Having traversed the Redan Ridge (last post), we make a brief stop in the village of Beaumont-Hamel. Everywhere on the Somme you find the ubiquitous green CWGC signposts that point the way to the hundreds of British military cemeteries that litter the landscape.
Beaumont-Hamel war memorial.
Thirteen soldiers and fifteen civilians from the village who died in the Great War are remembered here.
Beaumont-Hamel was just behind the German front line on 1st July 1916, and would remain so until the Battle of the Ancre in November that year.
To the west of the village is the site of the famous mine explosion that Geoffrey Malins filmed on the morning of 1st July, and to the south the preserved trench systems of Newfoundland Memorial Park – we shall visit both later – but first, a very short diversion east…
…where we find the site of New Munich Trench British Cemetery. Nearly all the burials in this cemetery are men killed at the end of the Battle of the Somme, in mid-November 1916, as Beaumont-Hamel was finally taken by the British…
…as are most of the men buried in Frankfurt Trench British Cemetery, in the background, named after a German trench to the north east of Beaumont-Hamel. Both of these cemeteries were made during battlefield clearance in the spring of 1917. Not so far past the trees on the horizon we would find ourselves back on the Serre battlefields.
View from half a mile south east of Beaumont-Hamel looking south west. German communication trenches once crossed these fields, one running parallel to the ridge, along the small escarpment that crosses the photo half way up before turning to join the German front line just over the crest of the ridge. All becomes evident on the trench map below. Follow the southern road out of Beaumont Hamel; your photographer is marked with an orange dot. The little escarpment is detailed on the original map just south west of my position. Click to enlarge, of course.
Anyway, as I said, a short diversion. Back to the village. We shall take a look around Beaumont-Hamel British Cemetery in the next post.
Visible in the previous photo, this memorial commemorates the men of the 51st (Highland) Division who suffered 2000 casualties in finally taking the village on 13th November 1916.
Plaque on the flagpole from the 51st Division to the inhabitants of Beaumont-Hamel. Next post we shall visit the site of one of the most famous actions that took place on the first day of the battle.