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Focus On... Isaac Rosenberg
* Arras  
His Early Life
Pre War Years
The Great War
War Poems

Tragically, Isaac was killed at the age of 27. During a German offensive, the English made an attempt to capture Arras on the 28th of March 1918. Isaac's brigade was holding the line south of Gavrelle when the front line was overwhelmed and pushed back to Fampoux. Isaac was at rest behind the line on the 28th but his company was brought up to the north of Fampoux to help reinforce the new front line.

On the right is a detail of a German trench map from March 1918, which is held at The National Archives. It shows the towns of Gavrelle and Fampoux before the English advance.


Download a PDF trench map showing Arras, Gavrelles and Fampoux.

The layout of the trenches is shown in meticulous detail. The red lines indicate Allied trenches and the blue lines German, giving an idea of how small no man's land was, and the close proximity at which fighting took place.

Detail from a German trench map, March 1918. Ref: WO 153 / 976, the PRO

On the night of 1st April 1918, Isaac was killed somewhere close to the village of Fampoux. He died in close combat during a German counter attack.

Below is a detail taken from Isaac's death certificate. You can find information on how to search for the death certificate of one of your ancestors in our research guides.

Detail of Isaac Rosenberg's death certificate, The General Register Office

Note that Isaac's Regimental number is in the left hand column. Along with a soldier's rank and regiment, this is very helpful when tracing someone. If you are tracing an ancestor who died in either of the two World Wars, you can search the 'Debt of Honour Register' on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.


Isaac's body was left in a mass grave until 1926, when his body was identified and reburied at Bailleul Road East Cemetery, St. Laurent-Blangy, Pas de Calais, France.


On Isaac's tombstone (see right), the badge of the King's Own Royal Lancashire Regiment is engraved, along with the star of David in accordance with the Hebrew faith.

Beneath are engraved the words 'Artist and Poet'.

Isaac Rosenberg's grave, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission