French Battlefield of WW1

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Cpl_ripper, Feb 8, 2005.

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  1. Righty, taking a break to france in march, And I think its only good and proper that we visit WW1 sites and pay our respects, Looking for places to visit. I'll be based at Montreuil-sur-mer (I believe it was Gen Haigs HQ at some time)

    Cheers

    Andy
     
  2. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Have look at:

    http://www.geocities.com/1stdragoon/ww1/files/s_bcp_wf_part11.html

    All the places listed on the right hand side are worth a visit.

    The Thiepval Memorial is very moving. You can walk the trenches in Newfoundland Park. The town of Albert has a good WW1 museum in its WW2 underground bunkers. It also has quite a few bars that commemorate the soldiers of the Great War - Bar Les Trios Highlanders swims vaugly into my meories focus.

    There are many good guide books - Major and Mrs Holt's are pretty good and are worth the investment.

    Are you taking Mrs Ripper and any little Rippers? If so don't worry the whole place is so moving and overwhelming that they won't be bored. The Frogs are also very onside - lots of Union Flags flying all over the place.
     
  3. Be aware that the Somme has been plagued by thieves recently who target unattended cars at the memorials. It was very bad about a year ago with foreign cars getting broken into on a weekly basis but has seemed to quieten down recently. But even so, take the usual precautions re taking valuables with you and keeping everything out of site.

    The bastards know that when you leave your car that (a) you're going to be gone for about half an hour at least and (b) as you're foreign, your car is going to be full of goodies. Don't expect the local police to do anything. The only reason the French have a police force is so they have someone to sign the insurance form.

    Other than that, it's a trip that everyone should do at least once, the place drips with atmosphere.
     
  4. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator

  5. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I second Gen Melchet - if you can stay with Avril Williams. If you can't stay there visit and have a look around her cellar - she can also point you in the direction of a number of interesting places to go and see.
     
  6. Good Info that, Thaks , yes a total of 16 going, friends and that
     
  7. I can recommend Madame Roussel's gaff in Le Sars wholeheartedly - I've stayed there twice with both of my wives. Like myself, Madame Roussel preferred the second one...Her sonhas a heck of a fine collection of odd bits of ironmongery that have worked or been worked to the surface. My 18 lbdr shell came from his collection. Oh and yes it is certified FFE if their are any ATO spotters out there...
     
  8. Avril Williams is totally bonkers, and authenticity can be judged best if you read between the lines rather than believing every word she says.

    The Highlander is in the road opposite the Basilique (cathedral-type thingy), there is also the Trois Coulombs (pigeons) in the road at the side. this is where the local Pipe Band meet after practise on a Tuesday evening.

    They are dead keen, and do it all as a remembrance duty.


    Don't forget, Azincourt (& Creçy) not far away
     
  9. J_D

    J_D LE

    boluonge ( can't remember the correct spelling) is a pretty village, mind you its one of the beaches stormed in WW2 but still good place to go see. You can still see the bullet holes in the forts walls.
     
  10. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator

    In fact Melchers and some soldiers from a previous unit completed some trench restoration for her back in 1999.

    PM me if you want pictures.
     
  11. Read BIRDSONG by Sebastian Faulks - the prologue has a depiction of a woman visiting the Thiepval Monument for the first time - v moving... I think its very dusty in here.

    I recommend visiting Beaumont Hamel, Hawthorn Crater, White City and the Sunken Lane. The area has inspired writers as different in style as John Masefield and Sebastian Faulks.

    Newfoundland Park is central to the whole Somme campaign and includes Hunter's Cemetary - full of very young infantrymen.

    Not that I'm interested or anything... visited first when I was 7 to visit grave of a member of my family at Heilly Station and been hooked since. I have a copy of the letter of condolence in my office:

    'No man can do more than make the sacrifice of his life, and in your husband's case it was specially true as he was dressing the last batch of wounded in a dangerous spot when he was shot.'
     
  12. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    Off to the Somme/Ypres in April! Hoorray!