British Military & Criminal History:
1900 to 1999.
|Home - Remembrance & Memorials - Cemeteries in Europe - French Cemeteries & Memorials|
This page contains the details of CWGC Cemeteries that I have visited in France. I also include details about the French Unknown Soldier.
French Unknown Soldier
The Grave of the French Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe (Stephen Stratford 1999).
The grave of the French Unknown Soldier is located at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It contains the remains of a French Soldier whose identity is unknown. As in other countries, the Unknown Soldier symbolises the sacrifice of a generation during the First World War. It also symbolises the subsequent loss of live in World War Two and the numerous conflicts following 1945.
The Thiepval Memorial is the largest Commonwealth memorial in the world.
It commemorates the officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector during the First World War and whose graves are not known.
Australian soldiers who died and have no known grave are commemorated on the Villers-Bretoneux Memorial.
Canadian soldiers who died and have no known grave are commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, with Newfoundlanders commemorated on the Beaumont-Hamel Memorial.
India soldiers who died and have no known grave are commemorated on the Neuve Chapelle Memorial.
New Zealand soldiers who died and have no known grave are commemorated on the Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial; one of seven memorials in France and Belgium commemorating New Zealand unknown casualties. After the First World War, it was decided that New Zealand memorials to the missing would be located near areas appropriate to where the soldiers died.
The Thiepval Memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1932.
The Thiepval Memorial (Stephen Stratford).
This memorial commemorates the 73,357 soldiers who fought and died in the Somme area between the arrival of British troops in 1915 and the German retreat in 1917, and who have no known grave. The memorial is located on high ground behind what was the German front line, when the Battle of the Somme started on 1 July 1916.
On the other side of the memorial in the picture is located a joint British-French cemetery. This cemetery contains the graves of 300 French and 300 British soldiers, who were removed from various locations and buried here.
British Graves at Thiepval. The French graves are to the left of this picture (Stephen Stratford).
French Graves at Thiepval. The British graves are to the right of this picture (Stephen Stratford).
The majority of the graves contain the remains of unidentifiable soldiers.