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Remembered Today:

Ploughing On The Somme


davedixon
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On the Walking The Somme tour next week and was wondering what if any progress has been made on this years ploughing.

Perhaps you residents would be kind enough to tell me.

I do like a good root round! You never know what will turn up next.

Thanks.

Dave.

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I have been there in the spring and they were still ploughing.

I think it depends on the previous and future crops and of course the weather.

Martin

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Dave,

I will be hopefully walking the Redan Ridge friday & Saturday, I will update you on the state of the 'harvest' on Sunday,

Regards,

Scottie.

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I realise I'm going to look like a real dumb city boy here, :blink: but what time of year exactly would farmers be ploughing so that :

a) things turn up

b)trenches etc are more visible

Chris C

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I realise I'm going to look like a real dumb city boy here,  :blink: but what time of year exactly would farmers be ploughing so that :

a) things turn up

b)trenches etc are more visible

Chris C

Autumn & spring are ploughing times.

BUt in relation to your question about visible trenches, they will be visible from ploughing until they are obscured by young crop growth. I have a number of pictures taken in late April of trench marks on the Somme.

Martin

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Thanks for the reply, Martin. Would there be any differences dependant on the type of soil? EG would the chalk of the Somme region tend to turn up objects after ploughing more than say, Flanders?

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Thanks for the reply, Martin. Would there be any differences dependant on the type of soil? EG would the chalk of the Somme region tend to turn up objects after ploughing more than say, Flanders?

Sorry Chris I can't answer that. I am sure though that one of our experts can.

As to the tranch marks I am assuming that these would only be visible if there was a marked colour difference between the top and sub-soils.

Martin

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Chris,

The chalky soil of the Somme area tends to drain more easily, and is also more alkaline than the softer "muddier" soils in the Ypres area, and therefore objects tend to stay nearer the surace and are better preserved.

Fields that have just been ploughed are not as productive as those that have been left and rained on after ploughing, as the rain "cleans" the objects and makes them far easier to spot.

The intense farming and annual ploughing over most of the Somme battlefields has made most of the trenches disappear, its also easy to be fooled by modern excavations for new water mains etc, as is the case in the fields from Auchonvillers towards Beaumont Hamel and up onto the Redan Ridge, a clear white line appears on the surface where a new main was laid acouple of years ago, which some may think had something to do with the battlefields.

Remember it's illegal to remove any item from the battlefields, and always stay off fields which have just been drilled, (it amazes me how many selfish people ignore this common sense rule), also you'd be well advised not to walk the fields on Sundays from September to February, as there are literally hundreds of armed Frenchmen out for a mornings hunting, who very often (and quite understandably), don't take kindly to people scaring away their Partridges.

Rob.

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Chris,

, its also easy to be fooled by modern excavations for new water mains etc, as is the case in the fields from Auchonvillers towards Beaumont Hamel and up onto the Redan Ridge, a clear white line appears on the surface where a new main was laid acouple of years ago, which some may think had something to do with the battlefields.

Rob.

--and the other thing is that natural erosion from slopes may also fool people.

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And thankfully the French police enforce the ban vigorously

Andy

I don't want this to go off track and I certainly wouldn't be daft enough to start picking up Mill's bombs or anything else, but any visitor to the Militaria Show in Kent over the Bank Holiday weekend, who visited any of the stands run by French or Belgian dealers, would see just how "vigourous" the enforcement is. <_<

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I don't want this to go off track and I certainly wouldn't be daft enough to start picking up Mill's bombs or anything else, but any visitor to the Militaria Show in Kent over the Bank Holiday weekend, who visited any of the stands run by French or Belgian dealers, would see just how "vigourous" the enforcement is. <_<

Doesn't make it right though

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"Doesn't make it right though"

Doesn't make what right? The ban? The marketing or the enforcement?

We all know that picking up weaponry is not on. I hope Pals would be sensible enough not to touch potentially live ammo.

Let's live in the real world. What a dealer in France may "get away" with, "we" - the Brits may not.

