Alfred J Michel
French sailor interred at Gwithian
9th June 1918
This is a war grave of a young French sailor, aged 20, who was serving in the Marine Nationale (the French Navy) when he died. His grave is tucked close to the north side of the beautiful Gwithian church, appropriately sheltered from the waves on the north coast just nearby.
Information on www.wrecksite.eu indicates that the vessel he was onboard - a seamer called 'Finistere' - was travelling between Cardiff and Bordeaux with a cargo of coal when it went missing. This website indicates that the steamer had around 26 people on board, the majority of which were not found. Six other French sailors from the Finistere are laid to rest at Camborne Cemetery: a Lieutenant, and two sailors, like Alfred, and three that were not identified. Bodies from the wreck must have washed-up to shore and been buried closest to where they were found; the plaque on the grave at Camborne shows evidence that it was extended to accommodate the three unidentified mariners when their bodies were interred here.
These graves are a poignant reminder of how far and wide the misery of war was felt across Europe.