Thiepval Memorial | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Thiepval Memorial

Authuille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020

About Thiepval Memorial

The Thiepval Memorial is a Commonwealth memorial dedicated to over 72,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom and South Africa who died in the Somme region during World War One and have no known grave.

Over 90% of those listed died in the devastating Battle of the Somme, in 1916.

Thiepval Memorial history

The village of Thiepval, which had consisted of a few houses, a chateau and some outlying farms when the Germans first arrived there at the end of September 1914, was finally captured by the British at the end of September 1916 – exactly two years later. Originally one of the objectives of the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July, Thiepval was successfully defended by the Germans for three months.

The Thiepval memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was built in red brick and limestone between 1928 and 1932. The memorial is located on a high ridge of ground and the top of the memorial can be clearly seen from various points of high ground in the centre and northern sectors of the 1916 Somme battlefields.

Thiepval Memorial today

Consisting of a massive 45m-high arch resting on sixteen separate pillars, the Thiepval Memorial bears the names of all these missing soldiers.

Also, at the Thiepval Memorial is a small cemetery containing the graves of both Commonwealth and French soldiers, signifying the fact that the Somme campaign was a joint operation between the allies.

There is a visitors centre alongside the Thiepval Memorial which contains more information about the history of the campaign and every year a major ceremony of commemoration is held at the Thiepval Memorial.

Getting to Thiepval Memorial

The Thiepval Memorial is just off the D151, close to the main crossroads with the D73 in the village of Thiepval. The D73 runs from Poizieres on the main Bapaume to Albert road (D929) to the D50 close to Beaumont-Hamel. Please note to access this site you should follow Rue de L’Ancre from Thiepval village.

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