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Michael Thomson

Any particularly interesting 'lesser known' places on the Somme?

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Michael Thomson

Hello everyone.

 

I've visited the Somme battlefields a number of times and have seen most of the better-known places such as Delville Wood, Mametz Wood, Thiepval, Newfoundland Memorial Park, Lochnagar Crater, Hawthorn Crater, the Sunken Lane,L'Ilot etc. I absolutely love these places.

 

I was wondering however, is there anywhere of particular interest on the Somme battlefields that is 'hidden' or is not very well known that would be worthwhile visiting?

 

Thanks so much for your help!

 

 

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JasonMc

A few places I like to visit around there are:

 

Minden Post - Some great old footage shot here of the 'Heaven's Gate' through to the doctors and POWs safely behind the protection of the big bank

Authuille Cemetery - Grave of Willie McBride where the famous song was composed

Guillemont - Memorial to the 16th Irish Division - the Ulster Division are righly well commemerated but the 10th & 16th Irish lost many lives with little recognition for various reasons. Thankfully things are improving but memorials to Irish nataionalist divisions in France are rare. Also some Channel Islanders joined these two divisions.

Sheffield Memorial Park

Butte du Warlencourt

Ulster Tower and Woods well worth booking a tour in advance if you are at Thiepval in case you haven't been in the woods

Tank Warfare Memorial on the road across from the Windmill and the Animals of WW1 memorial

 

There's a lot of other spots I visit but these are mostly related to my own research and probably not of interest to anyone else!

 

Edit to include

Of course you have the Somme American Cemetery with over 1800 US graves whose families chose not to repatriate.

 

 

 

Edited by JasonMc

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Sly

Hello,

 

If ever interested in the French sector of the Somme Battlefields, there are many of these "lesser known" sites !

Peronne - Rancourt - Combles - the Somme valley - Frise and belvedere - Chaulnes - Chilly - Maucourt...

 

Sly

Edited by Sly

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Michael Thomson

Thanks guys! I appreciate your suggestions. I am indeed interested in the French sectors though I know less about these than the British/Commonwealth ones. 

 

Does anybody have a contact address for the person/group who runs tours of Thiepval Wood? Would love to go in there as I believe there are some well preserved or restored trench sections. Of course it is private property so never had the chance. 

 

Also, is there any way one can get permission to go into or go on a tour of High Wood? I know it is private property and is fenced and this must be respected but was wondering if certain groups or guides have permission from the landowner? 

Edited by Michael Thomson

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keithmroberts

The wood is owned by The Somme Association    http://www.sommeassociation.com/

 

 

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Ricard 51

Bonjour Michael. High wood is totally privately owned and is used exclusively by the chasse. No public access allowed.

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SiegeGunner

The wood Keith refers to is Thiepval Wood.  The Tanks memorial. Windmill etc that Jason Mc mentions are at Pozières.

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Ricard 51

Michael...... l think Dernancourt is always worth a visit. A small village a few kms south west of Albert. It was in the rear  area in 1916. The view from the 'grandstand' location looking northwards  covers a panorama of the  area of 1/7 16 offensive.You can view the lie of the land from Aveluy wood in the west over to Fricourt on the eastern side. Have your binoculars with you!. It is  apparently a place where general Rawlinson and his entourage were  on that fateful morning. Monsieur Middlebrook in his excellent book on the Somme battlefields covers this location ( and others)in some detail. 

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ServiceRumDiluted

Rossignol wood is a nice spot, read Jungers 'Copse 125' for some background.

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Gareth Davies

Define 'intersting'. And I am not trying to be an annoying pedant (yes, I know, it comes naturally) by asking that, I am curious as to what your interests are. There are so many bits of the Somme (some of which are not in the Somme) that I find very interesting.

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Andy davidson

Hi Michael

 

A place I am particularly fond of is the triangle, sort of, of Guillemont, Trones and Bernafey woods and Hardcourte Aux Bois. A great view of the battlefields, and even better if you have the Guillemont book from pen and sword. You can more or less follow the months of the battle and also walk most of it at the same time. Hardcourte brings in the French section as well worth poss a visit. If you end up halfway between Guillemont cemetery and Hardcourte, on the sunken road there, you feel like the only person for miles. Was once passed by a New Zealand couple in a car, a rare occurrence lol, and asked exactly what was I doing in the middle of know where. I explained and gave them directions to the nearby NZ monument. There are also great views towards Delville woods also. 

