WW1 Revisited

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Dernancourt is a village 3 kilometres south of Albert. The Communal Cemetery is a little west of the village, and the Extension is on the north-west side of the Communal Cemetery. Field ambulances used Dernancourt Communal Cemetery for Commonwealth burials from September 1915 to August 1916, and again during the German advance of March 1918. It contains 127 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. The XV Corps Main Dressing Station was… Read More

Details Pozières is a village some 6 kilometres north-east of Albert, and the Cemetery, which is enclosed by the Pozières Memorial, is a little south-west of the village on the north side of the main road, D929, from Albert to Pozières. The village of Pozières was attacked on 23 July 1916 by the 1st Australian and 48th (South Midland) Divisions and was taken on the following day. It was lost on 24-25… Read More

Details Ovillers is a village about 5 kilometres north-east of the town of Albert off the D929 road to Bapaume. The Military Cemetery is approximately 500 metres west of the village on the D20 road to Aveluy. The Cemetery is signposted in the village. On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 8th Division attacked Ovillers and the 34th Division La Boisselle. The villages were not… Read More

I recently spent a week on the Somme Battlefields when it snowed heavily, and the landscape was transformed. Courcelette is a small village on the Somme, captured by the Canadian Corps during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on 15th September 1916. More than 8,500 Canadians died at Courcelette, and Courcelette British Cemetery is one of three in village. While there in January 2019, I was able to walk up to Courcelette British Cemetery… Read More

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