IN MEMORy by Pierre Vandervelden

The visit of Commonwealth graves in Communals Cemeteries & Churchyards in Belgium & France

SAINT - SYMPHORIEN (Hainaut Belgium)

Page 1 The Pictures

Page 2 List of Casualties

This is an unusual style of military cemetery, concept as a garden, oasis of peace where you find Commonwealth and German graves.

The description given on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site (see links):

St. Symphorien Military Cemetery was made by the Germans in August 1914, after the Battle of Mons. It remained in their hands until November 1918, and has the distinction of containing the graves of some of the first and last casualties of the First World War. The site for the cemetery, an existing but artificial mound, was the gift of local resident Jean Houzeau de Lehaie, and was laid out with great care to create the effect of a wooded garden or park. At the highest point, there is a granite obelisk some seven metres high, erected by the Germans in memory of both German and British servicemen killed in the actions near Mons in August 1914, and elsewhere in the cemetery there are further German memorials to officers and men of the Middlesex Regiment (Plot III), Royal Fusiliers and Royal Irish Regiment (Plot VI). At the Armistice, the cemetery contained the graves of 245 German and 188 Commonwealth servicemen, but further graves were brought in later from other burial grounds* in the area. There are now 229 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in St. Symphorien Military Cemetery. 65 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate five casualties believed to be buried among them, and four casualties buried in Obourg Churchyard whose graves could not be found. The cemetery also contains 284 German war graves, marked by headstones in a variety of different styles. St. Symphorien Military Cemetery is popularly believed to contain the graves of the first (Pte. J. Parr, Middlesex Regt., 21 August 1914) and the last soldier (Pte. G. L. Price, Canadian Infantry, 11 November 1918) to be killed in the First World War. * Gembloux Communal Cemetery; Havre Old Communal Cemetery; Norchain Churchyard; Obourg Churchyard; Spiennes Communal Cemetery; St. Symphorien Churchyard; St. Symphorien Communal Cemetery; Wasmes-en-Borinage Communal Cemetery.

I propose you a complete visit.

The map of visit with Nr of pictures


(1) The entry rue Dehon
(2) German Monument
(3) The German entrance on the left
(4) the Commonwealth entrance on the right
(6) At the end of the right path
(11) George Edwin Ellison's grave is on the left, John Parr's grave is on the right (12)
(ELLISON) The grave of the last believed Commonwealth soldier, killed on battle field, Pte. G. E. Ellison, 5th Lancers, 11 November 1918.   (PARR) The grave of the first believed Commonwealth soldier, killed on battle field, Pte. J. Parr, Middlesex Regt., 21 August 1914.
(13) Germans graves in the back ground, Commonwealth plot in front, with G. L. Price's grave 3rd row, second from the right.
(PRICE) The grave of the last believed Commonwealth soldier, killed on battle field, Pte. G. L. Price, Canadian Infantry, 11 November 1918.   (DEASE) The grave of the first killed on battlefield who have been awarded of the Victoria Cross, Lt M. J. Dease Royal Fusiliers, 23 August 1914.
(14)&(15) The German cemetery
(16) The German cemetery
(17) The Great Cross &(18) The Memorial and seat


Lt Kenneth Parnell Henstock 23/08/1914 aged 21
Pte Edward William Mason 23/08/1914 aged 20
Son of Edward and Rosamond Mason, he was from Tottenham in London.
for his great great niece Nicola Dawson
Sjt Denis Walsh 23/08/1914 aged 39
for his great granddaughter Charlotte McDevitt
Pte Walter Phillip Hanman 25/10/1918 aged 20


IF You have a casualty picture, please send me a copy, I'll be glad to show it on this page.

IF You want a king size copy of this picture (300/900 ko - 2592/1944 pixels) please e-mail me.

IF You want picture of a particular grave, in this cemetery, please e-mail me.

Casualties informations come usualy from Commonwealth War Graves Commission, see links for more informations © Pierre Vandervelden - Belgium