Country France
Region Somme
Total identified casualties 72395 Find these records
Casualties from First World War

The memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916.

On the high ground overlooking the Somme River in France, where some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place, stands the Thiepval Memorial. Towering over 45 metres in height, it dominates the landscape for miles around. It is the largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world.

Key Features

  • Thiepval Memorial is the largest Commonwealth Memorial to the missing in the world
  • The memorial commemorates British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 who have no known grave
  • It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and comprises a series of intersecting arches which increase in height and proportionate width
  • Construction began in 1928 following lengthy negotiations about the site with foundations dug to a depth of 30 feet
  • Wartime tunnels and unexploded ordnance were discovered during construction
  • It was unveiled on 1 August 1932 by Prince Edward, Prince of Wales. The ceremony was in English and French
  • Each year on 1 July, a ceremony is held at the memorial to mark the first day of the Battle of the Somme

History

The memorial commemorates men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector. The dead of other Commonwealth countries, who died on the Somme and have no known graves, are commemorated on national memorials elsewhere.

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Visit

To access this site you should follow Rue de L'Ancre from Thiepval village. You should not attempt to enter this site by any other route. A visitor centre located a short distance from the memorial contains the Thiepval Museum.

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