The village of Combles was (finally) entered in the early morning of the 26th August, 1916, by units of the 56th (London) Division and of the French Army. It had been an objective for the first three days of the Somme offensive. It then remained in Allied occupation until the 24th March, 1918, when the place was captured after a stubborn stand by the South African Brigade at Marrieres Wood, during operation Michael. It was retaken on the 29th August, 1918, by the 18th Division, during the “hundred days” movements.
The cemetery was begun in October, 1916 by French troops, but the original 94 French graves made in 1916 have been removed to another cemetery. The first British burials took place in December, 1916. From March, 1917, to the end of May, 1918, the Extension was not used. In June, July and August, 194 German soldiers were buried in this cemetery, but these graves, too, have been removed. In August and September further burials were made by the 18th Division. Plots were added after the Armistice by the concentration of 944 graves from the battlefields in the neighbourhood.
There are now over 1,500, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated at Combles. Of these, over half are unidentified and special memorials are erected to nine soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from South Africa, known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of three soldiers from the United Kingdom, buried in Maurepas and Longtree Dump Military Cemeteries, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire, a common occurence during the ebb and flow of the front.