Local Battlefield Sites
Within three miles of Chavasse Farm are many interesting memorials and cemeteries dedicated to the remembrance of the Great War. Please see below in alphabetical order.
When walking on the Battlefields, beware of all munitions as they can still be dangerous, even after ninety years!
Bernafay Wood British Cemetery
The cemetery register records that Bernafay Wood was taken on 3rd and 4th July 1916, by the 9th Scottish Division. On the 25th March 1918. in the retreat to the Ancre the same Division was driven from the Wood but recaptured it for a time. On the 27th August 1918 the Wood was finally captured by the 18th Division. The cemetery was begun by a Dressing Station in August 1916 and used as a front-line cemetery until the following April.
Today Bernafay Wood cemetery contains the graves of 945 men. By the end of the war the cemetery contained 284 graves, but it was then increased by the concentration of 80 graves from Bernafay Wood North Cemetery and 558 from the battlefields immediately east of the wood facing Trones Wood. The great majority of the concentrated graves or 417 out of the whole number are unidentified men. Special memorials are erected to 9 soldiers from the United Kingdom and 2 Australia, 12 men known or believed to be buried in the cemetery are also listed on a special memorial, including Pte Peter Hall, 44th Field Amb, RAMC killed in action 16th September 1916 while a strecher bearer, he was from Preston and left a wife and one child.
Bronfay Farm Military Cemetery
The cemetery was begun by French troops in October 1914, but little used by them. It was used by Commonwealth troops from August 1915 to February 1917, particularly during the Battle of the Somme, when the XIV Corps Main Dressing station was at the farm. During the retreat and advance in 1918, further burials were made and after the Armistice, graves of March, August and September 1918, were brought in from the fields between Bronfay Farm and Bray. Bronfay Farm Military Cemetery now contains 537 burials and commemorations of the Great War. Thirteen of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to two casualties believed to be buried among them. One of the known burials is Pte Thomas Gillow Kings Own Royal Lancaster's who died of wounds in the farm dressing station on 23rd July 1916 after his battalion had been in action in front of Guillemont, Thomas was 19 years old and came from Little Harwood, Blackburn.
Boucher and Lepage Memorial
Situated on the northern outskirts of Hardecourt is a small memorial to two French soldiers of 153e Regiment Infantry. Marcel Boucher and his friend Romeo Lepage who died together on that spot on 28th July 1916, by that stage of the Battle Hardecourt had been captured but parts of Maltz Horn Trench remained in German hands and they were both in the area of the then front line. Soldat Marcel Boucher was born in Paris in the Seine Department on 13th May 1896 and his friend Caporal Romeo Lepage was born one month later in Vert-Saint Denis on 20th June 1896. After the war Boucher's remains were exhumed and in November 1921 were returned to his family in Paris, League's body was never recovered and identified, but it is presumed to be amongst the many unknown soldiers from his regiment whose remains lie in Ossuary No.3 in the French National Cemetery, Albert.
As you travel north out of Hardecourt aux Bois the road splits the left goes to Trones Wood and the right goes to Guillemont, at this junction is the memorial to Capitaine Augustin Cochin of 146e R.I., who died during the capture of the village on the 8th July 1916. The memorial takes the form of a calvary made of wrought iron and set in between four trees. The arms of the cross are made to represent weapons of war, shells and machine gun belts, the centerpiece being a soldier being taken aloft to heaven enfolded in the wings of an angel. An inscription translates as: The harder the ordeal, the more necessary it is to be there, Here Capitaine Augustin Cochin fell, killed in the attack of 8th July 1916. Wounded three times, his arm broken, although disabled he returned to the battle for love of his country and his soldiers.
Delville Wood and the South African Memorial
Situated to the east of Longueval is Delville Wood and the South African Memorial, it is best to park at the visitor centre which has a small museum shop and toilets. Delville Wood was sometimes known as 'Devils Wood' and was the scene of some very violent fighting. The majority of the wood was initially taken by the South African Brigade of the 9th Scottish Division, during the 15th to 20th July 1916 the South Africans suffered 2,300 casualties. After the war the South African's purchased the site in 1920, with the original memorial unveiled in 1926, and the memorial museum was opened in 1986, both commemorate the 10,000 South Africans who have died during war. It is possible to walk through the wood along the same rides and tracks that existed before and during the Great War, each are named as per the trench maps such as; Rotten Row and Princes Street. Some trench lines can still be seen running through the woodland and there is a Plaque dedicated to Cpl J Davies VC and Pte A Hill VC both of the 10th Bn Royal Welch Fusiliers.
Delville Wood Cemetery
Opposite Delville Wood is Deville Wood Cemetery, it was constructed after the armistice and became a concentration of many smaller cemeteries and the remains of men brought in from the battlefield clearances. The cemetery now contains the remains of 5,236 men of which 3,590 are unknown soldiers. There is the grave of one VC in the cemetery, Sergeant A Gill 1st KRRC, who was posthumously awarded his VC for his Gallantry in action at Delville Wood on the 27th July 1916.
Falfemont Farm CWGC Isolated Grave
This lonely and rarely visited spot lies between the site of the original Falfemont Farm and its post war replacement which is now situated closer to Combles. Buried here are the bodies of Capt Richard Heumann, CSM B Mills and Sgt A W Torrance, all of the 1/2nd London Battalion. When the three were killed by enemy action on 10th September 1916 their bodies were buried on the spot. The location of the grave can be difficult to find during the summer when the crops are high, there is also no direct path to the site it is isolated so beware not to damage crops if visiting.
