Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Lochnagar Crater


towisuk

Recommended Posts

Can I draw fellow forum members interest to the following article on the WFA site, it was published in the WFA "Bulletin" this month.

http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/news/newsflash/1933-lochnagar-crater-memorial-wear-and-tear-is-taking-a-serious-toll.html

Considering the number of visitors that come with bus tours, would visitors consider helping maintain this for future generations. Would the guides/organisers of the tours consider taking "donations" towards the maintenance of this incredible symbol of the 1914-18 war on the Somme. These "donations" could be forwarded to the fund for restoration and maintenance, the contact details are to be found on .....

http://www.lochnagarcrater.org/Donate.html

And these are purely "voluntary" donations...hopefully the visitors will respond to this crisis and assist the "Friends" to continue with their

invaluable work at the crater.

Please consider...this has been open to everyone to visit, but years of footfalls around the crater are taking their toll, and without urgent action we could destroy one of the most visited (and remembered) places in the Battlefields....

regards

Tom

ps message to forum Admin, if this is in the wrong place could you move it to the correct forum, thank you, Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This memorial is in private hands so why not charge a small fee? It isn't one of the lands given in perpetuity so I can't see what the problem would be, the tour companies and individual tour guides are all making money from it, make them pay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This memorial is in private hands so why not charge a small fee? It isn't one of the lands given in perpetuity so I can't see what the problem would be, the tour companies and individual tour guides are all making money from it, make them pay.

This may sound very reasonable, but not according to the article:

"I am not allowed by law to raise money at the Crater without a trading licence - the same as a ‘frites' van and costing 4,000 euros!"

Roel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This memorial is in private hands so why not charge a small fee? It isn't one of the lands given in perpetuity so I can't see what the problem would be, the tour companies and individual tour guides are all making money from it, make them pay.

As Roel pointed out above..a licence is required to charge a fee, and a not inconsiderable sum is needed for a licence.

Also the Crater is kept as a symbol of the Great War and what happened on 1st July 1916, far better for the tour guides and companies that

make money from taking visitors to contribute voluntarily in some way. So making the tours aware of the situation, and enabling them to make "voluntary" contributions, collected and forwarded to the correct address as "donations" would help enormously.

I'm sure that the pilgrims would be only to willing to help out if they were made aware of the erosion situation, and have it explained to them when they are on-site.

many thanks for your interest and input, it is appreciated.

regards

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is obviously something you have considered, but doesn't the cost of a trading license depend on the estimatated income from the trade? Where did the figure 4,000 euro come from? If frites van can make money there from passing trade I would have thought a euro per person visiting the crater couldn't fail. I have seen 6 coaches parked along that road at times during the summer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is obviously something you have considered, but doesn't the cost of a trading license depend on the estimatated income from the trade? Where did the figure 4,000 euro come from? If frites van can make money there from passing trade I would have thought a euro per person visiting the crater couldn't fail. I have seen 6 coaches parked along that road at times during the summer.

The whole ethos of keeping Lochnagar Crater as a symbol of what happened in the area in 1916, would be lost if it turned into a business.

Far better to work together as the "Friends Of Lochnagar" do, to maintain the crater as best as can be done under the circumstances.

There are enough people making money out of the tragedy that was the Western Front, and I think it would be wrong to go down that avenue.

So surely it is in everybodys interest to maintain the crater with help from those that come to see it by "voluntary donations."

It's just a thought....I'm not speaking from any official capacity, a hat passed round the bus after a visit could realise funds to help preserve the crater from more damage from the very people that come to view it.

regards

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recently I was having a chat with Michael, the young lad with the relics for sale on the car park. He told me it cost him almost 5000 euros for the licence to operate from the crater site.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a thought, based on the need to preserve the site even if at the expense of visitor access. Discreetly fence the site to prohibit walking around the rim. Build a wooden viewing platform, free to use a la Gibraltar at Pozieres, or at Crecy. (My theory being that most visitors only wish and need to see the scale of the crater: you would even have a better view from on high than at rim level). Make and maintain the constructions from a designated fund, accumulated from donations. Those people with a genuine need to walk onto the site (such as bone fide researchers, or relatives of men who died there) admitted on application in advance.

