ABBEVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY Index No. Fr. 439 Abbeville is an old and important town near the mouth of the river Somme on the main road (N .l)and railway between Paris and Boulogne. In the middle ages the Somme was navigable and Abbeville was a prosperous trading centre but the Somme silted up and the shipping turned to St. Valery and Le Havre. Despite the construction of a canal from St. Valery to Abbeville in the early part of the 19th century the lost siiipping was not recovered but Abbeville is now a manufacturing centre of considerable consequence. During the greater part of the 1914-1918 War Abbeville was the headquarters of the British Lines of Communications and three hospitals were stationed therefrom 1915 to 1919. During the 1939-1945 War it was one of the main operational aerodromes of the Air Component in 1940 but Abbeville the last crossing over the Somme fell to the enemy at the end of May of that year. On June 4th, 1940 the British 51st Division in conjunction with the French unsuccessfully attacked this bridgehead suffering heavy losses. Towards the end of 1943 there existed near Abbeville no less than eight large ski-shaped buildings at first thought to be launching sites for flying bombs. It was found that they were storage buildings for the bomb components and they were heavily bombed. Abbeville was re-taken on September 4th 1944 by Canadian and Polish units. The communal cemetery and extension arc on high ground overlooking the town from the north. The communal cemetery was originally the churchyard of Notre Dame lade Chapclle. British burials took place therefrom November 1914 until September 1916 and number 774. The 1939-1945 British war burials were mostly in the extension (sec following note) but this cemetery contains the graves of 30 British servicemen who fell during these years. They comprise 3 soldiers and 19 airmen of the United Kingdom forces 6 airmen of the Royal Canadian Air Force and 2 airmen of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. O f these 2 British soldiers and 4 airmen of the Royal Air Force arc not identified.
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