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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

RIQUEVAL BRIDGE


DAVE PLATT

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Hi All,

Took a little sunny day recce yesterday to the 1918 Hindenburg line at Bellicourt, looking at the British, German and American cemeteries and memorials in that area. Part of my trip was to visit the famous Riqueval bridge, this is where the famous photo of the troops sat on the St Quentin canal bank was taken.

The British 46th Division crossed the St Quentin Canal (defended by fortified machine gun positions), capturing 4200 German prisoners (out of a total for the army of 5300). Men of the 1/6th Battalion, the North Staffordshire Regiment, led by Captain A. H. Charlton, seized the Riqueval Bridge over the canal on 29 September before the Germans could fire the explosive charges. (from Wikipedia)

What a great visit and it was good to see the WFA memorial explaining the action.

We then went on to the famous tunnel that the Germans used as a 'floating barracks' with 32 barges chained together, looking down the tunnel was pretty spectacular.

Dave Platt
beaumounthamelview.com

Banking next to the bridge


Soldiers sat on the bank


The tunnel entrance the Germans used the 32 floating barges


Looking down the tunnel

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Hi Rocketeer,

Nice pictures and thanks for posting. The Bellicourt tunnel was cleared by the AIF and my grandfather's pictures from October 1918 show the heavily defended canal tunnel entrance.

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Great pics Dave , thanks for posting!

Tony

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Nice pictures! It is some years since I was there, but I recall (way off topic) that on the nearby road was a tug barge converted to a snack bar but which had the remains of a pantograph (hope that the right word) to connect with electric cables in the tunnel in the days when tugs were steam powered and could not steam in the tunnel.

Old Tom

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Hi Rocketeer,

Nice pictures and thanks for posting. The Bellicourt tunnel was cleared by the AIF and my grandfather's pictures from October 1918 show the heavily defended canal tunnel entrance.

attachicon.gifBellicourt - Tunnel Entrance Later.jpg attachicon.gifBellicourt - Tunnel.jpg

Great pictures, I had to smile as nearly a 100 years later it doesn't seem to have changed that much. Awesome that your Grandfather took those pictures, did he get back ok?
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Probably a bit late for Rocketeer now, but id anyone visits much of the defences can still be found. The doorway to the mg post, the mg port hole and the pill box on top of the embankment still there, shown on Dave's pic, can be seen in modern photo. Peter

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Hi Peter,

Good points thanks, I didn't see those defences but now you have pointed them out will have another look in detail when I go over again. Its only an hour away and quite a nice ride on the Rocket.

Dave

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  • 9 months later...

Mebu,

I was there last week and all the features in your photograph are easy to see, the bunker on the top being in very good condition. I was amazed to see how badly corroded the balustrade on Riqueval bridge was !

Mick

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I always marvel at the picture of the soldiers crowded on the bank.

Judged by today's health & safety standards (when you see how steep that slope is), you'd think these men are unnecessarily risking life and limb. The fact that they can all sit/stand there looking so casual and unconcerned - makes you realise that, by contrast to the danger they have just been through, the precariousness of their 'perch' is trivial.

David

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