Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval

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The German Army took the area around Thiepval at the end of September 1914. It then established a line through the area with troops from its 26th Reserve Division. Men from this Division were still in occupation when Commonwealth forces launched their assault on the 1 July 1916. During this attack, the 36th (Ulster) Division were detailed to attack the heavily fortified and defended German positions north of Thiepval, known as the Hansa Line and the Schwaben Redoubt, built on the rapidly rising ground around Thipeval. They aunched from Thiepval Wood, initially their assault was successful and some leading elements even reached as far as the German’s second line of defence (Stuff Redoubt). However, by the end of the day, as a result of the units on either side of it failing to take their objectives (in particular the 32nd Division’s failure to take Thiepval), it had been forced back to the original German front line. It would take until the 26 September 1916, before Thiepval finally fell to the 18th Division. Thiepval then remained under Allied occupation until 25 March 1918, when it was lost during the great German offensive, but it was retaken on the following 24 August by the 17th and 38th (Welsh) Divisions.

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Connaught Cemetery, Cross of Sacrifice

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Connaught Cemetery with Thiepval Memorial in the distance.

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Connaught Cemetery

Connaught Cemetery was begun during the early autumn of 1916 and at the Armistice it contained 228 burials and very greatly increased when graves were brought in from battlefields in the immediate area.

There are now 1,268 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. Half of the burials are unidentified, but special memorials commemorate two casualties believed to be buried among them and five buried in Divion Wood Cemetery No.2, whose graves could not be found on concentration.


 

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