Stands by for incoming Minnies...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recently I was having a chat with Michael, the young lad with the relics for sale on the car park. He told me it cost him almost 5000 euros for the licence to operate from the crater site.

If that is true then his profit margins are exceptional because he also rents the land and he isn't there every day. But anyway as discussed that not an option. So I would agree with Chris, restrict access to the full site except on application.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't count the number of times I have walked around the crater. Nor the number of people I have sent around it (albeit non profit making tourists). As a result I am sad at the damage I and others have caused and would be more than happy to make a contribution each time I visit. The question remains, what is the best way to do this?

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Chris, re:contributions for the Crater maintenance fund, I have posted a link to the contribution fund site in post #1 mate

re: making a viewing platform and restricting site access Chris, I must admit that that is one of the thoughts that crossed my mind, but there are memorial benches and a cross as well as other small memorials scattered around the crater. Only having a viewing platform would preclude access to these memorials. And if enough money was raised to fence the entire site in, rather than doing that, it would be spent on the walkway around the crater, thus preserving the crater rim and still allowing access to the whole site.

I started this topic to try to bring to the attention of fellow forum members about the need for funds to preserve Lochnagar, I'm pleased to see that we have had several ideas floated in previous posts, so my initial post has achieved some of its original intention.

Now I'm hoping that members of the Guild of Battlefield Guides and others who conduct goups, could take it upon themselves to take voluntary donations after a crater visit by their clients, after all this is a "must see" stop on all tours of the Somme battlefields. Working together we can preserve this, at the moment it would work out at "10 PENCE" per visitor for the £20,000 required for this year alone. Knowing the public that visit the battlefields I'm sure they would be only too willing to donate towards the preservation of the crater when made aware of the problems...maybe something the guides etc can mention when telling their clients about the crater itself.

and once again, link to the Lochnagar crater donation site......

http://www.lochnagarcrater.org/Donate.html

many thanks for your interest, please keep suggestion coming...

regards

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom.

I think the first thing they need to do is update the website so people can make donations online.

Cheque is on it's way.

Neil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Easier for me if there was a donations box on site. I know this idea will be shot at quickly, but when I take a group it would be quite strange to say to them "give me a donation and I will post it to".

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Easier for me if there was a donations box on site. I know this idea will be shot at quickly, but when I take a group it would be quite strange to say to them "give me a donation and I will post it to".

Chris

Obviously the problem with a donation box on an unattended site would be security Chris.

Maybe the Old Blighty Tea room in La Boiselle could be persuaded to accept the donations in an envelope collected by the guides etc as they leave the crater, that way the tourists on the coaches could see their donations being "delivered"....the money then transferred to the maintenance fund...

Again..just another idea...

many thanks for the continued interest.....

regards

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom.

I think the first thing they need to do is update the website so people can make donations online.

Cheque is on it's way.

Neil

Good idea Neil, I made a donation to the Iron Memorial appeal (also on this forum),the other day with a few clicks of the pc mouse...!

Thank you for the donation...

regards

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

Easier for me if there was a donations box on site. I know this idea will be shot at quickly, but when I take a group it would be quite strange to say to them "give me a donation and I will post it to".

Chris

I was there last week, Vinny working away on his own.

There was a bucket placed near the car park area, just near the Cross, it was obviously unattended, but hopefully no losses will be suffered. I can only hope that honesty prevails.

Kevin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vinny is doing a terrific job working with Brian (of Mash Valley B&B). The new footpath is progressing very well.

There are a number of guides who "pass the hat" and others who point out the collection box in the Old Blighty & the bucket while "Friends" are on site. I would encourage anyone who would like to help to go to the web site of the Friends of Lochnagar & become a member.

Regards to all

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if people are worried about leaving donations at unattended boxes then as Towisuk says a few clicks on the mouse a donation can be made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to point out that several battlefield tour operators already do give to the friends of Lochnagar directly or indirectly by allowing guides to pass out donations envelopes. On Leger battlefield tours out guides regularly do this and one raises a substantial amount each year.

