Thiepval Memorial to be restored
30 June 2015
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has announced plans for a
major restoration programme for the Thiepval Memorial - the
Memorial to the Missing of the Somme and the largest Commonwealth
war memorial in the world - ahead of the 100th anniversary
commemorations of the Battle of the Somme in July 2016.
Work on the Thiepval Memorial will start in July 2015 and is
planned to finish in early March 2016. It will address a number of
issues with the memorial - particularly drainage and water ingress.
During this period both the site and the cemetery will remain open
to the public.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is providing £1.6
million towards the restoration and enhancement of the memorial as
part of the First World War commemorations.
Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, said: "We must never
forget what happened in the Battle of the Somme.
"The restoration of the Thiepval monument will mean new
generations will be inspired by the incredible stories of courage
and sacrifice, by all those soldiers who gave their lives for
The CWGC's Operations Director for Western Europe, Mr Richard
Nichol explained: "For nearly a century the Thiepval Memorial has
stood as a monument to the sacrifice of those killed on the Somme
in the First World War.
Today, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission begins one of the
most important projects ever undertaken by the organisation as we
work to ensure that this iconic commemorative structure will stand
in their memory for the next 100 years."
Described by Architectural Historian Gavin Stamp as "The
absolute, ultimate pure monument", the Thiepval Memorial was
designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1932.
It 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
The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in
recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small
cemetery sited behind the memorial contains equal numbers of
Commonwealth and French graves in recognition of the close bonds
between Great Britain and France.
The CWGC is holding an open day and showcasing an exhibition at
the Memorial on July 1, with the annual ceremony itself to commence
Full press release
Our leaflet guide to the Somme and the Thiepval