Departement du Pas-de-Calais
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Béthune is 29 kilometres north of Arras. The Town Cemetery is located in the Rue du Pont de Pierres (the D945) northeast of the town centre on the road to Estaires and Armentières.
For much of the First World War, Béthune was comparatively free from bombardment and remained an important railway and hospital centre, as well as a corps and divisional headquarters. The 33rd Casualty Clearing Station was in the town until December 1917. Early in 1918, Béthune began to suffer from constant shell fire and in April 1918, German forces reached Locon, five kilometres to the north. The bombardment of 21 May did great damage to the town and it was not till October that pressure from the Germans was relaxed.
Béthune Town Cemetery contains 3004 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, including 26 men of the 1/8th Manchester Regiment who were killed by a bomb on 22 December 1917 while marching to rest billets. There are also 19 Second World War burials and 122 French and 87 German war graves. The Commonwealth section of the cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
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