The Fallen - Escoublac la Baule War Cemetery
(Cimetière Anglais)

 


Carefully and respectfully maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, this site dates from the early years of World War two and is the last resting place of the 56 'Charioteers' named below. Containing a total of 329 burials, 74 of which remain unidentified, the cemetery also contains the graves of airmen shot down during  the many raids on this area, and servicemen lost both prior to the retreats of 1940, and when the troopship 'LANCASTRIA' was sunk offshore on 17 June, that same year. Now a haven of tranquility and dominated by an imposing 'Cross of  Sacrifice', the site was much more isolated during the war years during which time Mlle Louise Jaouen, a resident of la Baule, devoted herself to maintaining the graves. Money donated locally allowed her to provide crosses and plant a hedge. Her dedication would later be recognized with the award of the King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom.                               
     
Above, framing an image of the grave of Sergeant Tommy Durrant VC, are two views of the same general area: to the left as it was in the spring of 1942, with a flag-draped coffin being lowered into the ground by four survivors of the raid (Lieutenant Purdon, Corporal Johnson, Sergeant Jones and Stoker Butcher); and to the right as it is today, with the register shelter in the background.

Within the cemetery, graves are arranged in two plots (see plan below) within each of which rows are given alphabetical designations: grave 1A1 would therefore be - Plot 1, Row A, Grave 1. To aid in identification, I have included in brackets a reference to the vessels on which individual Commandos travelled to Saint-Nazaire.

