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Remembered Today:

Proposed new Memorial Park at Pozières


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Who is 'we', Tim? The Moulin de Pozières project is a local French initiative, as is the village's own spectacular Son et Lumière, illustrating and commemorating the story of Pozières during the Great War.

'We' = everyone. I'm well aware that there are others who believe 'we' do need more of these places and good luck to them, but it's purely my opinion that there is no need for any more additional memorial parks, monuments, etc. and I think a replica windmill would be cheesy.

Cheers,

Tim L.

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I thank Dennis for his last reply and regret that he will now only respond to personal emails. In my opinion the role played by both the FDI and PRA should be open to debate and my sole intention was to try and get clarity on the core functions and intentions of the group. I have stated before that when you have a website open to public view and then make posts on this forum you must expect discussion and debate which may not accord with your opinions but is very relevant anyway. .I never lose sight of the fact that all “investigations” on the battlefields however well-intentioned are likely to uncover the remains of those who perished and it is for that reason that I believe scrutiny and debate is essential in all such cases

Norman

PS The PRA website is still down and perhaps this is just temporary.

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I'm sorry that Dennis feels "got at". I'm not always in personal agreement with Norman, but here I am. This is a forum, of people with a great interest in the whole of the Great War, and with both knowledge of, and concern for the sites over which the soldiers of all our nations fought. That means that we will undoubtedly feel free to discuss developments and plans along the battlefields, and that we generally seek to understand those as fully as possible. I think we are all aware that responsibility for work in the area concerned rests primarily with DRAC, which is a publicly constituted body, as it should be, and that in part at least the war was fought to ensure that France was governed by it's own government.

The confusion at times in this thread between the planned development at Pozieres, and the separate objectives of the organisation that Dennis chairs has not always been helpful.

Dennis

"We also research unknown graves and see if we can give them names. But Im sure you will find something wrong with that too." post #128

I think you are becoming emotional here. If you mean, gathering evidence that enables CWGC and the other national bodies concerned to confirm the identity of men in graves that are currently recorded as containing "unknowns" then I think that you are very clearly wrong. Some members of the GWF have been very much involved, and Norman is one of them, in seeking to ensure that identification is made whenever possible, not because they are posters here, but because they care. I am sure that there is unanimity is wishing you well with that task.

Few if any here have any objection whatsoever to non-invasive techniques being applied to the study of battlefields, or to rescue archaeology, in fact generally the reverse, we mostly welcome it, and any additions to our understanding of the campaigns fought over that ground and the recovery of casualties for proper burial that rescue archaeology can ensure.

There are varying strongly held opinions, debated in several parts of the GWF over the principle of disturbing the ground purely to recover bodies or body parts and those opinions on both sides are entitled to respect. We will undoubtedly continue to debate them. (You have referred to the La Boisselle Study, and I am sure are aware that it's primary purpose was just that, a study of the site, rather than anything else; and that the team deliberately avoided disturbing bodies buried in the tunnels, but that equally when investigations disturbed remains they were of course dealt with respectfully and with guidance from DRAC).

The concern that binds us is our interest in the Great War, and our respect for the fallen of all nations concerned. Please remember, as I am sure you do that very many of those who died in the uniforms of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa were men who had been born and had grown up in Britain before emigrating. Most of us, are concerned to honour them all, friend and foe alike.

Keith

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What makes me nervous here in the British-Australian debate is the fact that project members only talk of the importance to find the remains of Diggers or British remains. In this context it is assured that the French officials and the respective national war grave commission will be involved from start-up.

Well, please do not forget that the Australians were fighting the Germans not themselves at Pozieres. If the project team finds 10 Diggers, they will find 10 Germans as well.

My question will always be: why is the OAWG (although the only legal entity for finds in France are the cognizance French authorities) involved from the very beginning and the German VdK equivalent which even has a sub-office in Northern France not involved. Will there be double standards applied?

Barry, the president of PRA re-assured me in a private email that the project team will honor the German dead with the same respect that they show towards Digger remains. I believe him!

