The Circuit of Remembrance in MP3
Download the audioguide for free or pick up a pre-loaded MP3 player, follow the poppies and set off to explore the 12 stages of the Circuit of Remembrance.
The Circuit of Remembrance...
Visit the Somme Battlefields sites of the First World War around Albert and the Poppy Country :
A landscape that reflects the battle lines of 1914-1918... discover the history of Battle of the Somme through the Circuit of Remembrance...
The Somme suffered severely in the battles of the World War I : the invasion and the "race to the sea" in September 1914, the Battle of the Somme in July-November 1916 and the battles of Picardy from March until September 1918.Today, this dramatic period of history can be explored by following the Circuit of Remembrance.
In La Boisselle, a vast and impressive crater in open farm-land, left by a tremendous explosion in the opening moments of the Battle of the Somme. From tunnels dug secretly for hundreds of metres beneath the fields, the final chamber was packed with explosives and detonated just ahead of the battle’s initial attack.The mine crater of 100m in diameter and 21m in depth is now the only crater accessible to the public. Contact Friends of Lochnagar Crater Association
The "Somme 1916" Museum in Albert
The Somme 1916 Museum occupies what was originally the crypt beneath the basilica, used as aircraft shelters in the World War II. Alcoves show scenes of trench life during the Somme offensive in July 1916. Also they displayed and set up original uniforms and equipment , while show-cases contain quantities of weaponry and other war materials rescued after the war from the surroundings fields and old trenches.
Thiepval has the great Memorial to the Missing. This imposing monument commemorates the 73 367 Bristish and South African men who fell between July 1915 and March 1918. The Memorial of Thiepva,l the Somme Memorial, erected in 1932 by the British government, is dedicated to the 75,085 British and South African soldiers missing in action between July 1915 and March 1918 and who have no known graves. Their names are engraved on the 16 pillars that form the base of the 45-metre high arch. Designed by the architect Sir Edwin Luytens, this memorial to the missing soldiers is the most important British monument in France and remains a veritable pilgrimage site for visitors from across the Channel. The military cemetery is founded upon British commemorative principles: the names are engraved on headstone or memorial; the headstones are uniform and there is no distinction made on account of military or civil rank, or religion. The Cross of Sacrifice set upon an octogonal base bears a bronze sword upon its shaft. The Stone of Remembrance is inscribed with the words from the Book of Ecclesiasticus, “Their Name Liveth for Evermore”. Contact - Visitor Centre - Phone : 00 33 (0) 3 22 74 60 47
The Ulster Tower in Thiepval
The Ulster Tower is the memorial both to the Irish of the Battle of the Somme and to all Ulstermen who died in the Great War, on
the Somme battlefieds. The tower, financed through public subscription and built in 1921, in romantic Gothic style, is an exact replica of a tower near the 36th Division's training ground in
Belfast. It is the memorial both to the Irish of the Battle of the Somme and to all Ulstermen who died in the Great War. A visitor centre is on the site. A tablet placed in the grounds by the
Royal Irish Rangers commemorates the soldiers of the 36th (Irish) Division and nine winners of the Victoria Cross.
At the far end of the site, a small gate leads through to a small memorial commemorating the Orange Order of Northern Ireland. Contact - Phone : 00 33 (0) 3 22 74 81 11
The Newfoundland Memorial in Beaumont-Hamel
The Newfoundland Memorial of Beaumont-Hamel commemorates the participation of the Newfoundland Regiment during the Battle of the Somme. The well-preserved trench system, the only survival of its kind in the Somme, gives a vivid impression of the events of the opening day of battle. Commemorating the disaster that befell the Newfoundland Regiment, the site preserves the Allied front and reserve lines and the German front line accross a grassy slope.
On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916, the First Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment sustained staggering casualities (86 percent of its full strengh).
It has three battlefield cemeteries and monuments to the Highland Division (a fine statue of a Highlander) and the 29th Division. Visitors can walk the duck-board lined trenches and climb up to the viewing-point, the caribou statue (emblem of Newfoundland which during the Great War was not yet part of the Dominion of Canada) on top of a mound with arrows pointing to battle sites all around …and to Newfoundland, 3,000 miles away to the west. At the base of the mound, three bronze tablets carry the names of 820 Newfoundlanders who gave their lives in the First World War and have no known grave. An Interpretative Centre explains the social circumstances of Newfoundland at the beginning of the 20th century and traces the history of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment from its formation in 1914 to the end of the war. Visitor Centre : Phone: 00 33 (0) 3 22 76 70 86
The Battle of Pozières is remembered for the role played by the ANZAC forces : Memorial to the 1st and 2nd Australian Division... It was also the first front to see the use of tanks... Lyning astride the main Albert-Bapaume road, Pozières was a designated target for the first day’s advance in the Battle of the Somme, but did not fall until the end of the month. It was the key obstacle which had to be overcome in order to capture first Mouquet Farm and then Thiepval hill. This encircling plan was largely assigned to Australian troops, the majority of whom had come to the Somme from Gallipoli. The village of Pozières symbolise the first engagement of Australian troops (Memorial to the 1st and 2nd Australian Division). The Australians arrived on 23 July 1916 and captured Pozières then, exhausted by incessant artillery counter-attacks, were relieved by the Canadians at Mouquet Farm on 5 September. Three of their divisions serving in the Pozières sector had lost more than a third of their men, and the village itself was completely annihilated.
