British Unknown Warrior
Location: situated in the city center, in front of the railway station, place Verdum
Access: Wheelchair access possible
The British Government announces in November 1920 its decision to set up, on the occasion of the celebrations for the armistice, a grave for an unknown soldier symbolizing the sacrifice of the British soldiers who died during the war.
The bodies of four soldiers are exhumed on November 7th 1920 in the areas where the British Expeditionary Force was involved. The instructions given to the people in charge of this mission were very detailed:
· The body must be taken from a grave which had been marked 'Unknown British Soldier'
· The soldier must have fallen in the early years of the war, to allow nature to cause sufficient deterioration of the body.
· No name, regiment, or other means must enable the identification of the soldier’s identity.
The Unknown Soldier was chosen at midnight on November 7th 1920 in St Pol sur Ternoise among four bodies. The following morning, a service was held in the makeshift chapel and at noon the body, was placed in a motor ambulance and driven to Boulogne under military escort. The guard to protect the body during the night of the 9th to the 10th was made up of Poilus from the Boulogne Regiment, which had recently been awarded the Legion of Honour for its services in the war. On the 10th, the coffin is taken to the port under an Anglo-French escort. The senior British Officer, Macdonough, was the King's representative. Marshal Foch, who arrived by car accompanied by General Weygan, attended the ceremony on his own initiative. The coffin was then placed on the HMS Verdun, named in honour of that battle of 1916. On the evening on November 10th, the coffin reaches Dover where it is placed in a train that will lead him to London. The Unknown Soldier is buried “among kings” on November 11th in Westminster Abbey, the same day as the French Unknown Soldier in Paris, at the Arc de Triomphe
A headstone symbolizing the spot where
the Unknown Soldier was chosen
was established in 1995.