Highlights of the Somme battlefields


Departing from De Panne we drive via the motorway towards Lille and then towards Bapaume. Our first stop is Serre where we visit the Sheffield Memorial Park and the Serre military cemeteries. We also pass by the French military cemetery. Via Auchonvillers we reach the Newfoundland Memorial Park at Beaumont-Hamel. Here the Newfoundland Regiment was annihilated on 1st July 1916. We visit the site of the trenches, look at the impressive memorials and visit the Visitor Centre. Our next visits are at Thiepval. The impressive Thiepval Memorial to the Missing towers high above the rolling hills of the vast agricultural fields around the small village.

The nearby Visitor Centre is a very good introduction to the story of the Battles of the Somme. Also the Ulster Tower is worth a visit, as are the different military cemeteries and the remains of trenches in Thiepval Wood. Picnic at the Thiepval Visitor Centre (soft drinks available).

After lunch we continu to La Boiselle to see the impressive Lochnagar Crater. Onwards to Pozières to see the 1st Australian Division Memorial and the remains of the concrete German defenses, baptized ‘Gibraltar’ by the British. We also pass by the Australian memorial park that was laid out at the Old German Lines and the Canadian memorial park at Courcelette.

We continue to Longueval to visit the South African Memorial and Museum at Delville Wood and drive on to Mametz to commemorate the men of the Devonshire Regiment buried at Devonshire Cemetery. We cross the river Somme to visit the Australian Corps Memorial Park at Le Hamel and the National Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. It was from Adelaide Cemetery in this same village that the Unknown Soldier was excavated for the Canberra National War Memorial.

Return to De Panne for dinner.