Tribute to First World Way cyclists to be held at CWGC Arras Memorial as part of 5th stage of Tour De France
08 July 2015
The event coincides with the start of the fifth stage of the
Tour de France, which will depart from the memorial and is
dedicated to honouring the fallen of the First World War.
Equipped with the same rifle the infantry carried, cyclists
provided a vital mobile combat force.
If terrain permitted, they could be used mounted for
reconnaissance and communications, and if not, they could still run
messages, or fight as infantrymen, leaving their bicycles
Theirs was a dangerous job, and a number of cyclists are buried or
commemorated with dignity across the CWGC's cemeteries and
memorials, including Arras.
Today's event will take place at 10am, and will be attended
by French Secretary of State Jean-Marc Todeschini as well as
representatives and former competitors of the Tour de
CWGC Head of External Engagement in Western Europe, Carl Liversage,
said: 'From the start of the conflict, the bicycle and the men who
rode them, were vital to the Allied war effort. 'We are
extremely grateful to the organisers, teams and riders of the Tour
de France for their participation in this act of remembrance and
for choosing Arras for the 5th stage of this year's tour.'
For more information, contact: Peter Francis on 01628 507163 or
07766 255884 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors:
1. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org) maintains the graves
of the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died
during the two world wars. It also holds and updates an extensive
and accessible records archive available online at www.cwgc.org
The CWGC operates in over 23,000 locations in 154 countries
across all continents except for Antarctica.
2. The Arras Memorial
The city of Arras remained in Allied hands and near the fighting
front from October 1914 until the end of the war. The British Army
took over the city and the sector from the French in the spring of
1916, and began burying Commonwealth soldiers behind an old French
military cemetery in the western suburb of Faubourg d'Amiens. The
cemetery was used by field ambulances and fighting units until the
Armistice. French graves were moved to other burial grounds in the
1920s and some Commonwealth graves brought here from the
battlefields around Arras and two smaller cemeteries nearby.
The Arras Memorial commemorate more than
34,700 missing of the Arras sector, lost between
the spring of 1917 and August 1918.
Both the cemetery and memorial cloister and court were designed
by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The cemetery is now the final resting place
of some 2,650 Commonwealth soldiers of the First World War killed
in the heavy fighting of the Arras sector, many during the Arras
Offensive of 1917.