Canadians in Russia, 1918-1919 by Roy MacLaren

By Roy MacLaren

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The ‘open’ cemeteries in France are at Terlincthun near Boulogne for 1914 – 18 and St Charles-de-Percy in Normandy for 1939 – 45; the Belgian ones are Cement House Cemetery at Langemarck for 1914-18 and the Canadian Cemetery at Adegem for 1939-45. About five British war dead from 1914 – 18 are still found in an average year in France and Belgium. The British cemeteries can be split into at least five different types and visitors will gain more benefit from cemetery visits if they know of these differences.

The Calais – Boulogne area is assumed to be the landing place for most visitors, but those using more northerly ports will still need to travel across this region. The fastest direct routes to the Somme are down the Paris motorway (autoroute) from Calais past Arras to Bapaume, or by the proposed new motorway from Boulogne to Abbeville and Amiens. The routes by ordinary roads to the western end of the Somme are simple ones down the coast but the cross-country roads to Amiens or the main battlefield areas in the east of the Somme are more complicated.

Because more than four-fifths of the graves are Canadian, the cemetery was given its ‘Canadian’ subtitle and has the Maple Leaf emblem on the gateway. There are 603 army graves (525 of them Canadian), 117 air-force graves (69 Canadian), seven sailors and two completely unidentified; nineteen of the dead are Polish and six are Czechoslovak. Most of the casualties were from the September 1944 period when the First Canadian Army was fighting hard to take the Channel ports and the German gun batteries in this area.

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