The Germans heavily fortified Fricourt in the first two years of war, reinforcing cellars and underground tunnels, and constructing concrete bunkers, making the position a firm stronghold and key point of their defensive system. Despite all their efforts, however, Fricourt fell to the British on 2 July 1916, the second day of the Battle of the Somme.
The German Military Cemetery
17,000 German soldiers are buried in this cemetery, approximately 1000 of them died in 1914, 10,000 during the 1916 Battle of the Somme, and 6,000 during the German Spring Offensive in 1918 and following Allied counter-attack. The cemetery was built by French military authorities in 1920 and concentrates graves from some 79 communes in the regions of Bapaume, Albert, Combles, the Ancre Valley and Villers-Bretonneux. Only 5,000 of the graves are individual; the remainder of the men lie in four mass graves.
The Red Baron
Manfred von Richthofen, the famous Red Baron, was buried for a short time in this cemetery. The commander of Jagdstaffel II, who had clocked up 80 victories, was killed on 21 April 1918 in the vicinity of Corbie. Engaged in action with two Canadian aircraft, von Richthofen made the mistake of flying too close to Allied lines and was hit by Australian machine gun fire. His plane crashed near the brickworks on the heights near Corbie and the Australians buried him, with full military honours, at Bertangles. His body was reinterred at Fricourt after the war, but later transferred to Berlin, before being finaly laid to rest at Wiesbaden.
Every year a ceremony is held at the German Military Cemetery of Fricourt in remembrance of the men who served in the Battle of the Somme. Please click here
for information about the ceremony in 2017
Free access all year round
Cemetery maintained by the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge