Another Daily Mail card today, and I have little doubt that, once again, just like yesterday’s card, the scene depicts exactly what it says on the tin.
Because the photograph (maybe originally a still from a film?) was taken in July 1916 at a point out of shot to the right of this picture, but looking in the direction of the blue arrow, the embankment the same one you see in the image on the card.
If you’d like to know where we are,…
…well, this is the Somme, and the road leads to Beaumont-Hamel to the left, and Auchonvillers to the right. The trees in the first photo are on the horizon to the right of this panorama, and the ridge, if you follow it all the way to the left of the picture, ends in a clump of trees that now grow within the Hawthorn Ridge, for that is indeed where we are, Mine Crater, blown and filmed by Geoffrey Malins on the first day on the Somme. And where my Great Uncle Dudley won his Military Cross, too.
And here we have the same embankment, a little further to the left of the postcard, the German front line, and the mine crater, blown just minutes before the scene captured here took place, off to the left. British troops can be seen advancing on the skyline; the blobs in the centre of the picture are more men, desperately running downhill for the cover of the embankment as the hillside is swept by German machine guns. I wonder if one of them is Great Uncle Dudley? Note the interested observer in the trench in the foreground.
For much more on the action at Beaumont-Hamel that day, click here.
These Daily Mail Postcards are fantastic. Am sure I have seen this particular image as a “normal” photograph in a history or guide book recently. Will have to try and track it down.
Beaumont Hamel – not wanting to sound too melodramatic but it’s one of those places for me on what was the Western Front (but not the only one) where if you visit is incredibly atmospheric and you can almost feel the ghosts of what happened there all around you…
Not melodramatic at all Jon, I’m with you entirely – I believe in my tour of the area I talk about the ghosts of the Sunken Road, and if I didn’t, I should have done.
Realistic-real image of troops inching there way across the battlefield. Liked the additional info placing the current area with the postcard. Have visited here and yes has a certain feel can’t put into words.
Thank you M. The additional info is purely my interpretation – in other words I have no idea if it is accepted wisdom that Beaumont Hamel is the location………but it IS the location. Take my word.
Great old photos which match exactly with your current day versions.
Took the link to the Beaumont-Hamel post and really enjoyed reading about the Sunken Road. Many times in history books it’s hard to visualise the ground from the description but those photos allow the battlefield to be easily understood.
Is there a post explaining what Great Uncle Dudley got up to for his MC?
This area of Northern France is one of my favourite locations… so much to see. Agree with the ghosts of men suggestion. Go deep into Delville Wood on dusk and let the silence envelop you…
The houses at 13 Stirling St, Buckland, Portsmouth still exist too.
Thanks mate. There hasn’t been a post on Great Uncle Dudley, but we did meet him a little while ago: https://thebignote.com/2020/03/13/the-army-field-service-post-card/ near the end of the post. Glad you read the Beaumont-Hamel stuff. You should check this out too: https://thebignote.com/2016/06/14/travels-on-the-somme-part-seven-the-battlefield-of-beaumont-hamel-newfoundland-memorial-park/
All things Delville Wood here: https://thebignote.com/2016/07/18/longueval-delville-wood-the-south-african-national-memorial-the-last-tree/
Thanks for the links.
No information on Great Uncle Dudley. Definitely need to do a post…
Newfoundland Park an amazing place. Still intact after all these years. I’ve been a few times but the last visit in 2018 they had Canadian students take you around free of charge on a tour. Was really cool…
Delville Wood. Haunting.
Yes. One of the few woods you can enter at will. I’ve tried other remote historic woods but most have signs up saying the wood has traps set and it’s really dangerous to be in there. Scared me…
I went to the American battlefields in the east and you can go wherever you want and there has been few souvenir hunters. The area is almost the same as it was 100 years ago…
There is a picture of him and one of his POW letters in that first post I mentioned……
Yes, true but no detail concerning how Great Uncle Dudley earnt his Military Cross. No citation?
True. I shall do a Dudley post one day – I did know him when I was a kid.
Were you able to see the medal? Where is it now?
My Mum’s older sister had a boyfriend who fought in WW2 in Papua New Guinea. My Aunt was with him when his medals were delivered. He went crazy and threw them away saying, ‘Stick them where they fit’, or words to that affect. My Mum as a young girl recovered the medals and a long time later when I became obsessed with Australian military history she gave them to me. They are still wrapped in the tissue paper in the little cardboard box. They have never been worn and I have never touched them. They kind of spook me out a bit thinking about what he did to deserve the medals, how the experience changed him and how they represented something terribly traumatic to him.
Oh, I have the medal, never fear.