Flers was captured on 15 September 1916, in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, when it was entered by the New Zealand and 41st Divisions behind tanks, the innovative new weapons that were used here for the first time. The village was lost during the German advance of March 1918 and retaken at the end of the following August by the 10th West Yorks and the 6th Dorsets of the 17th Division.
The cemetery was begun by Australian medical units, posted in the neighbouring caves, in November 1916-February 1917. These original graves are in Plot I, Rows A and B. It was very greatly enlarged after the Armistice when almost 4,000 Commonwealth and French graves were brought in from the battlefields of the Somme, and later from a wider area.
The following were among the burial grounds from which Commonwealth graves were taken to this cemetery:-
FACTORY CORNER, FLERS, a little West of the crossing of the roads from Eaucourt-L'Abbaye to Gueudecourt and from Flers to Ligny-Thilloy. This place, which had been a German Headquarters for Artillery and Engineers and had a German Cemetery, was taken by the 1st Canterbury Infantry Regiment on the 25th September, 1916, and again by the 7th East Yorks on the 27th August, 1918. Fifteen soldiers from the United Kingdom and 13 from Australia were buried here in October, 1916-March, 1917, and in August, 1918.
NORTH ROAD CEMETERY, FLERS, North-West of the village, at the crossing of the Eaucourt-L'Abbaye road with "North Road" (to Factory Corner). Here were buried, in the winter of 1916-17, 13 Australian soldiers and seven from the United Kingdom.
The great majority of the graves in A.I.F. Burial Ground date from the autumn of 1916, but one is from 1914, and there are others from the spring of 1917 and the spring and summer of 1918.
There are now 3,475 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 2,263 of the burials are unidentified and there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of three casualties buried in a cemetery at Flers, who graves could not be found. The cemetery also contains 170 French and 3 German war graves.
The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.