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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Chateau de Wierre-au-Bois


Tom Morgan

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A soldier sent a postcard home, showing the Chateau at Wierre-au-Bois, and wrote on it, "This is the chateau where we billetted."

Wierre-au-Bois is just to the north-east of Samer. (Samer is best found by finding Hardelot Plage, just down the coast from Boulogne, and then looking inland due east. It's a few km inland.)

I think the Chateau will probably still be there, but do any Pals actually know it? I'm thinking of going there for a look at the chateau while passing that way on the A16, but don't want to make the detour if the chateau is inaccessible, shielded from view by trees, etc. etc.

Does anyone know? Grateful for all advice, as always.

Tom

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well - the Chateau does indeed exist. It's more of a fortified "Manoir" than a chateau. It has turrets, ramparts, a dungeon, access by a bridge over the moat, etc. I was very quickly spotted lurking around among the trees just inside the gates and ended up being shown around by the present owner.

Now comes the question -

On a picture-postcard of the chateau, an Australian soldier has written "This is the chateau where we billeted." Considering that there is no shortage of village houses and barns in the area, it seems strange that men should be billeted in the chateau. (Probably the extensive outbuildings rather than the chateau itself.) Maybe the soldier who sent the card - he was a private - had some specialist job which meant he had to be close to the officers.

Wierre-au-Bois is not far from Boulogne, in an area which can't have been threatened by the war, or evacuated. Other soldiers in the area mentioned walking to the next village to attend mass in local churches. So it looks as if life went on pretty much as normal, except for the large numbers of soldiers coming and going in the district.

Anyway - the owner was very interested to find out exactly what use was made of the chateau by the Army, and I said I'd try to find out.

Has anyone come across Wierre-au-Bois mentioned in Battalion Diaries or the like? Or does anyone have any other wartime reference to the place or the chateau?

Tom

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