Bailleul RoadBailleul Road
©Bailleul Road|Isabelle Pilarowski
Bailleul Road East CemeterySaint-Laurent-Blangy

Bailleul Road East Cemetery, Saint-Laurent-Blangy

Presented in the spring of 1917 as a diversionary operation to the attack launched by the French on the Chemin des Dames, the Battle of Arras led by the British army aimed at conquering Vimy Ridge in the north to open the road to the mining region, but also, in the east along the Scarpe River, the advance towards Douai and even Cambrai, two strategic centers for the German army.

Bailleul Road West Cemetery

The creation

On the first two days, 9 and 10 April, the British broke through the enemy lines and advanced five kilometers on both banks of the Scarpe. The Scots of the 9th Division reunited Saint-Laurent Blangy, cut in two by the front (the hamlet of Saint-Laurent was German and Blangy British) before continuing their advance along the northern bank of the Scarpe. Belonging to this division, the 12th Battalion of the Royal Scots Regiment created the Bailleul Road West Cemetery in May 1917. Almost all of the soldiers buried there fell on the first day of the battle, April 9, 1917.


Reunited during the battle of Arras.

Now adjacent to the German necropolis of Saint-Laurent-Blangy, Bailleul Road East Cemetery was created in April 1917by the 34th Division, which was evolving north of the 9th Scottish Division. It will be enlarged after the Armistice to accommodate the isolated graves of the battlefield as well as those of small cemeteries of Lagnicourt and Fampoux.

It is near this village of Fampoux, at dawn on April 1, 1918, that Isaac Rosenberg died, at 27 years old, on his return from a night patrol. Considered today as one of the greatest English-language war poets, Rosenberg enlisted to support himself and his mother financially. In his poems, and particularly in his famous Break of the Day in the Trenches, he depicts this war he lived through in the French trenches where “the poppies that take root in men’s veins, still bleed.”

Buried in a mass grave, his body could not be formally identified in 1926 when it was transferred to Bailleul Road East Cemetery. Also, a notation will be engraved on his grave: “buried near this spot.