Ayette Indian & Chinese Cemetery

Lille, Flanders & the Somme

Towards the end of WWI, tens of thousands of Chinese labourers were recruited by the British government to perform noncombat jobs in Europe, including the gruesome task of recovering and burying Allied war dead. Some 80 of these travailleurs chinois (Chinese labourers) and Indians who served with British forces are buried in this Commonwealth cemetery, which is 15km south of Arras, just off the D919 at the southern edge of the village of Ayette.

Many Chinese labourers died in the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918–19. Their gravestones are etched in Chinese and English with inscriptions such as 'A good reputation endures forever', 'A noble duty bravely done' and 'Faithful unto death'. The nearby graves of Indians are marked in Hindi or Arabic.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lille, Flanders & the Somme attractions

1. Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial

7.83 MILES

This evocative memorial preserves part of the Western Front in the state it was in at fighting's end. The zigzag trench system, which still fills with mud…

2. Carrière Wellington

7.84 MILES

Staging ground for the spring 1917 offensive, Wellington Quarry is a 20m-deep network of old chalk quarries expanded during WWI by tunnellers from New…

3. Ulster Memorial Tower

8.01 MILES

The 5000 Ulstermen who perished in the Battle of the Somme are commemorated by this 21m-high Gothic-style tower, an exact replica of Helen’s Tower at…

4. Thiepval Memorial & Museum

8.48 MILES

Its silhouette instantly recognisable from afar, this 45m-high memorial to the missing of the Somme, 7.5km northeast of Albert, is inscribed with the…

5. Hôtel de Ville

8.49 MILES

Arras' Flemish Gothic city hall dates from the 16th century but was completely rebuilt after WWI. Four géants (giants) live in the lobby. For a panoramic…

6. Grand' Place & Place des Héros

8.49 MILES

Arras' two ancient market squares, the Grand' Place and the almost-adjacent, smaller place des Héros (also known as the Petite Place), are surrounded by…

7. Mémorial Sud-Africain Delville Wood

10.77 MILES

The memorial (1926) and star-shaped museum (1986), a replica of Cape Town's Castle of Good Hope, stand in the middle of Delville Wood, where in July 1916…

8. La Grande Mine

10.86 MILES

Just outside the hamlet of La Boisselle, 4.5km northeast of Albert, this enormous crater looks like the site of a meteor impact. Some 100m across and 30m…