But following this discussion I still have my doubts. I would feel much better if I understood that the VdK is 100% involved in the information loop and that the project team builds up confident communications with VdK until the first actual dig is done..

For the time being I do not care about windmills, coach parking and such but only about the dignity of ALL remains found on the premises, Australian and German!

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I agree entirely with your comments Egbert and stress that ALL combatants of whatever nation deserve our respect and dignity when for whatever reason they return to us from the mud of the battlefields. It is my opinion and others may of course disagree that the remaining battlefield sites belong to ALL of the nations who joined the conflict and to look at any particular part of these places as belonging to just one country is in my view completely wrong and is doing a great disservice to those who may still rest there. What I cannot understand and in this case I am lead by the available information is why landowners such as the one in Pozieres and apparently the Mouquet Farm site would allow these organizations to in the case of Pozieres build what in my opinion is a totally inappropriate so called "Memorial Park" and in the case of M Farm allow people to wander over the site without the future plans of the FDI being made crystal clear for in my opinion a "survey" can only be followed by an intention to excavate on this historic place..

Norman

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The Facebook page seems to have been last updated back in 2013. Don't hold your breath.

Keith

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Thanks Keith makes one wonder just what is going on here after all that was a substantial website and the only way that the PRA could broadcast their plans and progress etc.

Norman

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Thanks Tim, I didn't look beyond the first and presumably abandoned Facebook page.

Keith

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  • 3 months later...

Having read the news section of the Pozieres Remembered website - does anybody know whether funds collected up to today are sufficient enough to start work this year for the anticipated inauguration in 2016? Does the timeline still stand strong?

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  • 3 months later...

I have not bothered to check the website for a while but I think members will be interested in the "Latest News". Personally this is good news to me although others may disagree. I note the remarks that "The Park will be built." and "we will be selling our house to make up the shortfall in what is needed to build the Park", interesting.

Link

http://www.pozieresremembered.com.au/news/

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Yes, an interesting set of articles. Such a pity he's so focused on getting what he wants that he can't see other points of view, in fact discounting them as being a type of insult to the fallen. Personally, I remember the men just about every day. I don't want a big memorial at Pozieres. What's there already is fine enough especially for those of us who do remember. When I wrote to them a year or so ago, stating my reticence over their project, the arrogance of the reply was quite staggering.

But, it takes all sorts to make the world.

Jonathan

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I understand that Prince Harry laid a wreath not in 2014 as the news is dated but this year 2015 on April 6th., I assume therefore that the news relates to 2015. As regards the financial aspect of the proposed memorial park the sum raised by the sale of bricks totals by my estimation just over £18,000. Because there are no figures made available as to the finance required any guess could be wide of the mark but bearing in mind the proposal to rebuild the school and windmill etc the total cannot be far short of £750,000 - £1 million or more, as I say a guess.

I wonder whether the land has been formally handed over to the association by the owner and contracts to this effect have been signed. If this is the case then surely the landowner would have been presented with both the financial details of the proposal and the possibility of such finance being raised prior to any agreement being made.

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The whole Western Front appears to being "sanitised" and turned into an amusement park for empty headed tourists.......

By developing these "Educational Parks" it shows that the land that was fought over and thousands died is no longer considered sacred, that says a lot about the attitude of the people developing them.

For information on the war in the Somme area, the Theipval Visitors Centre, the Ulster tower and Newfoundland Memorial Park fulfill those duties in a dignified manner.

If visitors thinking of visiting the Western Front want to be entertained, let them go to the many Disney World sites Paris, Miami, California instead, they will be only too glad to relieve them of their money for the "Fairy Tale" experience.

WW1 was NO Fairy Tale, it involved peoples lives to a degree that still reverberates today.

regards

Tom

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First of all, let me say that I know Barry Gracey and his wife Yvonne, as well as some of the local French people involved, notably the Mayor of Pozières, Bernard Delattre. I have resolved to remain agnostic on the subject of the proposed Memorial Park, but recurrent 'Disney' jibes compel me to point out once again that the two-yearly Son et Lumière based on the history of the village during WW1 and the 'Moulin' project are both home-grown French initiatives ... rooted in a strong local commitment to commemorate and promote the reconciliation of everyone who shared in the experience of Pozières during the Great War, including the Germans and the local population.

