Whitby High School

Battlefields Tour 11-14th March 2004

France - Vimy Ridge, Peronne and Somme Tour - Saturday 13th March

Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux

Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux

This was a short stop on the road from Beaumont Hamel to Arras, still in the Somme area. The purpose was to visit the grave of Charles Royden, Great Grandfather of Mr M. Royden.

In November 1916, the village of Ficheux was behind the German front line, but by April 1917, the German withdrawal had taken the line considerably east of the village and in April and May, the VII Corps Main Dressing Station was posted near for the Battles of Arras. It was followed by the 20th and 43rd Casualty Clearing Stations, which remained at Boisleux-au-Mont until March 1918, and continued to use the Bucquoy Road Cemetery begun by the field ambulances.

From early April to early August 1918 the cemetery was not used but in September and October, the 22nd, 30th and 33rd Casualty Clearing Stations came to Boisleux-au-Mont and extended it. By the date of the Armistice, it contained 1,166 burials but was greatly increased when graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields and from small cemeteries in the neighbourhood.

The cemetery now contains 1,901 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 168 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials commemorate 21 casualties buried by their comrades in Henin-sur-Cojeul German Cemetery, whose graves could not be found on concentration.

The cemetery was used again in May 1940 for the burial of troops killed during the German advance. There are 136 burials and commemorations of the Second World War; 26 of the burials are unidentified and special memorials commemorate 39 soldiers whose graves in the cemetery could not be specifically located. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

For a more detailed account of Charles Royden at the Somme and his war record, click picture.
This map is an extract showing the Somme area. The numbers in circles represent Commonwealth War Graves. (The index for this is not shown). There are a staggering number just in this area alone. Charles Royden is buried in Ficheux which is numbered here as 100 (just south of Arras. Beaumont Hamel and Newfoundland Park are shown as 'Parc Memorial' north of Albert. Guards' Cemetery, Les Boeufs is no.28.

In Memory of
Bombardier C ROYDEN

80135, "D" Bty. 18th Bde., Royal Field Artillery

who died age 36 on 22 March 1918

Son of John and Elizabeth Royden

husband of Emma Royden,


160, Wellington Rd., Dingle, Liverpool

Native of Liverpool

Remembered with honour


Commemorated in perpetuity by
the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing bells for those who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them from prayers or bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in the eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Wilfred Owen (1917)

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Updated 8th April 2004 by Mike Royden
The Whitby High School, Cheshire County Council.