Guards’ Cemetery, Combles

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles, Somme, France.

Guards Cemetery, Combles

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles, is a First World War cemetery in the Somme region of France that was constructed and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.   A visitor’s plaque inside the cemetery plot provides a brief history into its origin:-

Combles was captured from the Germans in August 1916, lost in March 1918 and finally recaptured five months later at the end of August 1918. This cemetery, which was begun by the Guards Division, contains the graves of 182 British and 4 Newfoundland soldiers who fell in those actions.

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles is located on (view location). The cemetery lies a good metre in height above road level. Steps lead from the road to a grass pathway and the cemetery gate.

Steps leading to Guards' Cemetery, Combles.

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles | Access to the Cemetery from the Road

Inscriptions in the stone pillars, either side of the entrance gate record in English and French that:

THE LAND ON WHICH THIS
CEMETERY STANDS IS THE
FREE GIFT OF THE FRENCH
FOR THE PERPETUAL
RESTING PLACE OF THOSE
OF THE ALLIED ARMIES WHO
FELL IN THE WAR 1914-1918
AND ARE HONOURED HERE

The gate to Guards' Cemetery, Combles, France.

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles | Cemetery Gate

Of the 186 casualties commemorated at this site,  more than 10 are unidentified. The image below shows the resting place of 6 unknown soldiers from the East Yorkshire Regiment although there are only 4 headstones. Notice the inscription on the right-most grave stone. It reads:-

THREE SOLDIERS
OF THE GREAT WAR
EAST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT

A Soldier of the Great War Grave Stones

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles | Unidentified Casualties of the Great War

A special memorial within the the cemetery plot has been erected to the 30 soldiers from the British Empire who were originally interred at Combles German Cemetery and Priez Farm Cemetery, Combles but whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. The memorial inscription reads:-

TO THE MEMORY OF
THESE 30 SOLDIERS OF
THE BRITISH EMPIRE
WHO FELL IN 1916, 1917
AND 1918 AND WERE
BURIED AT THE TIME
IN COMBLES GERMAN
CEMETERY AND PRIEZ
FARM CEMETERY COMBLES
BUT WHOSE GRAVES ARE
NOW LOST

THEIR GLORY SHALL NOT
BE BLOTTED OUT

Guards' Cemetery, Combles. Special war memorial to the 30 soldiers whose graves are now lost.

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles | Memorial to the 30 Soldiers with Lost Graves

A Cross of Sacrifice occupies the northern end of Guards’ Cemetery.

Cross of Sacrifice in Guards' Cemetery, combles, Somme, France.

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles | Cross of Sacrifice

The perimeter of the Guards’ Cemetery, Combles adjoins beautiful and tranquil farmland.

A Soldier of the Great War

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles | A Soldier of the Great War

The grave of Lieutenant-Colonel A. J. H. Bowen (DSO and Bar), 2nd Monmouthshire Regiment, who died on 2nd March, 1917, at the age of 31 years is buried here. It is clear from his well-tendered graveside that the memory of this Welsh soldier has not been forgotten.

Lieutenant-Colonel A. J. H. Bowen, Monmouthshire Regiment

Guards’ Cemetery, Combles | War Grave of Lieutenant-Colonel A. J. H. Bowen, 2nd Monmouthshire Regiment

Lieutenant-Colonel A. J. H. Bowen is also commemorated on the Pontypool War Memorial and Usk War Memorial in Wales.

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One thought on “Guards’ Cemetery, Combles

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Tim. One of the most moving experiences we ever had was a three-day visit to Normandy’s WWII beaches: Omaha, Juno, etc. My f-i-l landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, so it was a very personal experience for all of us.

    janet

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