It is often forgotten that many sailors fought as soldiers during the First World War and this beautiful cemetery is a reminder of the scale of their losses. Invisible from the road due to its high front wall, climbing the steps opens up a delightful scene with the rows of graves stretching out before you. The cemetery sits in what was no-man's land. Following the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in the spring of 1917, V Corps cleared this battlefield and created a number of cemeteries, of which Ancre British Cemetery was one. There were originally 517 burials almost all of the 63rd (Naval) and 36th Divisions, but after the Armistice the cemetery was greatly enlarged when many more graves from other burial grounds in the area were moved here. The majority of those buried in the cemetery died on 1 July, 3 September or 13 November 1916, all key dates in the Battle of the Somme. There are now 2,540 Commonwealth casualties of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 1,335 of the graves are unidentified, but special memorials commemorate 43 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. This cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.  Lancelot Dewar, who was known as Jack, from Oakham School, is buried in grave II.C.38 and is visited annually by third form pupils on their tour of the Western Front. 

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Rutland and The Battle of the Somme

More than 90 Rutland soldiers died in the Battle of the Somme which lasted from 1 July 1916 until the middle of November. Today they lie in cemeteries across the old battlefield in northern France or are remembered among the 72,000 names on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. By using our interactive map, you can find out what happened to them.

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