WW1 Revisited

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The Above The Battlefield project was back on the Somme over Easter photographing and filming various locations including some of the smaller battlefield cemeteries around Beaumont-Hamel. New Munich Trench was a position prepared by British troops at the end of the Battle of the Somme: on 15th November 1916 units of the 51st (Highland) Division captured Munich Trench and 2/2nd Highland Field Company Royal Engineers and 1/8th Royal Scots dug New Munich Trench…. Read More

London Cemetery and Extension was made in the 1920s when the entire cemetery was made permanent; but the original burials by the main gate date back to the capture of High Wood by the 47th (London) Division on 15th September 1916 during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, when tanks were used for the first time. The cemetery was greatly enlarged in the 1920s and 30s from an area much wider than just the… Read More

This time of year, as the days get ever shorter, my mind goes back to the many winters I have spent on the Somme. During the very first temperatures mirrored those of the coldest winter of the Great War, when it dropped to nearly -25 in the front line area. For Western Europe that was cold, and it gave me renewed respect for the men who lived in those muddy, often snow-filled… Read More

Ovillers Military Cemetery was started during the winter of 1916/17 when dead from the front line between Thiepval and Courcelette were buried here, including the son of the then famous Music Hall star Sir Harry Lauder. His son, Captain John Lauder, was killed in the front line during a quiet period in December 1916. His grave is in the staggered collection of burials clearly visible on the right in this film. There… Read More

Ovillers is a village on the Somme battlefields, taken by German troops in September 1914 and which later formed part of their defences in what would become Mash Valley on 1st July 1916; the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. The village was finally cleared more than a week later and during the winter of 1916/17 a cemetery was made here for casualties coming back from the front line between… Read More

The village of Serre was in German hands from September 1914. Sitting on a rise, the trenches on the slopes surrounding it dominated the Allied positions. On 1st July 1916, the First Day of the Battle of the Somme, men from northern Pals battalions of the 31st Division attacked here achieving very little but suffering heavy losses. One epitaph on these men, from John Harris’ Covenant With Death, reads: Two years in… Read More

On this 98th Anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Somme, this image of the Thiepval Memorial was taken with the Phantom Drone being used for the Above The Battlefield project. Good friend and author Mary Freeman, author of Poets & Pals of Picardy, coined the phrase ‘Mighty Thiepval’ which sums up what the memorial is about very well indeed – it can be seen all over the Somme battlefields… Read More

Above The Battlefield is a new WW1 Revisited project which will feature film of the Great War battlefields taken from an aerial drone, in this case a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+. The traces of the Great War are found all over the Western Front but at times it is hard to see them properly. By filming them from above this will add a new dimension our understanding of the battlefields as they are… Read More

The village of Hénencourt was behind the British lines in 1916 during the Battle of the Somme and was a rest area for troops going to and from the trenches. The chateau was used by various Corps commanders and was a massive complex dating back to the eighteenth century. The woods surrounding it contained a large army camp and by March 1918 the village was full of men again as the German… Read More

On the road between Henencourt and Baizieux, south of the village of Warloy-Baillon, is the Moulin de Rolmont. Typical of those in the region it is a stone tower that in 1914 was a fully working and functioning windmill. In 1916 the windmill was well behind the lines in what was a rest area for the British Army, and close to a Royal Flying Corps aerodrome. It was photographed by official photographer John… Read More