Alfred Michel, a French sailor, is buried here in the peaceful Gwithian churchyard, just a short walk from the spectacular windswept Gwithian beach. We would like to leave a painted stone of a Poppy at his resting place, to acknowledge his contribution to the First World War, or some flowers grown in Cornwall (when available), and wrapped for long-lasting freshness.  Far from home, but not forgotten.  

Alfred J Michel


9th June 1918 - Gwithian Churchyard

This is a war grave of a young French sailor, aged 20, who was serving in the Marine Nationale when he died.  The date of his death coincides with that of three other French sailors (laid to rest in Camborne Cemetery) who were also identified as being onboard the steamer Finistere, a vessel that was reported missing, and presumed to have been hit by a mine or torpedo off the coast of Cornwall.

Information on indicates that the Finistere was travelling between Cardiff and Bordeaux with a cargo of coal when it went missing, and this site indicates that the steamer had around 26 people on board, the majority of which were not found.  One of those buried at Camborne Cemetery was a Lieutenant, the other two were Sailors, like Alfred.  

A poignant reminder of how far and wide the misery of war was felt across Europe.