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Glory Hole to Disappear?


Paul Reed
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having just come back from the Somme I can tell you that a house is being built next to the glory hole and not on it, there is now no sign on the site of the glory hole to say that it is being built on :):)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Phtograph from Monday 15th May, this is at the end of the Glory Hole 'field' furthest away from the Albert-Bapaume road, closest to the road to Lochnager Crater.

post-5672-1148334870.jpg

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The builder obviously expects most interest in his excavation from Brits!

The rain-smudged bit at the bottom says dangerous place, there are a few men still down there who would agree with that sentiment!

Andy

post-5672-1148335071.jpg

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John, did you notice our Blighty V signed on last year and it has taken him that long to post!

Glad he is now off the mark, would have missed his 'little' input if he hadn't e-mailed me today!

Mandy

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Guest la poilue

Bonjour,

cela fait maintenant quelques temps que je n'étais pas venue, et je vois que les choses ont évolué.

En effet, les personnes qui ont acheté le terrain concerné sont maintenant propriétaires d'un terrain dont ils ne peuvent rien faire, même pas y aller car dangereux, ils ont vendu leur autre maison, qu'ils devront quitter à la fin de cette année, et ils n'ont plus assez d'argent pour acheter un autre terrain. J'espère qu'une bonne âme aura l'extrême gentillesse et correction de leur acheter ce terrain devenu inutile, si ce n'est à l'histoire, pour au moins leur permettre d'habiter quelque part...!!!! <_<

D'autre part, j'ai vu que certains d'entre vous avaient remarqué que des personnes allaient sur le site, et que c'était dangereux...Mais qui n'a pas vu, dans la Somme, les britanniques marcher dans tous les champs possibles et inimaginables afin de retrouver des artéfacts? n'est-ce pas votre spécialité? alors, puisque ce site est rempli d'artéfacts, pourquoi ne pas les chercher???

Les personnes qui ont oeuvré à stopper la construction de cette maison ont le devoir moral d'essayer de faire quelque chose pour ces gens. Allez les voir pour leur expliquer que des personnes bien intentionnées britanniques, qui veulent préserver l'histoire et un site historique ont fait stopper la construction de leur rêve...allez leur dire...je ne suis pas sûre qu'ils le comprennent...et croyez-moi, 90% des français qui vivent dans la région trouve cette situation incroyable, injuste et insupportable :

croyez moi, je n'ai pas de préjugés, mais je suis moi même propriétaire, et j'avoue que je trouve cela honteux. Faites quelque chose pour eux. :rolleyes::rolleyes:

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Bonjour,

cela fait maintenant quelques temps que je n'étais pas venue, et je vois que les choses ont évolué.

En effet, les personnes qui ont acheté le terrain concerné sont maintenant propriétaires d'un terrain dont ils ne peuvent rien faire, même pas y aller car dangereux, ils ont vendu leur autre maison, qu'ils devront quitter à la fin de cette année, et ils n'ont plus assez d'argent pour acheter un autre terrain. J'espère qu'une bonne âme aura l'extrême gentillesse et correction de leur acheter ce terrain devenu inutile, si ce n'est à l'histoire, pour au moins leur permettre d'habiter quelque part...!!!! <_<

D'autre part, j'ai vu que certains d'entre vous avaient remarqué que des personnes allaient sur le site, et que c'était dangereux...Mais qui n'a pas vu, dans la Somme, les britanniques marcher dans tous les champs possibles et inimaginables afin de retrouver des artéfacts? n'est-ce pas votre spécialité? alors, puisque ce site est rempli d'artéfacts, pourquoi ne pas les chercher???

Les personnes qui ont oeuvré à stopper la construction de cette maison ont le devoir moral d'essayer de faire quelque chose pour ces gens. Allez les voir pour leur expliquer que des personnes bien intentionnées britanniques, qui veulent préserver l'histoire et un site historique ont fait stopper la construction de leur rêve...allez leur dire...je ne suis pas sûre qu'ils le comprennent...et croyez-moi, 90% des français qui vivent dans la région trouve cette situation incroyable, injuste et insupportable :

croyez moi, je n'ai pas de préjugés, mais je suis moi même propriétaire, et j'avoue que je trouve cela honteux. Faites quelque chose pour eux. :rolleyes::rolleyes:

How much is that piece of land going for? Would it be? French buyer price or British buyer price?

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tout à fait d'accord avec cela!

you are right the DDE has done a mistake in according the permit and the conseil general has work it out to quit the construction.

i think it is time for them to buy that peace of land and protect it

and then give a chance to this couple to start an other project.

to easy to let people down!!!!

of course something had to be done to save this site

the mayor has also a responsability

i wish the conseil general get on the move and don't wait for that to ends in 10 years time at the tribunal!

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a basic translation of Poilu's message.

Hello, it's been a while since I last came here and I can see that things hvae changed.

The people who bought the plot are now owners of a useless piece of land , they can't even go in there as it is too dangerous, they have sold their other house and will have to leave it at the end of the year and don't have enough money to buy another plot. I hope that some kind soul will have the kindness and ( moral obligation ) to buy their useless piece of land, or atleast allow them to live somewhere.

I also noticed that certain forum users have been to the site ( glory hole ) and that it has been deemed dangerous.....but who hasn't seen on the Somme brits walking over every field imaginable looking for souvenirs ? Isn't this your speciality ? So, as the site is full of souvenirs why not go and look for them ?

The people who lobbied to stop the building work have the moral duty to try and do something to help these people. Go and see them and explain that well intentioned Brits who want to preserve history and an historical site have prevented them from building their dream, go and tell them that, I'm not sure they will understand and believe me, 90% of French inhabitants in this region find this whole situation unbelievable, unfair and difficult to accept

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I agree that the situation is terrible with regard to the people who purchased the plot in good faith. Below is the statement which I submitted for the Western Front Association Bulletin in April for publication in June, some of which repeats what has already appeared on this Forum. I was not present at any of the meetings mentioned and am unable myself to either offer or raise funds.

Simon

Threat to the Glory Hole

Those who have visited La Boisselle this year will have seen construction work at the eastern edge of the Glory Hole. Notices at the western end around the British lines also announced the imminent construction of another house. The intense mine warfare which has left a legacy of deep craters and multi-level tunnel systems below ground has up to now has preserved this area from development.

Hundreds of French soldiers gave their lives attempting to retake the village during 1914-15 and it acquired a sacred reputation far exceeding its military value. The French clung to the village cemetery and an area known as the Ilôt and mining converted no mans’ land into a mass of deep craters. When the British took over in late July 1915, 179th Tunnelling Company RE was posted to the sector. Aided for a couple of months by 185th Tunnelling Company, and using ever larger mine charges and deeper tunnels, they gradually gained ascendancy over the German miners. Driving long attack galleries to outflank the German mine system, they placed two large charges at the Y Sap and Lochnagar, which were blown on 1 July 1916 when the 34th Division attacked. The remains of about two dozen British tunnellers lie in galleries beneath what came to be called the ‘Glory Hole’.

Richard Dunning pointed out in the April Newsletter of the Friends of Lochnagar that he tried to buy the plot in 1980 but was assured by the owners that it would never be built on and was safe for perpetuity. However, in January of this year construction site notices appeared marking a plot for development. The signs were dated 22 November 2005 but had apparently only just been erected. The Conseil Général de la Somme was immediately alerted to the heritage importance of the land and also of the potential hazard. A response came on 17 February from the Préfecture asking for plans of the tunnels and for a representative to attend a meeting the following week. At this meeting it was learned that the time for objections had expired and that planning permission could be overturned only on the grounds of danger. Evidence was provided of tunnels and the possible presence of unexploded mine charges. It also transpired that planning permission appeared to have been issued with a disclaimer in respect of subsidence and that this was potentially illegal.

On 24 January a letter was sent on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary War Graves and Battlefields Heritage Group to the Conseil Général stressing the importance of the site and of drawing up a list of sites for protection. A letter followed on 27 January to the French Ambassador. On 28 February the Préfecture issued an immediate prohibition notice to stop work and on 15 March withdrew the building permit. By this time excavation work on the foundations had already begun and several metres of earth had been removed.

This is not the end of the matter, however. The purchasers of the eastern plot sold their previous house to fund the new development and are appealing against the decision, having been left homeless. If the Préfet’s decision is upheld by the Tribunal, the State will apparently have to pay an indemnity but if the Préfet’s decision is set aside, building can proceed over the whole area. The matter is to be raised at the next meeting of the All Party Group at the end of April.

The speed of building development on the Somme is now so rapid that key areas should be identified now with the French authorities and if necessary purchased for safeguarding. My wish is that a trust can purchase the Glory Hole and thus also help the unfortunate French purchasers of the plot who appear to have done so in good faith. The Conseil Général is not necessarily able to acquire land for the purpose of preservation and the WFA has already played its part elsewhere. I have become involved because of research for a book on mining at La Boisselle. Anyone with suggestions for fund-raising should please contact me.

Simon Jones

23 April 2006

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I do indeed feel sorry for the poor folk involved in this debacle - so reminiscent of the sort of expensive chaos that has beset property buyers in Spain and other parts of Europe. However, I do not feel that the "blame" cannot be only heaped on British Great War enthusiasts who simply pointed out the historical importance of the site. Surely the French planning system (or lack of it) should be in the spotlight. If the process has been flawed, there may surely be grounds for compensation. If the land buyer was economical with the truth about the works/excavations etc then he is hoist with his own petard , so to speak - and will probably have wrecked any case he may have had against officialdom.

It would be interesting to know the price paid for the now "useless" land. I am sure that many of us regard this land as far from useless and some money might be raised by subscription to help the unfortunate owners - though probably less than they paid for the land with status as a building plot. Depending on their circumstances this might be of interest to the owners. Would 100 of us subscribing say 250 euros have any chance of securing this "useless" land?

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I have every sympathy for this family. having had a bad experience with a property on the Somme ourselves it is a minefield. No pun intended. I agree that enquiries could be made about viability of purchase.

