Vermelles is a village north of the N43 road between Béthune and Lens, and about 9 km from either town.
From the church in Vermelles head north-east and where the road turns sharp right continue straight on in the direction of Auchy-les-Mines. The cemetery is found at the end of the gravel track, off Rue Voltaire on the right hand side of the road, 2 km from the church.
However, most people will arrive from Loos and St Mary’s ADS Cemetery. Arriving in Vermelles you will see the 46th Division’s monument on your left. Immediately afterwards there is a sharp left hand turn with a road coming in from the right. Take that road to the right and then take the right hand fork.
The cemetery is not visible from the road as it lies in a chalk pit three metres below ground level. The wall is visible however up a short track to your right. There is a patch of lawn out front which also helps identify the cemetery. If you reach the houses you have gone too far.
If you retrace your journey towards Vermelles note that you will come to a fork in the road — go right, left leads you down a farm track.
Quarry Cemetery was used from July 1915 to June 1916, and (for two burials) in August 1917. Its existence is due chiefly to the fighting at Fosse 8 and at the Hohenzollern Redoubt, and it contains many graves of the dismounted Cavalry who occupied this sector in 1915-16. The cemetery, was severely damaged by shell fire.
There are now over 100, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, 10 are unidentified and many of the graves, identified as a whole but not individually, are marked by headstones bearing the additional words Buried near this spot.
The cemetery covers an area of 2,061 square metres.
Captain The Hon Fergus Bowes-Lyon
8th Bn Black Watch
Died on 27th September 1915 aged 26
Son of 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
of Glamis Castle, Forfarshire
Husband of Lady Christian Bowes-Lyon
Educated at Eton.
Previously served with 2nd Bn. in India.
(Queen Mother’s brother).
Grave: A 15
In 2011 James Joicey-Cecil, a grandson of Fergus Bowes-Lyon, visited the cemetery with a local French historian who could produce evidence to suggest that the grave of an unidentified officer was in fact Fergus Bowes-Lyon.
Bowes-Lyon was the only officer known to have been buried in the cemetery. His name was still listed in 1920 but had been removed from the finalised document in 1925. An original grave marker also added weight to the idea that he was in the cemetery — not far from where he fell.
The CWGC accepted that Bowes-Lyon was amongst the burials but were unable to positively identify where as the cemetery had remained in the front lines and been seriously damaged during the course of the conflict. Many of the graves are marked ‘Buried near this spot’ as their precise location is unknown.
Thus in 2012 a special memorial headstone to Captain Bowes-Lyon, inscribed ‘Buried near this spot’, was added to Row A.
The grave of ‘An Officer of the Great War’ is just to the left.
Trooper Joseph Daly GS/11770
2nd Dragoon Guards
Died on 8th February 1916 aged 29
Son of James and Margaret Daly
of 112, Wavertree Vale, Wavertree, Liverpool
Served 4 years with the 4th (Q.O.) Hussars
Re-enlisted Sept., 1914
Grave: C 15
Lance Corporal John Pilley 12091
18th (Queen Mary’s Own) Hussars
Died on 27th January 1916 aged 24
Son of Major W and Isabel Pilley
of “Wimblehurst,” Malton Rd., York
Grave: C 21