South African National Memorial and Museum
The South African Memorial and Museum, Cemetery and Visitor Centre in Longueval, commemorate the intense action of the South African Troops in Delville Wood. Longueval and Delville Wood, for the South African Memorial and Museum, cemetery and Visitor Centre, commemorating the intense action of the South African Troops in Delville Wood, known to the British Army as « Delvil’s Wood ». The memorial : It stands on the edge of the wood in which the South African were committed to the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. The 63-hectares site of the South African infantry division engagement in July 1916, was bought by the South African government in 1920 to build the national memorial. The memorial inaugurated in 1926, stands at the end of an oak-lined avenue grown from acorns from South Africa. The arch of the monument bears a bronze statue representing Castor and Pollux with a single steed between them, symbol of all the nations of South Africa. Contact - Phone: 00 33 (0) 3 22 85 02 17
The Welsh Division Memorial in Mametz
The Memorial of Mametz and its Red Dragon (the emblem of Wales) was dedicated on 1 July 1987. It glares at Mametz wood taken by the 38rd Welsh Division on 12 July 1916. Near the village, Mametz wood was a dangerous site of resistance but was taken by men of the Welsh Division on 12 July after 8 days of fierce combat with very heavy losses.
The red Welsh Dragon has stood since 1987 with strands of barbed wire gripped in its claws as it glares at Mametz wood. It recalls the ferocity of the struggle to seize the wood and the 4000 men who died here.
The German Cemetery in Fricourt
Fricourt German war cemetery is in the village of Fricourt near Albert. Most of the fallen were members of the Imperial German 2nd Army. There are more than 17000 graves. Like Thiepval and Combles, Fricourt was heavily fortified in its cellars and subterranean passages, with concrete bunkers on the surface. It constituted a strong point of the famous "Fricourt salient" and the Germans saw Fricourt as a cornerstone of their defensive system. Their faith proved unfounded, for the village fell to the British on 2 July 1916. Of the 17,000 soldiers, about 1,000 of died in the autumn of 1914 and the ensuing trench warfare; about 10,000 during the Battle of the Somme (July-November 1916); and the final 6,000 in the Spring Offensive and the Allied counter-attack, Hundred Days, that followed it, in 1918.
The cemetery was established by the French military authorities in 1920 and concentrates graves from "some 79 communes in the regions around Bapaume, Albert, Combles, the Ancre valley and Villers-Bretonneux". About 5,000 of the bodies are mostly in shared double graves; the remainder lie in four communal graves.
The National Australian Memorial in Villers Bretonneux
The immense Australian Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux, inaugurated in 1938, (the site each year of the commemoration of Anzac Day) reflect the vital contribution of the Australian troops. Villers-Bretonneux saw action in August 1914 and the incessant movement of British and French troops over the next four years; but the name of this village entered the history of the war on 24 April 1918 when Australian troops finally halted the German offensive of March 1918. Since the construction of the Victoria School in 1927 and the inauguration of the memorial in 1938, public and private links with Australia have grown steadily stronger. The twinning with Robinvale and the exhumation in France and reinterment in Canberra of the Australian Unknown Soldier in November 1993 have sealed this close relationship. The immense Australian Memorial, inaugurated in 1938, (the site each year of the commemoration of Anzac Day), outside the town reflect the vital contribution of the Australian troops and the links which continue to the present day. Built in white stone, it consists of a tall central tower and two corner pavilions linked to the tower by plain walls that bear the name of the missing-soldiers who have no known grave.
Even if you have come under your own steam and have your own transport, you can hire English-speaking guides for the day or half-day once you get there.
Some may be British ex-pats who have chosen to live in the Somme, whilst others will have excellent English and a comprehensive knowledge of the events of 1914-1918 and can tailor your tour to suit your requirements. Guides are available to be booked either through the various Tourist Offices or direct.
2014-2018 : it's the time of history with the time line
in the 67 towns and villages of the Poppy Country, exhibitions, conferences, discussions, memorial walks and concerts will enable us to retrace five years of history in each town anf village of the Poppy Country.
2016: will be the time of remembrance
the year 2016 will be emotional time, a time of remembrance that will inspire many british, Germans and French to track down traces of their ancestors, or of particular residents from local villages. Ceremonies and artistic expression will be at the heart of events in 2016, dedicated to the theme of human contact.