BARTLETT, Arthur, Ordinary Seaman, RN: ML267: 2.C.4
BEART, Eric Henry, Lieutenant, RNVR: CO-ML267: 1.D.12
BELL, Gordon, Ordinary Seaman, RN: ML267: 2.B.10
BENNETT, Alexander Leslie, Motor Mechanic, RN: ML306: 1.D.10
BEVERIDGE, Robert, Sergeant, 5 Cdo: (HMS CAMPBELTOWN): 1.D.3
BIRNEY, David Leslie, Captain, 2Tp-2Cdo: (ML447): 2.C.9
BLOUNT, Arthur Harvey, Corporal, 12Cdo: (HMS CAMPBELTOWN): 2.A.7
BOOTH, Henry Percival, Chief Petty Officer, RNZN: HMS CAMPBELTOWN: DSM: 2.B.7
BOYCE, John Douglas, Private, 3Cdo: (ML262): 2.C.13
BRENTON, William, Leading Stoker, RN: HMS CAMPBELTOWN: 2.B.23
BROOME, David, Stoker (1), RN: ML447: 2.B.5
BURNS, Ronald Edward David, Lance-Corporal, 6Tp-2Cdo: (ML268): 2.C.14
BURTINSHAW, Robert James Glover, Lieutenant, 5Cdo: (HMS CAMPBELTOWN): MiD: 1.D.6
DEANS, James, Corporal, 9Cdo: (ML457): 1.D.14
DURRANT, Thomas Frank, Sergeant, 1cdo: (ML306): VC: 1.D.11
FERGUSON, William, Sergeant, 5Cdo: (HMS CAMPBELTOWN): 1.D.7
FISHER, Norman Lucas, Corporal, 6Tp-2Cdo: (ML192): 2.C.7
GARNER, Thomas Norman, Ordinary Seaman, RN: ML306: 1.D.2
GARRATT, Arthur Ernest, Lance-Corporal, 2Tp-2Cdo: (ML447): 2.B.9
GWYNNE, John Edward Herbert, Private, 5Tp-2Cdo: (HMS CAMPBELTOWN); MiD: 2.A.18
HALE, Angus Edmund, Ordinary Signalman, RN: ML192: 2.A.13
HAMPSHIRE, Kenneth George, Sub-Lieutenant, RNVR: ML457: 2.C.16
HARKNESS, Peter, Lance-Sergeant, 6Tp-2Cdo; (ML268): 1.D.9
HARRISON, Maurice, Lance-Sergeant, 6Tp-2Cdo: (ML192): 2.C.5
HEMPSTEAD, Stanley, Sergeant, 2Tp-2Cdo: (ML262): 2.B.2
HENDERSON, Ian Bernard Henry, Leutenant, RNVR: CO-ML306: MiD: 2.A.20
HILLS, Kenneth Ian, Sub-Lieutenant, RNVR: ML262: 1.D.13
HODDER, Reginald Joseph Charles, Stoker Petty Officer, RN: HMS CAMPBELTOWN: 2.A.19
HUDSON, George Herbert, Lance-Corporal, 6Tp-2Cdo: (ML268): 2.C.21
IDE, George Edward, Sergeant, 5cdo: (HMS CAMPBELTOWN): 1.D.1
JOHNSON, Bertie Lawrence, Lance-Sergeant, 5Cdo: (HMS CAMPBELTOWN): 2.B.14
KELLY, Francis, Private, HQ-2Cdo: (MGB314): 2.C.6
KEMP, Leslie, Petty Officer, RN: HMS CAMPBELTOWN: DSM: MiD: 1.D.5
LIDDEL, Charles Wilson, Able Seaman, RN: MTB74: 2.C.23
LLEWELLYN, Frederick, Corporal, 1Cdo: (ML306): 2.A.3
LUCY, Albert James, Fusilier, 6Tp-2Cdo: (ML192): 2.A.23
MARTIN, William Jesse, Able Seaman, RN: ML262: 2.B.6
MATHER, Harry, Lance-Corporal, 4Tp-2cdo: (ML268): 2.C.19
MOSS, Alan, Regimental Sergeant Major, HQ-2Cdo: (ML267); 2.C.8
ONSORGE, Slavoj John, Leading Seaman, RN: ML457: 2.C.15
PENNINGTON, Harold Hammond, Captain, 4Cdo: (ML268): 2.C.2
PRITCHARD, William Henry, Captain, RE: (ML457): MC: MiD: 2.A.5
ROACH, Thomas Ypres, Rifleman, 6Tp-2Cdo: (ML177): 2.A.6
ROSS, Alexander, Ordinary Seaman, RN: HMS CAMPBELTOWN: 1.D.4
SARGENT, Walter George, Leading Seaman, RN: ML306: MiD: 2.A.12
SMITH, Leslie Charles, Stoker (11), RN: ML298: 2.C.10
SPAUL, William Albert, Lance-Corporal, 6Tp-2Cdo: (ML192): 2.B.16
STOKES, George Stanley, Lance-Corporal, 5cdo: (HMS CAMPBELTOWN): 2.A.9
TAYLOR, Gerald, Sergeant, HQ-2Cdo: (ML267): 2.B.15
TOMBLIN, Edward Charles, Private, 1Cdo: (ML306): 2.A.14
TOMSETT, Reginald Maurice, Corporal, 6Tp-2Cdo: (ML192): 2.C.1
WALTON, George William, Guardsman, 2Tp-2Cdo: (ML447): 2.B.8
WALTON, Philip, Lieutenant, 1Tp-2Cdo: (ML457): 1.D.8
WARD, Raymond Reginald, Petty Officer, RN: MTB74: 2.A.16-17
WESTWELL, Albert, Signalman, RN: HMS CAMPBELTOWN: 2.C.3
WINTHROPE, William James, Surgeon-Lieutenant, RCNVR: HMS CAMPBELTOWN: MiD: 2.B.4



(Image courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission)



This, the main War Cemetery, is to be found some 11 km west of St-Nazaire, at  the eastern end of the Baie du Pouliguen where the coast road along the north shore of the Loire estuary enters la Baule, becoming the Boulevard de l'Ocean. Follow the Boulevard - which fronts onto four miles of golden sand - for a little over two kilometres, then turn right where the Boulevard is joined by the Avenue de Rhuys. Turn right again onto the Avenue de Locmariaquer and continue past the Polyclinique, on the left side of the road. As you enter the Foret d'Escoublac, turn right onto the Route de la Ville Halgand, which winds through an extensive residential area. Here, amidst smart villas, you will find the bijou Cimetière Anglais, whose size and  garden setting echo fittingly the intimacy of the ties which bound together the men of Operation 'Chariot'.



             

The fact that the last resting places of only one third of the fatal CHARIOT casualties are to be found here reflects the tragic loss of so many sailors and Commandos in the unforgiving waters of the tidal estuary. While a small number were recovered, to be interred at other sites in the general area, the majority are memorialized in the UK, at Brookwood Cemetery, or at Chatham, Portsmouth or Plymouth naval memorials. A comprehensive list of all the fallen, complete with sites of graves or memorials, is to be found on the Roll of Honour page.