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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Glory Hole to Disappear?


Paul Reed
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La Boiselle and its 'Glory Hole' seem part and parcel of the 'Somme Heritage' experience to me. I would argue that its loss would be extremely short sighted.

Whether people like it or not, such sites/sights are very much one of the reasons that so many 'heritage/ancestral/military' tourists come to the Battlefields.

I would have thought the local authority would take note of the increased interest in WW1 and adopted a 'protect' strategy to ensure conservation of such highly emotive/famous sites.

Personally, I think this demonstrates how far sighted the Somme Association were when they took the chance of purchasing Thiepval Wood for future generations.

Des

Completely agree with this. It would be a great pity if this very interesting site would disappear. It would be a tragedy if it disappears without full archaeological survey and excavation, which given the extent, could take months.

Sadly enough, if there is allready a sign up as Paul showed, 99% chance that the building works will go ahead. If this project has allready past its planning phase and permissions have been given, as the placement of this plaquette shows, it will be nearly impossible to stop. I think a middle way soluation, having archaeologists come in to look at it first, will be the best outcome we can hope for.

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I also agree with the above statement.....I visit the battlefields of the Somme every year, as do thousands of others....if places like the glory hole disappear under a housing estate factory or whatever, this will have a negative effect on the local economy....no places to visit...then no battlefield tourists spending millions of euros each year......fair enough this will not happen overnight, but in 20 years time how many other places of great historical interest on the Somme will have been build on......can the local authorities in the area not see they are very slowly cutting their own throats.

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I also agree with the above statement.....I visit the battlefields of the Somme every year, as do thousands of others

.....can the local authorities in the area not see they are very slowly cutting their own throats.

Imagine that you are a farmworker here in Britain. You wish to build a house where you will raise your family.They will swell the roll at the local school and you will use the local shops and Post Office, all under threat from lack of use. Although the owner is willing to sell, permission to build is refused because it is on the site of a Civil War battlefield. A local farmer decides that there is no future in agriculture , he will build a factory and staff it with the local people who used to work on farms. No way, the site is a battlefield from the Wars of the Roses. Never mind, the local B&B ticks over nicely with summer visitors so that's all right then.

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I have just checked the rules about a Permis de Construire at http://www.pratique.fr/vieprat/log/construc/daf1801.htm It states quite clearly, as I said, that within two months of the sign going up on the site, the authorities can withdraw their permission if an error is discovered but, in addition, the neighboursor any other third party can lodge a protest within those two months; first with the Mairie and if that does not work, before an administrative tribunal.

Anyone got a wad of cash to buy the whole site?

Jack

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Imagine that you are a farmworker here in Britain. You wish to build a house where you will raise your family.They will swell the roll at the local school and you will use the local shops and Post Office, all under threat from lack of use. Although the owner is willing to sell, permission to build is refused because it is on the site of a Civil War battlefield. A local farmer decides that there is no future in agriculture , he will build a factory and staff it with the local people who used to work on farms. No way, the site is a battlefield from the Wars of the Roses. Never mind, the local B&B ticks over nicely with summer visitors so that's all right then.

I see where Tom's coming from, here. Paul -as a local your views would have infinitely more clout than the rest of us, but I forsee they will still see your objection to the house as that of a battlefield guide. I think any campaign would have to garner the support of many local residents in order to put across your perfectly valid point, without it seeming to be outsiders poking their nose in. Short of personally appealing to the owner, it would be better couched in terms of local objection with international support, than anything else.

I do hope that the building is not put up on this site and we do not lose it, for future generations.

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Imagine that you are a farmworker here in Britain. You wish to build a house where you will raise your family.They will swell the roll at the local school and you will use the local shops and Post Office, all under threat from lack of use. Although the owner is willing to sell, permission to build is refused because it is on the site of a Civil War battlefield. A local farmer decides that there is no future in agriculture , he will build a factory and staff it with the local people who used to work on farms. No way, the site is a battlefield from the Wars of the Roses. Never mind, the local B&B ticks over nicely with summer visitors so that's all right then.

I am not saying don't build houses, factories etc, I rightly agree with you, new enterprise does bring prosperity to any community......but why build on top of places like the glory hole....like Paul said earlier ...the space on the Somme is vast and land is cheap. The Glory hole is one of the view places that is still visible as one of the largest areas of preserved mine craters on the British sector of the Western Front, sure build, but why here.

I might be wrong here, but has part of the French sector at Verdun not got a conservation order slapped on it, and if so why not on places like the Glory Hole. I have visited Verdun several times, parts of it are like a Sioux burial ground, absolutely sacred ground....and rightly so!...never in a million years will houses etc be build there, again rightly so........so why build on sites like the Glory hole......build yes ...but build elsewhere!

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Jack - excellent work, we need to formulate the objections properly. I will liaise with the Parliamentary Group on this.

Chris – an appeal to raise funds to buy the land may be the only solution.

