Cabaret Rouge © Carrière Wellington - APATCabaret Rouge © Carrière Wellington - APAT
©Cabaret Rouge © Carrière Wellington - APAT|APAT

Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery


Designed by the architect Frank Higginson, the “Cabaret Rouge” British cemetery in Souchez is one of the most important in the region. It contains 7,665 graves of Commonwealth soldiers who fell in the Great War, more than half of which have not been identified.

Le Cabaret Rouge

When, in September 1915, the French troops recaptured Souchez, the village was razed to the ground: “Not a single wall was left standing,” said Henri Barbusse in Le Feu. In March 1916, the British replaced the French on the Artois front. At the entrance to Souchez, near the old establishment called “le Cabaret Rouge”, they created a first cemetery where English and Canadian soldiers who had fallen in the area were buried.

"There's some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England"

Rupert Brooke, the Soldier

After the Armistice, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission made Souchez a regrouping necropolis. For this purpose, it collected 7,000 bodies from the battlefields of the Arras region and from 103 other burial sites in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais.

It was in this Souchez cemetery that the body of the “Unknown Canadian Soldier” was exhumed on 25 May 2000. He now lies in front of the National War Memorial in Confederation Square in Ottawa.


The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

A Mission for Remembrance

Created in 1917 and funded by the six countries involved, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is dedicated to “honoring each casualty individually,” “permanently,” and “uniformly,” “without distinction of rank, military or social, race or religion.” As part of its mission,v it maintains the cemeteries and memorials for the missing that it designed after the fighting and preserves the archives. The Commission honors 1.7 million dead from the two wars, in more than 23,000 cemeteries in 148 countries.

Based in Beaurains near Arras, the Commission’s French section employs more than 400 people, three-quarters of them gardeners, who work at 2,900 sites of remembrance to maintain the memory of the 600,000 soldiers who lie in France.