1914-18, the Great War in the Somme
The Somme has been deeply marked by the battles of the First World War: the August invasion and the "race to the sea" of September 1914, the Battle of the Somme from July to November 1916, the German Spring offensive in March 1918 and the consequent Allied counter-offensives of Picardy from August to September 1918. In 1916, in contrast to the Franco-German battle at Verdun, the Somme became a world arena: a meeting point for over twenty nationalities and where three million soldiers fought on a 45 km front. The Remembrance Trail will take you in their footsteps, through cemeteries, museums, memorials and battlefields in remembrance of all the soldiers who fought during the Great War.
The Remembrance Trail
The Thiepval Memorial
This imposing brick and stone monument, designed by the architect sir Edwin Lutyens, is 45 m high, and can be seen for miles around. It commemorates the 73,367 missing British and South Africans who fell between July 1915 and March 1918 and have no known grave. The visitor centre has a large exhibition area providing visitors with an understanding of the Battle of the Somme.
The Newfoundland Memorial - Beaumont-Hamel
This site gives a moving and realistic picture of the battles through its network of admirably well-preserved trenches. It covers 30 hectares. A path leads to the orientation table at the top of the Caribou mound - named after its crowning bronze statue of a caribou, emblem of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. The memorial looks towards the German lines and gives a clear, panoramic view of the battlefields and trench system.
South-African National Memorial and Museum - Longueval
The memorial and the Museum are erected in the heart of the Bois Delville, renamed the Devil's wood, these two edifices pay homage to the South African soldiers who received their baptism of fire. Here out of the 780 men who took part in the attack on July 15th, only 142 returned unharmed days later.
Little Train of the Upper-Somme and narrow-gauge railway museum
This steam train travels between Froissy and Dompierre on a railway line that was constructed in 1916 for the Battle of the Somme. It was used to supply the trenches. The museum is dedicated to the history of narrow-gauge railway lines from 1800 to the present day.
Lochnagar Crater - La Boisselle
This impressive mine crater, 100 metres across and 30 metres deep, is a relic of the series of explosions which happened on July 1st 1916. It marks the start of the Battle of the Somme by the British.
Getting there and around
The Somme Battlefields are just a 2-hour drive on the motorway from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Calais Terminal.
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