FRANCE - THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
The memorial will be closed from 8-12 February for deep cleaning
and renovations. From the 22 February-1 April access to panels may
be restricted or completely closed. Access to the cemetery
remains open at all times.
To prepare for the ceremony, there will be restricted access to
Thiepval Memorial from 19-28 June. The site will be closed from the
29 June-3 July and there will be restricted access from 4-9
- Identified Casualties:
The Thiepval Memorial will be found on the D73, next to the village of Thiepval, off the main Bapaume to Albert road (D929).
Each year a major ceremony is held at the memorial on 1 July
January 2016 - During the week of 8 February 2016 Thiepval Memorial will be closed for safety reasons to carry out necessary repairs. As from the last week of February 2016 until 1 April 2016 the scaffolding will be dismantled and the site will be cleaned up. The Memorial may not be closed every day but please be aware that, if you are planning to visit Thiepval Memorial at this time, there is a risk that for safety reasons the site may be closed. It is therefore advisable to avoid coming during this period.
To prepare for the ceremony, there will be restricted access to Thiepval Memorial from 19 June until the 28 June 2016. The site will be closed from the 29 June to 3 July 2016 and there will be restricted access from 4 July to 9 July 2016.
The Panel numbers (or Pier and Face) quoted at the end of each entry relate to the panels dedicated to the Regiment served with. In some instances where a casualty is recorded as attached to another Regiment, his name may alternatively appear within their Regimental Panel (or Pier and Face). Please refer to the on-site Memorial Register Introduction to determine the alternative panel numbers (or Pier and Face) if you do not find the name within the quoted Panels (or Pier and Face).
Visitors should also note that the location and design of this site makes access for people with limited mobility difficult and people using wheelchairs or mobility scooters may require some help to reach the memorial and the cemetery.
On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter.
In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918.
The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.
The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932 (originally scheduled for 16 May but due to the death of French President Doumer the ceremony was postponed until August).
The dead of other Commonwealth countries, who died on the Somme and have no known graves, are commemorated on national memorials elsewhere.