Grevillers British CemeteryGrevillers British Cemetery
©Grevillers British Cemetery
British CemeteryNew Zealand MemorialGrevillers

Grevillers British Cemetery and New Zealand Memorial

The New Zealand Memorial at Grévillers is one of seven monuments erected in memory of New Zealand soldiers who died on the Western Front and have no known grave.

The Grévillers Memorial, located in the British cemetery, recalls the defense of the New Zealand divisions in the same area from March to August 1918, as well as their role during the advance for victory between August 8 and November 11. During the same period the losses amounted to 2,600 men. Nearly 450 of them are remembered on this memorial…

The “New Zealand Memorial” in Grévillers is, in France and Belgium, one of seven monuments erected in memory of New Zealand soldiers who died on the Western Front and have no known grave. It recalls the participation of New Zealanders in the defense of the Bapaume region, to resist the German offensive in the spring of 1918 and contribute from August 8 to the liberation of the occupied territories.

During this period, the New Zealand Division lost 2,600 men including 450 missing.

Even more destructive than war

The Spanish flu

This memorial, perpetuating their memory, stands inside the British military cemetery of Grévillers, created in 1917 by the Australians near a first aid post. Today it contains the remains of 2,106 Commonwealth soldiers who died on the battlefields of the area. 18 French soldiers and 7 British airmen killed in the Second World War are also buried here. Many of the Great War soldiers buried at Grévillers are declared “Died Of Disease” (“DOD”). It is likely that a number of them were victims of the “Spanish Flu”.

After the war

This epidemic, attributed to the mutation of a swine flu virus, which probably originated in a British army camp made its appearance among combatants in early 1918. But in the great maneuvers of the spring and summer of 1918, the staffs, accustomed to seasonal flu epidemics, show other concerns than the health status of their soldiers.

Intensifying the movement of population and troops in a “globalized” space, the end of the war will promote the spread of the disease. The epidemic ceased on its own in the summer of 1919 without any cure having been found. It will have claimed between 20 and 40 million victims, two to three times more than the Great War.