Departement de la Somme
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
A.I.F. Burial Ground is 2 Kms north of the village of Flers, in the Department of the Somme. Travel south-west of Bapaume on the D929 in the direction of Albert for 6 Kms to the village of Le Sars. Turn left eastwards on the D11 in the direction of Geudecourt for 3.5 Kms to the D74/D197 junction. Continue along the D74 in the direction of Geudecourt for 500 metres when a CWGC signpost will be seen indicating the A.I.F. Burial Ground along a track to the right.
Flers was captured on 15 September 1916, in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, when it was entered by the New Zealand and 41st Divisions behind tanks, the innovative new weapons that were used here for the first time. The village was lost during the German advance of March 1918 and retaken at the end of the following August by the 10th West Yorks and the 6th Dorsets of the 17th Division. The cemetery was begun by Australian medical units, posted in the neighbouring caves, in November 1916-February 1917. These original graves are in Plot I, Rows A and B. It was very greatly enlarged after the Armistice when almost 4,000 Commonwealth and French graves were brought in from the battlefields of the Somme, and later from a wider area.
The great majority of the graves in A.I.F. Burial Ground date from the autumn of 1916, but one is from 1914, and there are others from the spring of 1917 and the spring and summer of 1918. There are now 3,475 servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 2,263 of the burials are unidentified and there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of three casualties buried in a cemetery at Flers, who graves could not be found. The cemetery also contains 173 French and German war graves. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.