Sites of the Somme
Historial de la Grande Guerre
The museum is located in the medieval château of Peronne and is dedicated to the
memory of the people who fought in and experienced the Great War. Based around four
large rooms, the ‘Historial’ deals sensitively with the multi-cultural aspect of the war,
demonstrating British, French and German exhibits. The museum also houses a small
cinema, which shows a 20-minute film about Harry Fellows, a survivor of the Battle of the
Somme, who died in 1989. This film may be more beneficial to older students.
This was the location of some of the Western Front’s most savage and intense fighting.
In 1916, the wood was obliterated by shellfire, but has since been replanted. The brunt
of the fighting was borne by the South African Brigade, and the Delville Wood Memorial
now serves as the South African National War Memorial for both World Wars.
This crater is situated east of the village of La Boiselle and is very impressive.
Approximately 90 metres in diameter and 60 metres deep, it was created by a mine
detonated on 1st July 1916.
Musée Somme 1916, Albert
Albert was subject to continuous bombardment in the months before the Battle of the
Somme. Built within the shelters constructed during the Second World War, most of the
museum displays weapons of the era, wartime equipment and lifelike tableaux detailing
This memorial stands out from the surrounding countryside. It is dedicated to the 73,000
Allied troops who lost their lives in the Somme and who have no known grave. Standing
45 metres high on the old German frontline, it was the site of some of the bloodiest
fighting of 1916 and remains a truly poignant reminder of the scale of the suffering
encountered during the battle of the Somme. There is a new Visitors’ Centre, which is
very interesting for school groups.
This Canadian National Historic Site is a memorial to the Newfoundland Regiment and
remains very much as it was in 1916. Opened in 1925 and maintained by Veterans Affairs
Canada, the site commemorates soldiers who died in the most dramatic days of the 1916
Campaign. Two opposing trench systems can be clearly seen. At least an hour is required
to enable the groups to spend time at the interesting Visitors’ Centre, walk the battlefield
and visit the cemeteries.
This spectacular site centres on the Canadian Corp’s superbly planned capture of Vimy
Ridge in April 1917, an event that proved to be a turning point for the Allies in the First
World War. The trenches and subways have been preserved and restored for visitors.
On top of the ridge is the Vimy Memorial and a very interesting exhibition showing the
history surrounding the battle.
The Wellington Quarry, Arras
This is an underground site, filled with memories and emotion. Visit the Wellington
Quarry and share the experience of thousands of soldiers who were stationed below
ground before the terrible 9th April 1917 offensive. A film is shown at the quarry where
visitors will discover the shock that was the 9th April Battle of Arras. The audio-guided
and accompanied tours of the Wellington Quarry take seventy-five minutes.
Top to bottom:
Brooding Soldier; Ulster
Tower; Albert Church
The Somme in 1916 was very much an agricultural area,
dominated by rolling fields, not dissimilar to those of
Salisbury Plain. Many of these sites are exposed, and
harsh winds are not unusual. The reality of these sites
should provide students with a clearer understanding
of the difficulties encountered by the soldiers at war.