On 21st May 2001, on the site of the Actiparc industrial park near Arras, a 15m-long pit containing the remains of 20 British soldiers was discovered during preventive archaeological excavations conducted by a team from INRAP and the Arras archaeology department.

The forgotten dead of ‘Point du Jour’

The first 19 bodies had been carefully laid down on their backs, their hands crossed in front of them with the arms folded in such a way that all of the soldiers were ‘shoulder to shoulder’. A number of shoulder insignia bearing the inscription ‘LINCOLN’ indicated that these soldiers belonged to the 10th battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment, a unit active in this zone from April 9th to 13th 1917. The symbolism of this arrangement is clear, and becomes all the more poignant when we consider that the nickname of this regiment was the ‘Grimsby Chums’, hailing predominantly from the small port town of Grimsby in north-east England.

This unusual, non-regulation grave is a particularly strong example of the strong bonds of camaraderie which united these men. Interpreting and understanding the circumstances of this burial was a major challenge for the archaeologists. The soldiers were reinterred in 2002 in the nearest military cemetery.