Main Image
Photographer: Andrew Barnett

Heilly Station Cemetery

Gazetteer No. G0721


Address Méricourt l’Abbé, Somme France


The cemetery was used by various Casualty Clearing Stations from April 1916 onwards. The plots were established under extreme pressure of time and many were so close together that they could not be marked individually, while other plots contained several graves. Some headstones represent three victims, which is why the badges of the regiments have been omitted. However, 117 badges have been incorporated in the gallery on the north side of the cemetery instead.

The approach from the road is particularly characteristic of this cemetery. It can be recognized from a distance because it lies on a slope, and because of the characteristic gatehouse with a red tiled roof and white birches in front. The gatehouse has been developed in an unusual way to make it look like a gallery. Basically, the design by Lutyens and Goldsmith comprises the combination of the gate- house, the War Stone and the Cross of Sacrifice, including the trees around the existing field with graves.

The entrance lies on a side road, and a ‘forecourt’ with yew trees and a hedge leads to the gatehouse. This building consists of a long cloister with the badges embedded in the wall. The gatehouse is very large compared to those in other cemeteries, in view of the badges that had to be given a place. Visitors are led along the badges to the central part of the north side, where they face the War Stone on the opposite side. The War Stone stands on the high southeast side of the field in line with a path parallel to a row of head- stones. The Cross of Sacrifice stands on the other side, in front of the rows of headstones. An unusual feature is the personal monument standing among the other headstones, contrary to the principle of equality, which meant that all soldiers irrespective of rank or race should be buried in the same way. In this case the exception proves the rule. The graves face the northeast side and the War Stone is on the southeast side. One may well ask why the War Stone was not placed on the northeast side because, in that case, all graves would have faced the War Stone, in accordance with Lutyens’ principles. The rows of stones do not stand straight in line. However, this is not unusual in the case of cemeteries that were part of a Casualty Clearing Station. Two intermediate paths have been incorporated in the field with graves.

The architecture of the gatehouse is austere and is reminiscent of a cloister. The five arched openings are flanked by rectangular ones and a fanlight with a frame of white stone. These openings are repeated round the corner, creating two corner pavilions in the long building. This is more clearly visible on the other side, where a pent roof – rather exceptional for Lutyens and Goldsmith – has been installed in the central part. From a distance the building is more like a barn than an entrance pavilion. The architecture of the building is akin to the pavilions at Tilloy British Cemetery and Beacon Cemetery. However, as the white frame of the arches is absent and there are no roof and eaves, it is more austere in character. The floor has unusual brick patterns with a frame of white stone that very subtly continues onward around the building.

The ground is partly bordered by a wall and partly by a hedge. In the cemetery, which ends in a grove on one side, there are predominantly horse chestnuts, in addition to the birches near the gatehouse. Beside the Cross of Sacrifice there are also two tulip trees and two whitebeams next to the War Stone. (Geurst, 2010, p.322-324)


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

Also Cited In

Listing Grade

Coming soon

Listing Reference


Imperial War Graves Commission