I'm also not sure that a traders licence is required to charge access to a site in France and personally speaking I would have no problem for visitors paying a fee but I would add that as soon as you start charging for a location some would feel that gave them extra 'rights' - to come when they want, do want they want "as they had paid". So it could be a double-edged sword.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

but I would add that as soon as you start charging for a location some would feel that gave them extra 'rights' - to come when they want, do want they want "as they had paid". So it could be a double-edged sword.

When I was there earlier in the month, a visitor (not a youngster) started to climb over the barrier until stopped by a shout from Vinny on the far side. Presumably the crater has no-one "guarding" it on some days, so that chap may have taken a slide down to the bottom on another day and further eroded the site.

Making payment for access would presumably require permanent attendance of a representative, so an escalation of administration and expense would likely result.

Kevin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to point out that several battlefield tour operators already do give to the friends of Lochnagar directly or indirectly by allowing guides to pass out donations envelopes. On Leger battlefield tours out guides regularly do this and one raises a substantial amount each year.

I'm also not sure that a traders licence is required to charge access to a site in France and personally speaking I would have no problem for visitors paying a fee but I would add that as soon as you start charging for a location some would feel that gave them extra 'rights' - to come when they want, do want they want "as they had paid". So it could be a double-edged sword.

Many thanks for the input Paul, I was obviously unaware that many guides with established tours already take donations, a great big "thank you" to all who contribute in this way...

This topic was started to raise awareness of the work done by Vinny and the other "Friends", and the cost of materials etc that go towards keeping Lochnagar a symbol of the Great War that can still be visited in safety.

regards

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Slightly going off on a tangent but a big thanks to all involved in the 01 July ceremony this year. Once again a most fitting tribute to those who fought & died there.

Getting back on topic - I did contribute to the bucket collection although going by the amount of coins/notes in the buckets I saw a number of visitors didn't.

Andy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Andy, I was able to be present at last years ceremony, and the wife's first comment at the conclusion when everyone had gone, was the number of people that walked past the donation buckets and never contributed anything to them.

I can't think that it is deliberate, many probably think that it is maintained by local government or some other official body, it is only thanks to the work done by Vinny and "Friends" that the site is still a safe place to visit. BUT, the erosion problem around the rim of the crater caused by thousands of visitors each week is causing irreversible damage. Hence the urgent need for funds for materials so that the "Friends" can continue the invaluable work they do in improving the pathways etc, to minimise the effect that thousands of feet have on the chalk pathway...Can I just add my "Thank you" to all those that do give generously in money and time, to the preservation of this historic monument of the Great War.

regards

Tom(Friend of Lochnagar Crater)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul,I would query your comment that "several" Battlefield Tour Operators make donations to Lochnagar Crater either directly or via tour guide collections.No support whatever is given directly by any mass carrier operator,and Leger are the only one's from which a tour guide obtains donations which as you say,can be substantial.The amount of course depends on the number of times his particular tour visits the Crater in the year.

However,there are a number of smaller dedicated tour groups and personally owned operators who visit Lochnagar from time to time,and obtain donations from their passengers.There is also a school teacher,now semi retired ,who organises occasional school visits resulting in further sums.

Incidentally,all members of this smaller group are Friends Of Lochnagar.

Having just looked at the Leger website,I see that a 'photo of Lochnagar is used to promote the Tunnellers tour to the Glory Hole.

Les

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Les, I mentioned 'several' out of fairness as I have met people from 'several' companies who have claimed that they "support" the Friends. It is not my place to check whether that is correct or not.

As for our own guides, more than one assists in gathering interest and donations as far as I am aware, although one is more high profile than the others. In days gone by I encouraged every group to make sure passengers purchased items from Sue Cox when she had a stall at the crater in support of the friends, and also via the shop at Delville Wood in the days of Janet and Tom. I am led to believe 'several' tour operators did the same?

The tour you mention is about the war underground, not just the Glory Hole, and includes a visit to Lochnagar, thus the photo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...