zealand division. After the Armistice graves were transferred from the battlefield and from a small adjacent cemetery that was discontinued. The memorial was set up to commemorate 450 missing soldiers of the New Zealand division. It is one of the seven New Zealand memorials in France and Belgium.

A striking feature of the cemetery is its strict layout, which is usually typical of a cemetery that has been constructed at the end of the war. It is known that, from 1916 onward, prior to the advent of the principal architects, engineers provided advice on the construction of cemeteries. Another remarkable feature is that the War Stone has been placed practically at the middle of the cemetery and not at the east side. Neither is the War Stone oriented toward the east, as is the case at Brown’s Copse Cemetery. The cemetery is almost symmetrical in its structure. The graves lie in short rows in 18 plots oriented toward the central path that runs from the entrance building to the Cross of Sacrifice, which has been assigned a place just in front of the New Zealand Memorial. There is one row of graves fewer on the east side as the ground narrows at this point. This is probably the reason that there was no space for the War Stone on the east side. The War Stone lies just before the middle point, at the fourth lateral path with two seats at the sides situated against the low brick wall that bounds the long sides. The cemetery descends slightly, which is evident from the alterations in the height of the wall.

On the roadside, the cemetery is terminated by a hedge and a gatehouse. The gatehouse is characteristic of the work of Lutyens. The combination of brickwork, white natural stone and a tiled roof recurs in many gateway buildings and shelters, as at Quéant Road Cemetery for example. Just as a Brown’s Copse Cemetery, the gatehouse, derived from a Roman arch of triumph, consists of two shelters that are coupled by a gateway, with brick barrel vaulting in this case. It is clear to see, on the inside of the passageway, that it has been inserted in the construction, as it were. Above the openings, the shelters have a heavy natural stone frame and taper towards the top, reinforcing this perspective. Just as with the building at H.A.C. Cemetery, brick surfaces have been applied in the uppermost part. In contrast to the heavy frame halfway up the façade, the cornice has been kept rather modest. The building stands on a white plateau that is continued as a band of stone along the road.

The memorial consists of a high wall, coated with natural stone, for the names of the missing, with a long bench between two sitting alcoves, similar to the situation at Noeux-les-Mines Communal Cemetery & Extension. In the two outer corners of the cemetery there are two shelters that are linked to the memorial by a natural stone wall that folds outward a little, around the white plateau at the memorial. The natural stone wall is finely detailed with a slightly protruding plinth and a set-back termination at the top under a thin covering band. The architecture of the shelters is related to the buildings at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery & Extension of Coxyde Military Cemetery. The difference lies in the high natural stone base that connects to the high wall.

On either side of the War Stone there are two yew trees standing like sentries. Birches and rowans occupy the long sides of the field with graves.130 Two larger trees are situated near the shelters. A grove functions as a green background for the white natural stone wall. The borders display roses in several colours. The colour distribution reinforces the impression length of the rows with graves. The red roses are closest to the central path, while yellow and pink roses have been planted a little further on. In the middle of the plots, there are backborders that extend across the full length of the cemetery. (Geurst, 2010, pp.307-8)


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

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Imperial War Graves Commission