Simon

“The Frenchmen never spoke of La Boisselle without tears in their eyes. Inch by inch they had won forward, but, exhausted with the effort, could not drive the stubborn enemy out of the terrible warren of the village. And now, when they were leaving, they charged us to hold those sacred sepulchres and defend them with our dead bodies. The pact was kept. But at what cost!”

The Fifty-First in France by Captain Robert B. Ross (1918) pp. 120-121

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I know Paul is on site but if I can help out by phoning the mayor then let me know. We need to move quickly to preserve this unique site.

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I see Truthergews (tom's) point of view but I say this ..

The general Somme area does NOT have spectacular scenery. It does not have great hotels etc etc .. what it does have is history of the kind which speaks to modern generations.

Take me to Agincourt and I will say .. there's a field.

Take me to various points along the Somme and I will say ... 'jeez'

I think for the sake of a new housing development this is not good.

And I am absolutely convinced there are other areas within a short distance which would provide housing space equally well.

I am not against 'getting over it' in WW1 terms .. I just think this is a .. landscape wise' site worth keeping?

Des

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Given the practicalities of this site, and the apparent abundance of other more suitable sites for building, one has to wonder why a developer bought this plot. Whoever owned it originally must have known its historical significance; I wonder why they didn't approach people to buy it as a historical site, it must be worth more to them than to a developer ! Obviously it wasn't publically advertised for sale or one of the Pals would have seen it.

Strange.

But, per Chris's comment, a War Bond issue on this Forum would probably garner sufficient support to buy this land if we put our mind to it. Together there is nothing we can't do.

Jim

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Well I for one am Belgian, and I believe that the first world war heritage is as much British and commonwealth heritage as it is ours. That means at least that we should hear their points and concerns and do our best to take them into account.

It is also clear that this very site is much more important and poignant than f.i. a regular piece of front line somewhere on the Somme. I think it is quite clear that preservation would be favourable here, whereas on other sites archaeological work before construction could be enough.

regards,

Bert.

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more houses means more local taxe d'habitation, then Ovillers will be able to build that jewel in every French village's crown, the 'salle des fetes'

Do you know the price of a Salles des fetes ? Taxe local d'habitation is generaly not a very high tax...

How many new houses do you need ?

No, that is not the reason.

The main reason is that poeple would like to live in that area. a town council try to find places where houses could be built.

Regards

Edited by TD60
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Hello again,

The point I do not see clearly in this post is: how much the site will be touched by this building,

and then are there other houses which could be built there.

The house will be built on a place of 1100 square meters. (a square of around 33 * 33 meters, near the sign)

If it is the only house which can be built here, is it really a threat for the place ?

Kind regards

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is it really a threat for the place ?

Kind regards

YES

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Hello Bill,

It would be great if the site could be saved but then positive ACTION should be taken as is done with so many (not enough?) sites like the Lochnagar Crater, Bute d'W, etc. Having a rant at the French as foreigners for planning something on this site just does not fly with me. You couldn't build anywhere on the Somme then, or should we provide a list with sites that we as a forum find important enough not to let them build on? Life goes on I say. If someone wants to save a site they should buy it or make sure someone else buys it.

Regards,

Marco

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Thanks to those who offered support and help; and thanks to Simon Jones in particular for liasing with the All Parties group.

I am disapointed and saddened with some people's attitude, especially at least two of them who seemed to be suggesting that I could in someway benefit financially from the preservation from this site; quite extraordinary!

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Paul

nothing stranger than folk! you have always been straight and honest, some people have nothing better to do than cause grief!

You are our man on The Somme so keep up the good work!

Tony and Danny

Edited by KIRKY
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Lets hope that if this bit of land is preserved from the developers, it's made a bit more accessible to casual walkers than it currently is.

The German defenders of the Schwaben Hohe would be very proud of the barbed wire fencing that surrounds it at the moment..!!

Rob.

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I have recently moved into La Boisselle. I noticed the builders placard over the weekend (presumably at about the same time as Paul Reed did), and I was about to make some enquiries at the Mairie to see what was happening.

Whereas all opinions on this subject are valid, I am somewhat concerned about the generalisations that some people are making. Until someone has spoken to the owner and/or developer, we do not know why this site has been chosen. If this situation is to be resolved satisfactorily, then it is essential to stick to the facts. We will be relying on the goodwill of the developer if we are to save some if not all of the site and some of the comments could be taken as insulting. This is unlikely to put him in a co-operative frame of mind. Obviously, a tactful approach is essential.

If the worst does happen, then I hope that this will be the catalyst for the formal identification and protection of all the remaining significant sites.

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Guest Simon Bull
I am disapointed and saddened with some people's attitude, especially at least two of them who seemed to be suggesting that I could in someway benefit financially from the preservation from this site; quite extraordinary!

Paul

Don't worry - vast majority of Pals know your true motivation and how much you care about these things.

Regards

Simon

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Guest Simon Bull
I was about to make some enquiries at the Mairie

Jon could I ask if you have had the chance to do so yet, and, if so, what the response was?

Edited by Simon Bull
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