 

Cheers

 

Andy

27 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

Define 'intersting'. And I am not trying to be an annoying pedant (yes, I know, it comes naturally) by asking that, I am curious as to what your interests are. There are so many bits of the Somme (some of which are not in the Somme) that I find very interesting.

Gareth

 

I also find that one area of interest just leads me to more and more other connected areas, and more research, purchase of yet more books and another trip in making !!

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Gareth Davies

My top tips are:

 

- If still interested in 1 July, go to the flanks.

- And then move on from 1 July. In fact move on from July (although what happened on Bazentin ridge demonstrates some tactical changes and it's a nice walk). 

- Flers-Courcellete has lots to offer (and I don't mean tanks). Again move on from the opening day. 

- Keep going until November 1916. Go to the Ancre. And the BdW. 

 

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s.hibbitt

Thiepval Wood tour can be booked at The Ulster Tower in the cafe there, strongly suggest you do as soon as possible as it was a 2 day wait and fully booked. 

Minden Post was amazing to visit especially if you see the video on YouTube of then and now.

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Michael Thomson

Thank you to everybody who has made suggestions, they are greatly appreciated and will lead to me doing more research for our upcoming trip! 

 

To answer Gareth Davies' question, I suppose that 'interesting' is a very objective term... Having visited and researched the 'well known' sites like Delville Wood, Mametz Wood, Lochnagar and Hawthorn craters, Sunken Lane etc, I was after suggestions of lesser-known/less famous locations in the area to see, whether these places offer a good background story, something unusual to see or even just a good view. 

 

I suppose there are no bunkers or pillboxes or anything like that in the Somme battlefield area? I recall reading about the remains of a bunker but can't remember details(?).

 

Thank you to everyone who made suggestions.

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Michelle Young

If you want concrete get to Aubers. Loads of it there! Or around Arras and Cambrai. 

 

Michelle 

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Sly
Quote

I suppose there are no bunkers or pillboxes or anything like that in the Somme battlefield area? I recall reading about the remains of a bunker but can't remember details(?).

 

Hi , 

 

Yes there are some in the British sector at Martinpuich, Combles and area.

There are more of them left in the French sector, they can be easily seen in winter when there's not too much vegetation:

 

- German observation tower and underground shelters at Chaulnes, in the parc du chateau

- German pillbox between Chaulnes and Lihons, bois étoilé

- undergound shelters at Ablaincourt

- German observation bunker at Chilly and remains of another one

- French bunker at Maucourt

- German observation post at la Chavatte, this one is impressive !

 

Hope that helps,

Regards,

Sly

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DorsetDan

Michael ,

 

There is a small British concrete observation post in the fields, just north of Hebuterne on the D28 ( towards Fonquevillers ) , looking towards Gommecourt Park and Rossignol Wood . I think it dates from 1918 .   DD

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kwacker

Also a small British concrete shelter on the track between Casualty Corner and Pozieres.

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andrew pugh

Hi Michael

Try and visit Boom Ravine,Mametz Wood. Dead Mans Corner just down the track from Pozieres chalk pit there a British concrete observation post in the left bank just before you get to the cross roads known as Dead Mans Corner. Turn left at the cross roads and there is a wood called Bailiff. Lots of shell craters inside the wood. You may find it of interest. Pigeon Wood is also an interesting place remains of German trenches inside. Its a fairly secluded site.There's a few places to check out or research before you visit.

Regards

Andy   

  

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andrew pugh

Hi Again Michael

I made a mistake it's not called Dead Mans Corner it's Casualty Corner as listed in the previous thread,sorry!

Regards

Andy

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Michael Thomson

Thank you so much Andrew, that is fascinating info and I will dedinitely follow up and try to visit those locations! 

 

Much appreciated! 

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trenchtrotter

Plenty of concrete on the Somme. Not as much as elsewhere but its there to be found.

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cullbaggie

Devonshire cemetery on the Somme and walk over to the Shrine on the edge of the public cemetery and look at the field of fire the Germans had and how exposed the Devons were as they waked across the hillside

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Petroc
21 hours ago, cullbaggie said:

Devonshire cemetery on the Somme and walk over to the Shrine on the edge of the public cemetery and look at the field of fire the Germans had and how exposed the Devons were as they waked across the hillside

And the walk up to Bois Francais, towards the original allied front lines overlooking the Fricourt and Mametz sectors, from which you can drop down to Devonshire Cemetery (bearing in mind that the Devon battalions on 1st July actually began their assault up the hill and behind Mansel Copse, i.e away from the German front-line) is very rewarding; brilliantly presented by Paul Reed in his excellent 'Walking the Somme'

I

 

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