I'll pick up a nose cap or a shrapnel ball. I will not touch a trench mortar round or 18 pounder, or indeed any other potentially lethal kit.

This has been discussed in other threads. I was interested in what I might potentially see after ploughing on the Somme and in other places.

I'm not after either killing myself by getting hold of live ammo or marketing via a strange set of double standards that seems to exist.

Chris C

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"Doesn't make it right though"

Doesn't make what right? The ban? The marketing or the enforcement?

We all know that picking up weaponry is not on. I hope Pals would be sensible enough not to touch potentially live ammo.

Let's live in the real world. What a dealer in France may "get away" with, "we" - the Brits may not.

I'll pick up a nose cap or a shrapnel ball. I will not touch a trench mortar round or 18 pounder, or indeed any other potentially lethal kit.

This has been discussed in other threads. I was interested in what I might potentially see after ploughing on the Somme and in other places.

I'm not after either killing myself by getting hold of live ammo or marketing via a strange set of double standards that seems to exist.

Chris C

Hello Chris

Sorry, I should have made myself clearer. As I previously stated I have two great uncles who are lost in the Somme farmland and I would be very upset if a chance of identifying them was lost because some "souvenir hunter" fancied picking up personal items.

As for French/Belgian dealers, I couldn't care less if they blow themselves up.

Andy

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Couldn't agree more , we are violently in agreement. On field walks I have come into contact with scattered human remains - which I guess would worry those with missing relations. I would not dream of interfering or touching. These things are sacrosanct to all of us

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I was interested in what I might potentially see after ploughing on the Somme and in other places

Chris, as I say check out a search for relics this is one of the most discussed subjects on the forum! ;)

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Dave,

just got back from a really enjoyable couple of days on the Somme and as promised here is my ploughing report!!!!!!!!!!!!

However its not that helpful really !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Farmers very busy everywhere, lots of fields ploughed but still more than a few to be harvested first.

Not wanting to get involved in any bickering on the subject of rights and wrongs of 'field walking and picking up relics' but I need to get something off my chest !!!!!!!

I found it very frustrating trying to stay 'legal' on footpaths and tracks that are clearly shown on the map and in guide books and therefore trying to respect the farmers private land and way of life, but in several places the paths had simply been ploughed up and no longer existed, thus leaving a dilema, to carry on walking across a ploughed field or not? (I didn't)

Or am I wrong in assuming that the footpaths, tracks etc are a public right of way as in the Uk and am I actually tressapssing by using them?

Right, feel better for that rant, regards to you all,

Scottie.

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Or am I wrong in assuming that the footpaths, tracks etc are a public right of way as in the Uk and am I actually tressapssing by using them?

Scottie

You are right in assuming that you do have legal right of way when traversing footpaths that have been designated as such and marked properly on a map.

I do not think that I am bickering when I ask people to adhere to French law and not pick over the remains of my Great Uncles or Great Grandfather for either their own self gratification or for monetary gain on ebay. Picking up pieces of personal kit left behind by dead soldiers is not "field walking" or "relic" collecting, its grave robbery and is breaking the law.

Very best regards

A concerned relative

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Max,

Did not mean to offend anyone, sorry if my choice of the word bickering was ill judged, that certainly was not my intention and indeed I was trying to avoid any unpleasantness on such a friendly and helpful Forum, I apologise and you make a very fair point which I respect and accept.

Thanks for your view on the map front, as you see i was a bit miffed.

Not one to malign the law enforcement agencies in France but the only time I actually saw them over the last two days was at the Peage on the A26 outside Calais giving speeding tickets to crazy British registered speeders (correctly in my view) they had snared in their cunning trap, I kid you not there were 10 Brit cars lined up awaiting their fine,

Regards and best wishes to you,

Scottie.

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I'm with Max all the way on this one

"I'm digging, I'm digging the dealer he said

As I met him last week on his way to the Somme

Now he's finished his robbing the graves of the dead

And a little bit more of our history's gone

They died for our future, no thoughts for their fears

Mourned by their families, drowned in red tears

And not for a source of some cheap souvenirs."

(with apologies to S. Sassoon)

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