Departement du Nord
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Le Cateau and the country to the west were the scene of a battle fought by II Corps of the BEF on 26 August 1914 against a greatly superior German force. While technically a defeat for the BEF, the rear-guard action disrupted the German timetable for their "Schlieffen Plan," and the delay prevented a rout of the Allied armies by the Germans. The town of Le Cateau remained in German hands from 26 August until the evening of 10 October 1918, when it was rushed by the 5th Connaught Rangers, but not cleared until a week later. Le Cateau had been a German railhead and an important hospital centre, and the military cemetery was laid out in February 1916, with separate plots for the Commonwealth and German dead. It contains the graves of over 5,000 German soldiers, in part burials made during the occupation, the rest brought in from other German cemeteries after the Armistice. A separate plot contains the graves of 34 Russian prisoners of war. The Commonwealth plots contain 698 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 187 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 20 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. The majority of the graves in Plots I, III, IV and V are those of Commonwealth dead buried by the Germans, mainly from the battleground of 1914. All of the graves in Plot II, eight of which were brought in after the Armistice, date from October and November 1918. Plot III also contains two German graves. The Commonwealth plots were designed by Charles Holden.