Tournai was captured by the German II Corps on 23 August 1914, in spite of resistance from a French Territorial Brigade, and the town remained in German hands until it was entered by the 47th (London) and 74th (Yeomanry) Divisions on 8 November 1918. The 51st (Highland) Casualty Clearing Station arrived on 14 November and remained until 20 July 1919. During the occupation, the German sick and wounded were nursed in the “Asile”, whilst the Commonwealth and Allied were cared for in the Hopital Notre-Dame. The (Southern) Communal Cemetery, in the Faubourg-St.Martin, was used and extended by the Germans, although the graves were later regrouped by nationality and some were brought in from other cemeteries in a wide area around Tournai. The Allied extension now contains 689 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 34 of them unidentified. There are also 117 Russian burials, all of men who died as prisoners of war, and two Belgian war graves. Almost all of the 52 Second World War burials in the extension date from May 1940 and the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force ahead of the German advance.
20th April 1918