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Pas de Calais – Boulogne Eastern Cemetery

Private Ernest William Knight Marshall, who died on 16th March 1915, is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais (plot III. D. 22). 

Boulogne-sur-Mer is a large Channel port.  Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, one of the town cemeteries, lies in the district of St Martin Boulogne.  The cemetery is a large civil cemetery and was where the dead from the hospitals at Boulogne were buried.  It is split in two by the Rue de Finghen, just south of the main road (RN42) to St Omer.  The Commonwealth War Graves plot is located down the western edge of the southern section of the cemetery.  Unusually, the headstones are laid flat in this cemetery, due to the sandy soil.

Boulogne was one of the three base ports most extensively used by the Commonwealth armies on the Western Front throughout the First World War.  It was closed and cleared on 27th August 1914 when the Allies were forced to fall back ahead of the German advance, but was opened again in October and, from that month to the end of the war, Boulogne and Wimereux formed one of the chief hospital areas.

Boulogne Eastern Cemetery contains 5,577 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 224 from the Second World War.  The Commonwealth plots were designed by Charles Holden.

Ernest’s mother was sent a photograph of the grave as it appeared immediately after the war.  The headstone schedule on the Commonwealth War Graves website reveals that his mother had the words, “Home at last, Thy will be done”, added to his headstone.