Mick

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Son et Lumiere every other year no problem......., I wanted to attend myself when I was down there the other year when it was on, but circumstances conspired against me and i never did get to see it.

But this is a totally different kettle of fish, you only have to look at the proposed plans to see that.

regards

Tom

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  • 8 months later...

Are there any news on the progress of the project? What happened with the donations, or are the construction companies already digging?

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With any luck Egbert this proposal will fail completely but if for any reason it does not then I hope that qualified archeologists will be on-site when the digging begins, if it ever does.

Norman

Added 6/02/16

1.0 The latest news on the web site is dated August 2015

2.0 It is normal with these projects to quote the target finance required and the current total of donations, I see neither of these.

3.0 I will be very surprised if this project in the form it is proposed gets completeed

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The problem for me is one of maintenance. We can all have views about a new memorial/visitors' centre or whatever and there will always be divergent views; by the nature of the subject matter, some of these views will be very strongly held. Fine.

However, my concern is: who is going to maintain them and, perhaps more to the point, maintain them to a high and appropriate standard? When I first started visiting the battlefields in the late sixties the contrast between the state of some of the memorials and the CWGC cemeteries was quite stark. One needs to remember that this was before the VdK had begun its extensive renovation of its cemeteries in France and Belgium and many of the French cemeteries were not in a good state. The point is that if memorials that were, generally, erected in the decade or so after the war ended were in a poor state, it does not bode well for relatively small scale initiatives that might well succeed in producing a new memorial or memorial site; unless it has a substantial legacy fund it will deteriorate. The CWGC, so far as I can tell, did carry out basic horticultural and structural maintenance work on, eg, divisional memorials: but in most cases any legacy funding that had been given to them at the time of the construction of a memorial had been spent. This resulted in some very sad looking specimens - eg the 20th (Light) Division Memorial on the Guillemont to Combles road. Fortunately, when it was decided that it had to be dismantled because it was unsafe, at least enough interested parties were able to agitate successfully enough that a much reduced memorial remained - otherwise the bronze parts were to have been shipped to Shorncliffe (IIRC) and the original site abandoned.

So, regardless of my - or anyone else's - views as to whether or not a memorial is appropriate, whatever happens I think it (they) needs to have an ample 'legacy' pot of money (possibly as much as the original cost of erecting the memorial); it would be unfair for future generations of a location to be burdened financially if the mayor of a commune today was to offer to maintain a large memorial in perpetuity, in my opinion. I am all for using a well made, well 'lettered' plaque and making use of significant local buildings that are likely to last a long time - for example the mairie or the church. Simplicity works best when it comes to memorials. For the bigger projects, I fear that it is only if the state is involved (and nothing guaranteed about that over time) that there is likely to be the high quality maintenance that we would all desire.

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Just accidentally stumbled across one of the organisers Facebook pages. States they need 7000 people to buy a brick and so far as of today have only 1450 or thereabouts. If they struggle to raise the costs in the first place it does not bode well for Nigels concerns above. I think each brick equals a $50 pledge. Must be getting other funding? I believe the land was pledged free.

I have to reiterate I don't support this project.

TT

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  • 5 months later...

An update to the planned park.

 

Web

http://www.pozieresremembered.com.au/pozieres-memorial-park/

 

From the web site

"The Pozières Remembrance Association was established in 2006. The association currently has 12 fully paid members"

 

"Regardless of whether this project is realised in partnership with our friends at Pozières, the association is committed to ensuring that the annual Commemorations at Pozières do continue to go ahead each year".

 

My guess is that this project is "dead in the water" and frankly always has been, which begs the question that if the grandiose scheme is not completed (what time limit is there, if any) what happens to the donations? just a polite question I am sure you will agree.

 

Norman

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I visited the site this week and there was a great display of crosses in the shape of a Rising Sun , certaily some very committed people involved who I believe will do their best to complete the project.

Tony

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