Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz

There are 12 known members of the Manchester Regiment buried at Flatiron Copse, along with a group of Unknown Soldiers from the Regiment.

Most of these casualties took place in July 1916, apart from Private 43280 Arthur Boseley of 17th Battalion.  Arthur had enlisted 20969 in the Royal Berks  Regiment and was posted to 17th Manchesters on 11th July 1916. Arthur and his draft were transferred to the Regiment on 1st September. Arthur had been born in Tilehurst, resided with his mother Charlotte, in Verndah Cottage, Calcot Row, near Reading and enlisted in Pangbourn. He died of wounds on 12th October 1916, when the Battalion failed to advance north of Flers. He died at the dressing station located next to the Cemetery. His mother was a widow and had lost her only child.  She solely received Arthur’s ID Disc as Effects, along with £6 3s 1d cash. Records indicate Charlotte Boseley had also died by 1920.

Arthur was 34 years old.  He had previously been a domestic gardener prior to enlisting under the Derby Scheme on 23rd November 1915.  He was mobilised on 25th March 1916 and arrived in France on 1st July, where he was posted to the Infantry Brigade Depot at Rouen.

I need to return to take Arthur’s headstone photo and will reflect if this is the location where Arthur Bell was treated for shrapnel wounds in his ankle after Flers.

Courtesy CWGC

Flatiron Copse Cemetery is on the right hand side of D929, Amiens-Albert-Bapaume, 10 kilometres east of Albert. From Albert take the right turn at Y junction (102nd Infantry Brigade Memorial). It is located in the D20 just south-west of Bazentin-le-Petit. From the D929 turn south (signposted Bazentin) and on reaching the D20 T-junction turn right: the cemetery is green-signposted immediately.

Flatiron Copse was the name given by the army to a small plantation a little to the east of Mametz Wood. The ground was taken by the 3rd and 7th Divisions on 14 July 1916 and an advanced dressing station was established at the copse. The cemetery was begun later that month and it remained in use until April 1917. Two further burials were made in August 1918 and after the Armistice, more than 1,100 graves were brought in from the neighbouring battlefields and from smaller cemeteries, including:- CATERPILLAR CEMETERY, MONTAUBAN, in “Caterpillar Wood”. It contained the graves of 21 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in July 1916, and of whom 12 belonged to the 6th and 7th Gordons. CROSS ROADS CEMETERY, BAZENTIN, near the cross-roads at the North end of Bazentin-le-Grand. Here were buried 15 soldiers from the United Kingdom and four from New Zealand, who fell in 1916-1917. MAMETZ WOOD CEMETERY, outside the Western edge of Mametz Wood, in which 18 soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried in 1916. QUADRANGLE CEMETERY, BAZENTIN, between Bottom Wood and Mametz Wood, named from a small rectangular copse. Here were buried, in 1916, 32 soldiers from the United Kingdom and three from Australia, of whom 22 were artillerymen. VALLEY CEMETERY, MONTAUBAN, between the Briqueterie and Maltzhorn Farm, in which 72 soldiers from the United Kingdom were buried in August and September, 1916. VILLA WOOD CEMETERIES No.1 and No.2, CONTALMAISON, near a small copse North of Mametz Wood. They contained the graves of 62 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1916. Almost all the concentrated graves are those of men who died in the summer and autumn of 1916. There are now 1,572 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 420 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 36 casualties known or believed to be buried among them, and nine buried in Mametz Wood Cemetery whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.