Faubourg d'Amiens / Arras Military CemeteryFamily visiting the cemetery
©Family visiting the cemetery|Pascal Brunet
Faubourg d'AmiensThe Battle of Arras Memorial

The Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery and the Arras Battle Memorial

Near the Citadel, the Faubourg d’Amiens already included a military cemetery when the British took over from the French army in Arras in 1916. Although the French cemetery has disappeared, the Military Cemetery opened in 1916 remains. 2,650 Commonwealth soldiers are now buried there, as well as some German prisoners of war.

To access the cemetery, visitors discover the Arras Memorial on which are inscribed the names of 34,785 British, New Zealand and South African combatants who fell in the area and whose bodies have not been found. The Canadians will bear the names of theirs on the Vimy Memorial and the Australians on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in the Somme.


Battle of Arras and Bloody April

Most of these men died during the Battle of Arras launched on April 9, 1917 as a diversion to the French attack on the Chemin des Dames.

In preparation for this assault, New Zealand Tunnellers would develop the old chalk quarries of Arras, the “boves,” into veritable underground networks in which 24,000 soldiers would be grouped as close as possible to the German lines in the greatest discretion. One of these quarries, the Wellington Quarry, is now open to the public. The battle will claim 100,000 victims in the British ranks, including nearly 37,300 killed or missing.


Arras Flying Services Memorial

In the half rotunda that opens onto the Stone of Remembrance stands the Arras Flying Services Memorial. In the form of a square column surmounted by a world map, the memorial bears the names of the 991 men of the British Air Force who were lost on the Western Front during World War I. For the pilots engaged in the Battle of Arras, April 1917 was “Bloody April.”

In preparation for and then in support of the ground offensive, the Royal Flying Corps conducted reconnaissance missions and raids against certain German positions. It found itself facing the German air force equipped with the powerful Albatros, among which fought the Jasta 11 squadron led by the “Red Baron”, Manfred Von Richthofen.

In one month, the Royal Flying Corps lost 316 pilots out of 730 men engaged.