Is there anyone seriously looking into it? PM me.

Mick

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I would think there wouldn't be much trouble finding 100 subscribers from this Forum in the 250-300 euro band, for a one hundredth share of this site.

A Pal on the ground is going to have to volunteer to track down the owners and test the water in terms of price though...

Plus a solicitor here or there (or both) to sort out setting up the trust - would the Friends of Lochnagar be able to advise how they've set theirs up ?

It is a big job, clearly, but potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity for 100 Pals...

Count me in.

Jim

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I have been informed on pretty good authority that the land was bought for approximately 36,000 euros but that the sale price would be at least trebled if a British buyer/buyers were interested. Whilst I might well be interested in putting up 300 or 400 euros with 99 other Pals, there is no way I would be party to extortion.

Personally, I think that the owners are peeing into the wind on this one but I suppose it reflects French resentment of perceived British interference (literally) in their own back yard. Personally, this one seems like a watching brief whilst the owners are left to contemplate their building plot that never was and get a dose of realism by way of their bank manager.

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The people who lobbied to stop the building work have the moral duty to try and do something to help these people. Go and see them and explain that well intentioned Brits who want to preserve history and an historical site have prevented them from building their dream, go and tell them that, I'm not sure they will understand and believe me, 90% of French inhabitants in this region find this whole situation unbelievable, unfair and difficult to accept

Is this true, is the land dangerous or not and why would they want to build on it?

Is it a case of, no more dangerous than any other piece of Somme land or is it especially dangerous?

On one side a battlefield site is preserved whilst on the other a family's dreams are shattered, or is it for profit they want to build.....and why not...they should have the chance....

a minefield(as said previously no pun intended)

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I have been informed on pretty good authority that the land was bought for approximately 36,000 euros but that the sale price would be at least trebled if a British buyer/buyers were interested. Whilst I might well be interested in putting up 300 or 400 euros with 99 other Pals, there is no way I would be party to extortion.

Personally, I think that the owners are peeing into the wind on this one but I suppose it reflects French resentment of perceived British interference (literally) in their own back yard. Personally, this one seems like a watching brief whilst the owners are left to contemplate their building plot that never was and get a dose of realism by way of their bank manager.

Having been a 'victim' of the french property market I can't and won't comment on this particular situation...and to do so might open a legal minefield, again no pun intended, but in general I'm not sure that it reflects resentment, I think its more the fact that they assume we can afford it and are willing to pay over the odds, which we do, I certainly can't blame them for that. But I agree, a reasonable price and lets see wht happens.

Mick

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Yes, I suppose price gouging the Brits is just an example of good old fashioned greed. However, call me old fashioned, but I find it very distasteful. At the risk of hyperbole, this is land that is laced with British blood and should be respected as such. Valuing it is invidious. However, a fair price is one thing but a price tantamount to a ransom is entirely another.

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I can only agree with previous posters about the way the price suddenly shoots up when British buyers are interested. If the landowners got wind of the Pals clubbing together to buy the land, no doubt they would convince themselves even more that we could afford it and the price would go up again!

Having said that, if a "group purchase" did go ahead I'd be more than happy to contribute.

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I can only agree with previous posters about the way the price suddenly shoots up when British buyers are interested. If the landowners got wind of the Pals clubbing together to buy the land, no doubt they would convince themselves even more that we could afford it and the price would go up again!

Having said that, if a "group purchase" did go ahead I'd be more than happy to contribute.

Its not always the case of the vendors being greedy, they take the advice of their advisors. Lets see if it comes on the market before we judge them.

Mick

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I don't blame anyone for trying to get the best price possible by way of a sealed bid process or similar but to have a price multiplier built in based solely on the nationality of the buyer is just bizarre. I suppose any sensible buyer should just put in an offer an leave it on the table for a period. The thing about this land is that it now can't be built on and therefore has negligible commercial value as far as I can see.

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I strongly support the idea of a group purchase of the plot, the more subsribers the better. Is there anyone living on the Somme with experience of buying land and willing to stick their head above the parapet and investigate?

Regards

Simon

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Guest la poilue

Hello everyone!

nice to see that you are interested in buying the piece of land...! AS I have understand, some of you have properties in France, and that's a good issue for french people to have more than one language on its country. The real problem is the price of properties...Yes, I think that professionnal of "immobilier" are very interested in saling some french properties to british people, which "niveau de vie" is higher than ours...due to this, french people can't buy anything in the area, because of the increasing prices...but that's another problem...

I don't know what is the actual situation for these people who had bought this "battlefield", but I hope that they will have a better issue that now...!

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La Poilue - we have the same problem in some of the more pleasant rural areas of England where local people cannot buy because of high prices caused by incoming people from especially London. It's a problem of the modern world.

As Mark Twain wrote "Buy land. They've stopped making it." I believe this and have done quite well over the years following this advice.

That said buying a share of the Glory Hole would not be an investment. It would be Remembrance made tangible.

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Madame Poilue

I will be on the Somme from june 30 to july 2, more than happy to meet for some entente cordiale.

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