Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban

Located on the west side of Bernafay Wood, approximately half a mile north east of Montauban, the cemetery includes the graves of 20 members of the Manchester Regiment.


Eight of these casualties died during the assault on Trones Wood on 9th/10th July 1916.  This includes two members of 16th Battalion and five from 18th Battalion.   Two further casualties of 16th Battalion are buried at Bernafay Wood as casualties at Guillemont on 30th/31st July 1916, along with four 19th Battalion casualties from Guillemont on 23rd July.

Brichall H

Pte H Birchall

Private 8439 Harry Birchall is the sole member of 17th Battalion.  Harry was 26 years old when he was killed near Trones Wood on 10th July.  His original grave had been on the north western side of the Wood.   Harry had been born in Miles Platting, Manchester and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Birchall, of Moston, Manchester.  He was the husband of Sophia Birchall, of Chelford Road., Ollerton, Knutsford, Cheshire.  Harry was a Bomber in the Battalion and previously employed by Chorlton Bros. Manchester. The family arranged the inscription:-

Courtesy CWGC

Bernafay Wood British Cemetery is 10 kilometres east of Albert and 2 kilometres south of Longueval on the D197, in the direction of Maricourt. Bernafay wood cemetery has suffered flooding from

IMG_7146 (2)

Birchall Harry 17/8439

neighbouring fields. We Shall be clearing off the layer of silt as soon as possible but this needs to partially dry out before this can be completed.

Montauban village was taken by the 30th and 18th Divisions on 1 July 1916 and it remained in Commonwealth hands until the end of March 1918. It was retaken on 25 August 1918 by the 7th Buffs and the 11th Royal Fusiliers of the 18th Division. The Bois De Bernafay is a pear-shaped wood close to the east end of Montauban village. It was taken on 3 and 4 July 1916 by the 9th (Scottish) Division. On 25 March 1918, in the retreat to the Ancre, the same Division was driven from the wood but recaptured it for a time. On 27 August 1918 it was finally regained by the 18th Division. The cemetery was begun by a dressing station in August 1916 and used as a front-line cemetery until the following April. It contained at the Armistice 284 burials but was then increased when graves were brought in from Bernafay Wood North Cemetery and from the battlefields immediately east of the wood. BERNAFAY WOOD NORTH CEMETERY was opposite the North edge of the wood, a little East of the Longueval – Maricourt road. It was begun by an Advanced Dressing Station, and used from July to October 1916. It contained the graves of 80 soldiers from the United Kingdom and 1 German prisoner. Bernafay Wood British Cemetery now contains 945 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 417 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 11 soldiers known or believed to be buried here. Other special memorials commemorate 12 soldiers buried in Bernafay Wood North Cemetery whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

Bernafay Wood MC (C) CWGC Archive

Bernafay Wood MC (C) CWGC Archive