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Remembered Today:

Info on the Bombing of Bapaume City Hall

bob lembke

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For a while, As secretary of the tourist board of Seuil de l'Artois (Bapaume),i have been working on the project to commemorate the soldiers who got killed or wounded in the explosion.

i contacted the Australian gouvernment which donated 1000 euros and the mayor of Bapaume will participate at the same level.

A reseacher from the Australian War Memorial did find in the archives the names of 19 men. he is still searching as he just got a document which could indicate more names.

the project will be composed of 2 plaques (the memorial plaque and the roll of honour). both will be placed on the wall of Bapaume town Hall!

The unveiling will take place be on the 26th march 2011 .

so far, i tried to get an interest from the Australian press but without sucess. i would like to publish the list of casualties in Australian Newspapers hoping to find some family members and maybe more information that the AWM would be glad to collect (photos etc...). if someone has a close contact with the Australian Newspapers, could you help?

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Hello everybody!

I am happy to see renewed interest in this topic. I am writing a book on my father and grand-father, and started in 1914, when my grand-father was causing trouble of his own sort in Belgium. I met someone who is interested in the 42 cm howitzers (which my g-f worked with) and in fortifications, and I have veered off to work with him on two books on the big German siege guns in the Great War. This of course also advances my study of my g-f.

But I want to work more on this topic, and to do so soon so I can hopefully cooperate with Phillipe's efforts in advance of the event planned for early next year.

Ken Morriss managed to reach me off-Forum, and I have agreed to help him fill in information that he is interested in.

However, at the moment I am extremely busy (a am into a bit of real estate, and I have several baulky air conditioners to wrestle with, in this horrible heat wave), and I am going on a brief trip in a few days, but I will stick with this topic and perhaps we can move this matter forward. But if I am unresponsive for a few days I will be traveling.

Bob Lembke

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Robert Dunlop
...i have been working on the project to commemorate the soldiers who got killed or wounded in the explosion.
Well done on getting the project this far. It can be difficult to get the attention of the Press. Good luck with your request for contacts. Unfortunately this can be a chicken-and-egg situation. You are looking for more details from families, which will add a significant human interest perspective. The Press typically wants significant human interest stories.

Were any of the residents still living in Bapaume when it was liberated in 1917? Did any residents return to Bapaume after it was liberated but before the bomb exploded? I am just wondering if there is a story in this. Perhaps a modern day relative, who comments on how grateful his or her mother/grandmother was that the Australians helped to liberate Bapaume and who would like the relatives of the men who were killed to know what a difference this made. Just a thought.


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  • 10 years later...
Kelly Slater

Hi Bob


im new here and saw your comment.  My great uncle Andrew Sloane Caldwell was killed in this explosion.  I have photos etc of the day after

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Interesting story, which I only discovered now.


Does anyone know of similar cases? I know that the Germans had placed at least a device with a time fuse somewhere in the city hall of Kortrijk (Courtrai) during their retreat in 1918, but the device was disarmed at some point shortly after the city was cpatured by British troops.

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20 minutes ago, AOK4 said:

Does anyone know of similar cases?


Explosives had been placed in the St Quentin Basilica, whether they were meant for an immediate demolition or a time delayed one I do not know.


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Michelle Young

@Kelly SlaterBob sadly  died a few years ago. 

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Thanks for the detail on Bob.


I wonder if he ever finished his book on his father during WWI?



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The pillars of the Saint Quentin basilica still have the holes aimed for the explosives. Hopefuly they are empty now...



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