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Remembered Today:

Planning a visit to Biaches, Peronne.


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Hello All,

Exciting news. I am going to visit Biaches and the Graves of my Great Great uncle Frank Taylor (on the way to Biaches buried at Le Touret) and my Great Granddad Henry Nichols in August this year for around 4 days.

This is my first visit to the battlefield of Biaches so I am gathering all the records of Biaches in 1917 (as well as personal records ect). I wondered for all you seasoned battlefield visitors if there was anything you recommend that I take.

I am hoping to go to the village of biaches and try and contact the farmer who owns Kiboko wood (Bois Marc) if possible as well as the graves.

I went on a visit to Ypres when I was at school I was a little disapointed though as I felt it was rushed we seemed to spent more time in the shops than on hill 60 and the Sanctuary Wood trenches (yes this was the only school trip I agreed to go on).

Any suggestions welcome.

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Hi,

Biaches is a vey interesting place to visit, and there's a lot to see there. My advice would be to park your car and and walk to understand the importance of this spot in 1870 (where the Prussians had set their guns), in 1916 for the French and later in 1917 and 1918.

Park your car at Peronne and walk towards Biaches, pass the memorial to the marin Delpas (killed there in 1870) and the ramparts, "porte de Paris". Cross the canal and turn right to Biaches, continue to the mill and the silo near the canal. There's a slope on your left and a track going up leading to a chateau "La maisonnette", scene of heavy fighting in 1916. that was the closest advance of the French troops, just 1500m from the center of Peronne. There was a tunnel there dug by the germans, and remaisn of german bunkers are still visible (but hard to find). the current owner of La Maisonnette doesn't mind visitors. Many french horseman ("cuirassiers à Pied") were killed there in the early stage of the war, as well as "Chasseurs Alpins" (Alpine Troops) in September 1914. There's a memorial to them in the communal cemetery at Biaches. There are many references to Biaches in the French war diaries. If you continue the track to heading to Flaucourt you will pass the grave of Lt. Brocheriou (22 R.I.C, Croix de Guerre, chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur) killed there on 6 August 1916. Very close is "Kiboko Wood", it's a small wood and I think that access should not be a problem. Heading north is the Biaches French war Cemetery, containing many colonials who fell nearby in July-August 1916. As you can see I know more about the 1914-1916 period there, but I believe that most of the British who fell at Biaches are buried at Peronne or Assevillers.

I have a lots of maps of this area but I am currently very busy !

Regards

Sly

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Hello,

This is fantastic. I was hoping to gather as much information about the area as possible before going. I think for me understanding the full co text of the area from 1914 to 1918 is important. I used to search for ages about Biaches and Peronne but since coming into the forums I have met so many people who have such different knowledge of Peronne and Biaches and all different facts.

My very first visit to France. I've been lucky to have been pointed towards all the Trench maps from over the years so will be taking them I seem to have all the maps that I can get but thank you for the offer,

It seems my enthusiasm and excitement for the subject can take over.

All I know about Kiboko Wood was that the Graves were moved to Assevillers.

What is the area classed as. I know it's near the Somme but do historians class it as the actual Somme area.

It's a real shame that a lot of this information isn't available online. I saw La Masonnette on the maps and read elsewhere about the heavy fighting a it's surprising to hear that a tunnel survives with bunker. Looking on google maps it seems Biaches returned to normal with very little visible signs of war but I could be wrong.

It's great to hear.

really excited to see the area and to experience the things that I have heard only in name.

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Micha, just out of interest Biaches was adopted by Leamington after the Armistice as part of the British League of Help towards the devastated regions of France. Peronne was adopted by Blackburn on the same terms. Clout's 'After the Ruins' is an extensive study of the reconstruction process and well worth a read should you ever find a copy. I have lots of information regarding the BLH and the town adoption schemes if you're interested

Jon

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I live right near Leamington Spa. Actually an interesting point I am in Leamington Spa tomorrow doing an orchestral concert that is commemorating the start 1ST World war at Holy Trinity Church Leamington.

Also that Peronne is connected to Blackburn because of the family connection. My Great Granddad on my mum’s side of the family was the Mayor of Blackburn Luke Bates it was after the 1st World War I have a big scrap book of all the newspaper cuttings from the time. I will try and find a date (out of interest this could be around the time that towns were being twinned up).

I have a bit of saving to get the book from Amazon crazy prices. But I will have a look in the next few days to find the book.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Ruins-Restoring-Countryside-Northern/dp/0859894916/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402658004&sr=1-1&keywords=after+the+ruins

Does zone rouge still exist in France I read articles that were written years ago about zone rouge I think the last one was in around 2009 or something. Wondered if public assess was allowed now (supposedly right near the Somme region)

Right I must get off. Will have a look see if I can find anyhting in Leamington tommorow about the twinning of Biaches when I get a few hours free.

Thank you Jon and Sly.

