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Photographer: Chris Knowles

Monchy British Cemetery

Gazetteer No. G0746


Address Monchy-le-Preux, Pas de Calais France


Monchy village had a strategic position due to its elevated location, and it was occupied by British troops on 11 April 1917 until the Germans captured it in March 1918. However, on 22 August it was recaptured by the Canadians. The graves have strong connections with the various divisions. The cemetery lies on an elevated level terrain, at a fork of country roads.

This relatively small battlefield cemetery consists almost entirely of graves established in the course of the war. The main addition is the entrance structure with a view of the War Stone. This particularly beautiful composition consists of two high entrance pillars, which are characteristic of Lutyens’ and Goldsmith’s work. These continue onwards in two gateways, of which the second one ends in an alcove. Gateways like these have been used by Lutyens in two other cemeteries, viz. Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery and Vailly British Cemetery. By placing four elements in a row, and by a repetition of the columns, an extremely powerful perspectival effect from the entrance has been achieved.

The gateways are made entirely of white stone and are combined in such a way with the motif of the pillars beside the entrance, albeit rectangular instead of square, so that the pillars of the gateway are completely enclosed on the outside. The entrance with the pillars, incidentally, bears a close resemblance to that of the nearby Wancourt British Cemetery. There is another shelter in the cemetery, combined with a storage space, of a type that is found in several cemeteries where the motifs of the temple and the triumphal arch are combined.

The cemetery lies two steps higher than the road. The steps have been incorporated in the entrance path, but are combined with a grey-brown stone, whereas the second material in the cemetery is brick. A brick wall surrounds the cemetery and is covered with a band of white slabs. The field is not entirely level, which is shown by the height adjustments in the wall. The entrance with the two pillars is extended on the side of the road with a grassy section that begins with a small stairway.

The cemetery consists of two parts, with long rows of graves. The entrance axis, with a view of the War Stone, extends alongside this field. The Cross of Sacrifice, along with the War Stone, forms the central axis of the cemetery and stands at the junction with a lateral axis, between a seat and a shelter. The last two elements are not on the IWGC drawing and must have been added later. Hawthorns sur- round the field. The space behind the War Stone is enclosed by means of a hedge. Cotoneaster borders the entrance path and the War Stone is flanked by two plant boxes. Hosta once was planted on the two front corners of the plateau with the War Cross, and in May 2009 there was dark-red heuchera. Fuchsia was flowering beside the seat. (Geurst, 2010, pp.366-8)


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

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Imperial War Graves Commission