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Grove Town Cemetery

Gazetteer No. G0716


Address Méaulte, Somme France


This is a so-called ‘casualty cemetery’, which was constructed in September 1916 for the use of some Casualty Clearing Stations. After its closure in September 1918, no more graves were added.

Considering that this cemetery was constructed in time of war, its layout is remarkably regular. In the rectangular field with one diagonal side, the graves have been laid in long rows facing east, on either side of a central path. A horizontal plateau with the Cross of Sacrifice has been added on the west side of the original field. On the opposite side, the entrance has been incorporated in a high wall that is also horizontal, whereas the rest of the cemetery slopes down on two sides. By curving the wall inwards in an arc, a forecourt has been created, lining up the entrance with the central path. Contrary to Lutyens’ principles, the War Stone has been placed on the west side, in front of the plateau with the Cross of Sacrifice, probably because there was not enough space on the east side. The walls on the two long sides follow the elevation of the terrain step by step. The plateau with the Cross can be reached by way of a stairway that is surrounded by plant beds. The plateau ends in a flight of stairs on the north side, with plant beds on either side, and on the north side the plateau borders the field with graves.

The pavilion is of a unique, solid design and is quite different from other pavilions by Lutyens. Nor is it similar to those in other cemeteries where Hutton was Lutyens’ assistant. The austere building has a saddleback roof and an entrance with a semicircular end. The plastic play of plinth and moulding, so typical of Lutyens, has been kept very modest in this case. The building is made of rough-hewn grey natural stone, combined with a smooth plinth of beige natural stone. The top side of the building is also covered with beige natural stone. The corners have been extended a little beyond the side walls. This has been repeated in the centre part of the side wall and the back wall, creating the effect of buttresses. This way it almost looks as if the façade is becoming dislodged from the side wall. Fan-shaped dark natural stone has been placed over the entrance to the storage space, at the far end, similar to the pavilion in the Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery where it was implemented in brick. The tapering towards the top reinforces the upward perspective of the building and is characteristic of Lutyens’ work.

The cemetery is surrounded on three sides by white- beams, which give it a secluded atmosphere. There are two large yews next to the War Stone reminiscent of sentinels. The borders have been planted with pink, yellow and red roses, from east to west. (Geurst, 2010, p.310)


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

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Imperial War Graves Commission