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Yes, and there is a plaque at the town hall of Biaches to the "Leamington Spa" (and I believe that the name on the plaque is mispelled "Lemington")

Sly

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When I get a moment today I will pop over and take a look at the plaque.

Cheers Sly that is really quite interesting infomation really being so close to a town that is twinned to Biaches.

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What to take? An open mind, a camera, sun cream, hat, strong boots, raincoat. Maps, any records you have. I'm not sure where you plan to stay or how you are traveling but try not to do too much this first visit. Take time to look around Le Touret and I'm assuming Assevillers Cemeteries, try and see the evolution of them, their layout and architecture. Take loads of photos and come back with a wanting to go again!

Michelle

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When exactly are you planning to be at Biaches, Micah? I'll be there myself for a few days at the beginning of August (as is the case every year these days!) - 4th, 5th 6th(ish) - and usually walk my dog along the canal to Biaches every morning. I usually spend the odd evening wandering the area too, so feel free to join me if you wish (I'll have a lap-top brimming with files on the area with me - including some 25 or so French, British and German trenchmaps, plus detailed maps of the 1870/71 actions and positions) if our visits coincide.

On another note, Sly... my annual question... do you know whether CAFC Peronne have any home games during the first week of August this year?

Cheers.

Dave.

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I will be in Biaches on the 24th August which is a shame would have been great to compare. I was hoping to visit the area around Biaches especially the river Somme that looks toward Peronne. I also wanted to visit the Museum at Peronne. But I also hope to visit Kiboko wood and also Mont St Quentin if there was time.

Will also be visiting Assevillers War Cemetary and The Le Touret memorial when we arrive in Calais. I was toying with the idea on going to Biaches and concentrating on the period of Biaches from 1916 to early 1917 when the area was took over from the French.

It’s actually my first time going to visit a WW1 Battlefield site (if that’s the right word to call it) I did go to Ypres when I was in school but we were rushed around Hill 60 and Sanctuary Wood and Menin Gate and spent what seemed like more time looking at sweets (well not me as I decided the 10 Euros I took would buy a Canadian soldiers diary who fought at hill 60). It felt very rushed to me and so I wanted to plan less to allow time for reflection and a detailed look.

I know no signs of battle remain apart from a few pillboxes here and there but to be on the landscape where my great grandfather fought and died and to really get a feel for what it must of been like. I hope this will be the first of many visit but I really want to go prepared I seem to have the majority of things like trench maps and the relevant war diaries as well as a picture of my great granddad plus extra information about the area.

The internet is a wonderful thing. I was a bit disappointed that the town hall in Leamington was closed yesterday so I could not see the plaque where Leamington is twinned with Biaches. I did a walk around there are 2 monuments nearby one of Victoria and the other one I couldn't see as it was all sat on by the young people of Leamington.

Croonaert I am interested how did you find so many trench maps especially the German trench maps are they mostly in books just out of interest ?

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If you want to take small wooden crosses to place at your relatives graves, they are usually easily available from your nearest Royal British Legion branch for a nominal cost.

I'm assuming you already have the War Diary for the 1st/6th Warwicks for February/March 1917?

The battalion was in France from early 1915 but Henry's Medal Index Card shows entitlement to the British War and Victory medals, therefore he was not in France before 1916, otherwise he would have qualified for the 1915 Star. That might indicate he was a conscript, called up in 1916

There is usually a Visitors book if not the cemetery Register should you wish to leave the details as far as you know them of Henry.

There is a photo on Ancestry of a very young Henry Nichols 1897-1917. Is that yours?

Unfortunately, the family did not return his Final Verification Form, so I haven't been able to trace anything else.

Good luck with your visit!

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Croonaert I am interested how did you find so many trench maps especially the German trench maps are they mostly in books just out of interest ?

Not a single one is from a book or from any online source, Micah ... they are the result of over 30 years of researching and spending far too much money on trench maps that could have been far better spent on things like beer!

Dave

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Hello Kevin,

Would be fantastic to see the photo from Ancestory this possibly could be my Henry Nichols.

I have the 1/6th War Diary I managed to get the whole lot from National Archives but then I have a typed out copy of the War Diary from many years ago when I visited the regimental museum in Warwickshire.

I was guessing he joined up in 1916 maybe one day I will find out when he joined. Its all facinating I follow in the footsetps of Henry playing in the same brass band as him (Actually I think I am the last one to have played with that group when I decidedd to go elsewhere).

What is a final verification form ?

Dave, I think having all these trench maps is unique, There is only so much beer that you can drink yet never enough infomation that you can gain ;)

Micah

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Once again thank you for all the research. It seems I have a lot in common with my Great Granddad.

Its a shame that so much infomation has been lost though bombing or just time in general. But many thanks.

I will also be visitng Arthur Cresswell who was also killed with Henry Nichols. Although all steam ahead planning my visit to Biaches in August. Any other comments would be very much appreciated :)

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