Before we leave Nieppe we shall naturally pay our respects at the village war memorial.
Which contains a surprising number of names, it seemed to me at first,…
…for what was only a small community pre-World War One. But the commune of Nieppe stretches, for example, as far east as Armentières and as far south as Erquinghem-Lys, and I imagine that the men named on the memorial came from all across the commune.
‘We will not let their memory fade.’
The large panels are (nearly) all First World War names, and the smaller panels at the bottom are Second World War casualties, men all killed during the early months of the war, and including a Brigadier (he’s not a Brigadier Chef, but, literally, a Chief Brigadier).
Civilian Second World War victims on the panel nearest the camera at the bottom…
…and nearest the camera in this shot, ‘Otages’, literally, ‘Hostages’.
Beneath the names from 1918 on the left panel you will note ten casualties from the Franco-Prussian War, and on the main panel to the right, the names of twenty one women killed during the Great War, and one wonders whether any lost their lives working at the baths at Pont-de-Nieppe. The initials F.F.I. on the bottom panels refer to De Gaulle’s French Forces of the Interior in the later stages of World War II – the resistance to you and me – and Algerie & Indochine – well, you can guess those, unless you’re French, or speak French, in which case you don’t have to.
With which we shall leave Nieppe, its (locked) church and its war memorial, and continue our travels a short distance north west towards the small community of Pont-d’Achelles, a little further up the road to Bailleul.
And, at last, here’s a map showing where we have been, and where we are going, on this tour. Armentières, or at least a few houses in the north western suburbs, is just visible in the bottom right corner, and you can also see Erquinghem-Lys marked nearby. The British & German cemeteries at Pont-de-Nieppe Communal Cemetery, just across the River Lys, are marked in green and orange, to the middle right of the map, respectively. Following the road north west, the British plot at Nieppe Communal Cemetery is marked in pink, with Nieppe war memorial nearby in red, and Pont-d’Achelles Military Cemetery, our next stop, is further up the road marked in light blue. As you can see, we shall then head west to visit a number of cemeteries and memorials in the Steenwerck area.