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Marfaux British Cemetery

Gazetteer No. G0741


Address Marfaux, Marne France


The construction of the cemetery began after the Armistice with the transfer of graves from the battlefield and from small cemeteries in the Marne region. There is a special memorial for ten soldiers of the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion in the shelter.

The cemetery was constructed on a slightly elevated piece of ground. It ascends even more from the road, and the Cross of Sacrifice is situated on a raised plateau with several special monuments, from where a splendid view of the cemetery and the surrounding landscape can be gained. The rectangular field with graves was extended on the north side with a triangular terrain where the last graves were realized. The graves are oriented toward the War Stone that stands in the lower part on an elevated plateau on the east side, in accordance with Lutyens’ principles.

The entrance is similar to that of the cemeteries in Houchin and Beaulencourt. It consists of a stairway between two retaining walls and is marked by four posts on the inter- mediate plateau. From the entrance, there is a perspective between two tall lime trees to the War Stone and the shelter, which is situated on a plateau even higher than the War Stone, at the end of the entrance axis, in order to be visible from the entrance and to follow the slope of the ground. The design of the building is closely related to the buildings that assistant architect Truelove elaborated for Lutyens for several cemeteries in the same region. Use was made of local natural stone and traditional detailing. A unique feature is the diagonal symmetry with two sitting alcoves that recurs in the details of the stairway.

The area of the cemetery was dominated by two large lime trees. There is a German cemetery adjoining this one. It is not probable that Lutyens visited this remote location, as the approval form states that Truelove, the assistant architect, ‘prepared the design’. Truelove states that there was no money left for a shelter, which was however genuinely necessary at this remote spot. (Geurst, 2010, p.360)


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

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Imperial War Graves Commission