Soupir is a village situated on the D 925 between Bourg-et-Comin and Vailly-sur-Aisne.
There are a number of Military Cemeteries in the village. Coming from the direction of Pontavert/Bourg-et-Comin this cemetery and its sister on the opposite side of the road are impossible to miss.
The cemetery was initially created near a Casualty Clearance Station during the fighting of 1917. It was used to bury both French and German soldiers.Soupir 1914/1917
In 1920 it was decided to regroup the bodies from smaller cemeteries into this cemetery and it was greatly enlarged.
The cemetery covers 27 773 sq metres and contains the bodies of 7 806 French soldiers, 1 Belgian and 1 Russian (From the Russian Brigades who fought here in 1917).
Half of those buried here are in individual graves, but there are also 3 mass graves containing a total of 3 088 soldiers plus a further four collective graves containing a total of 266 soldiers from the cemeteries at Vieil-Arcy, Athies-sous-Laon, Glennes and Pargny-Filain
As many of the bodies were of German soldiers a German Military Cemetery was adjoined to this one. There is no barrier or fence between the two just the sudden change from white crosses to the grey stone.
However, the decision to regroup the fallen, discovered so many dead within the area, that Soupir No 1 became too small and a second French Cemetery was created in 1934 on the opposite side of the main road.
British soldiers are buried in the local churchyard whilst Italian soldiers are buried in their own cemetery a short distance along the road towards Vailly-sur-Aisne.
Immediately next door to the French Cemetery and undivided by any barrier is this large German Military Cemetery.
German soldiers were already being buried next to the French Military Hospital, and so, like its neighbour this German cemetery was extended in 1920; in this case in order to receive German soldiers from 143 different locations within a 30 kilometre radius.
There are 11 089 German soldiers buried here. 5 134 have their own graves (19 of them unknown soldiers - unbekannt) whilst a further 5 995 are buried in the mass grave in the centre of the cemetery.
Of these only 794 were identified and there names are marked on plaques along the pathway.
These soldiers, for the most part, fell in the Soissons - Reims Sector during the fighting of 1914, 1917 and 1918.
After an initial refurbishment of the cemetery by the Volksbund (The German CWGC) in the Thirties the wooden cross were replaced by those of stone in 1972.
Don't forget to visit the French No 2 Cemetery across the road, with its British, Belgian and Russian graves. There is also a British cemetery within the grounds of the local church.Soupir French Military Cemetery No 2
A short distance further on towards Vailly-sur-Aisne will bring you to the Italian Cemetery at Mont Sapin.Soupir Italian Military Cemetery