Guillemont Road Cemetery
Guillemont Road Cemetery is located two miles north of Hardecourt on the north side of the Guillemont to Montauban Road. The cemetery was begun by fighting units, mainly the Guards Division and Field ambulances after the Battle of Guillemont and was closed in March 1917. It then contained 121 burials. It was greatly increased after the war by the concentration of 2,139 graves most from the july to september fighting of 1916. The cemetery now contains 2,259 of which the majority 1,523 are unknown. The cemetery is the third largest in the British Somme sector. The only cemetery of any size from which British graves were brought to Guillemont Road cemetery was from Hardecourt Village French Military Cemetery, that had five men from the Royal Artillery buried in September 1916 and 14 men buried after the 9th Royal Fusiliers captured Hardecourt on the 28th August 1918. The original burials are just to the left inside the gate way, they include some well known names from the period including Lt Raymond Asquith- the Prime ministers son and Lt Hon Edward Wyndham Tennant. By far the Kings Liverpool Regiment appear to have the most headstones, this shows the sacrifice the City of Liverpool suffered during the fighting for Guillemont in all 12 Battalions of the Kings Regiment took part in the fighting
16th Irish Division's Memorial
The memorial was originally located on the Guillemont to Ginchy Road north east of Guillemont and commemorated the Divisions major involvement in the fighting around the Guillemont Ginchy area, that included the award of two Victoria Cross's. It is fact that the capture of Guillemont, on the 3rd September 1916, was greatly aided by the attachment of a Brigade from the Division to the 20th Light Division. The simple stone recalls the Guillemont and Ginchy Battles but also all Irish men who fell during the Great War. The Memorial is located next to the church in Guillemont.
Hem Farm British Cemetery
Can be found south of the Albert to Peronne road on the western edge of Hem village on the banks of the Somme. Hem Farm Cemetery was started by the British in January 1917 and used until the following March, and then again in September 1918. It was greatly enlarged after the war by as many as seven cemeteries, there are now nearly 600 graves of which one third are unidentified. Two men awarded posthumous VC's are buried within the cemetery. 2Lt George Cates, The Rifle Brigade awarded the VC east of Bouchavesnes for saving the lives of comrades by placing his foot over an exploding bomb and Pte Robert Mactier, 23rd Battalion 23rd A.I.F. awarded VC for single-handedly capturing several machine-gun position's on Mont St Quentin near Peronne.
Liverpool and Manchester Pals Memorial Montauban
Situated in Montauban Village on the main road stands the memorial to the Liverpool and Manchester pals. It is a stone obelisk, one face has inscribed the Kings Liverpool cap badge and listed the Pals Battalions, another face of the memorial has the Manchester's cap badge and lists their Pals Battalions all the Battalions belonged to the 30th Division. The Division successfully captured Montauban on the 1st July 1916, suffering 3,011 casualties, the Division then remained in the area fighting at Trones Wood and Guillemont up until the end of July where many more men from Lancashire became casualties.
20th (Light) Division's Memorial
The memorial is situated on the southern side of the crossroads to Ginchy and Maurepas on the road from Guillemont to Combles. The Division played a major part in the final capture of Guillemont on the 3rd September 1916 and the memorial is located at the Divisions furthest position captured during its attack. There are excellent views from the memorial to the south, you can see the area of the German main second position, Wedge Wood, Angle Wood and back towards Hardecourt. This memorial is the second one to dominate this position the first suffered from weather damage after many years in its exposed position and so was replaced with the new smaller memorial in 1995.
18th (Eastern) Division's Memorial Trones Wood
The memorial is located in a small clearing on the southern edge of Trones Wood on the north side of the D.64 about two miles north of Hardecourt. The memorial takes the form of a large obelisk, on a large bronze panel it reads 'TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN IMPERISHABLE MEMORY OF THE OFFICERS, N.C.Os. & MEN OF THE 18TH DIVISION WHO FELL FIGHTING FOR THE SACRED CAUSE OF LIBERTY, IN THE SOMME BATTLES OF 1916 AND 1918. THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD'. The Division had been in the area since early 1915, had taken part in the 1st July attacks and then been in action until the its successfully capture of Trones Wood on the 14th July. It then fought again on the Somme in september and again helped capture Trones Wood on the 25th August 1918. Certain times of the year it is possible to look behind the memorial into the wood that is still scared with many shell craters.
Maltz Horn Farm Calvary
From Hardecourt take the left fork in the road at the Cochin Memorial towards Trones Wood, half way along Hardecourt knoll is the large Maltz Horn Calvary. It is on the site of the former Malzkorn Duclercq Farm and Trench or on the British maps Maltz Horn. The inscription at its base translates: Here stood Maltzkorn Duclerq Farm, destroyed in the desperate battles which took place on this spot from 1 July to 9 August 1916. When standing at the memorial it is easy to see why it held such tactical importance as it dominates the area for 360 degrees there are excellent views over the local battlefields and towards the River Somme. It was finally captured after weeks of fighting by a joint assault in the early hours of the 30th July by 2nd Bedford's and the French 153e R.I.
Peronne Road Cemetery Maricourt
Peronne Road Cem is located on the north side of the main D938 Peronne to Albert road as you leave Maricourt. It was first started just before the 1st July 1916 offensive by the 30th Division's engineer's for the expected casualties of the forthcoming battle. Then during the summer of 1916 many field ambulances operated in the area of Maricourt until its closure in August 1917. In March 1918 the fighting returned to the Hardecourt, Maricourt area, many of the 12th H.L.I. who fought in the area including their CO Lt Col Anderson who won the VC now rest in the cemetery. In August 1918 the fighting returned to the area, on the 28th the 9th Royal Fusiliers attacked and recaptured Hardecourt, again many of their casualties including Capt Dupres (Dupres House is dedicated to the men of the 9th Royal Fusiliers who attacked that day), are buried in the cemetery. After the war graves were brought in from as many as nine other cemeteries, today the cemetery contains the graves of 1,321 men of which 366 are unidentified.