With the exception of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries and a few memorials, the landscape of today would be recognisable to the residents of the August 1914 Somme. The countryside, woods, villages, roads and tracks are all almost exactly where they were 100-years ago. It is difficult to comprehend the fields of today were once the scenes of devastation and death, pot-marked with shell craters, traversed with deep trenches and littered with all the debris of war. Years of agriculture has erased out the past. Only in the woods and are there still traces of the trenches and hollows of craters. It is unfortunate that many interesting positions have been obliterated with the passage of time. The sector around Maricourt, Montauban, Carnoy and Mametz has three memorials dedicated to the men of XIII Corps and many of the GWGC cemeteries are their final resting place.
Location: From Maricourt 700m north on the D197 towards Montauban at the junction with a track on the right. At 07:30am 1st July 1916 the 17th Liverpool Pals jumped out of their trenches and set off for their objective ‘Dublin Trench’ and its western aspect of ‘Dublin Redoubt’. Dublin redoubt was also the objective of the French 3e Battalion, 153e Regiment, who were on the right of the 17th Liverpool Pals. As the Liverpools crossed ‘No-Man’s-Land’ they encountered very little shelling and virtually no machine-gun fire, they found the wire on the German front-line, Faviere Trench, was totally cut. The total destruction of the German wire was a combined result of the French heavy artillery of Group de Menthon and the good observation afforded to the British forward observers of the wire-cutting batteries from Maricourt Ridge.
The commanding officer of the 17th Liverpool Pals, Lt Col B. C. Fairfax, left the assembly trenches with the second wave of the advancing troops and at much the same time, so did the commander of the French 3e Battalion, Commandant Le Petit. In a symbolic spirit of unity, they led their respective troops across No-Mans-Land as the legend tells us ‘arm in arm.’ Crossing Faviere trench and the eastern end of Train Alley, the 17th Kings assaulted forward and, by 8am, had taken Germans Wood on its line of advance. There it captured 30 Germans from the 62 Reserve Infantry Reg and 6 Bavarian Reserve Infantry Reg, who were quickly sent to the rear as the Battalion pushed on to take Casement trench. Pausing, then for the British barrage on Dublin trench to lift, it then took and occupied its objective, Dublin trench, at about 8:30am. At about the same time, the French 153e Reg had taken Dublin Redoubt and the two Battalion commanders met at the eastern edge of Dublin trench and embraced in the spirit of unity, comradeship and victory. The memorial marks the position where the British and French Armies met and the approximate point where Lt Col Fairfax and Commandant Le Petit went over the top. The memorial was conceived by the Somme Remembrance Association and inaugurated on the 7th November 2010. The information panel in French and English explains the history of the site and shows a trench map of the area marking the two fronts.
Location: On the crossroads of D64 and road to Bazentin le Grand, eastern side of Montauban village.
Situated on the Village main road stands the memorial to the Liverpool and Manchester Pals. It is a stone obelisk, one face has inscribed with the Kings Liverpool cap badge the ‘eagle and Child’ and listed are the Pals Battalions, and another face of the memorial has the Manchester's cap badge and lists their Pals Battalions. The Battalions of both regiments belonged to the 30th Division. The Division successfully captured Montauban on the 1st July 1916, suffering 3,011 casualties; the Division then remained in the area fighting at Trones Wood and Guillemont up until the end of July where many more men from Lancashire became casualties. The position of the memorial is close to where the 17th Manchesters established their headquarters after the fall of the village.
The author Graham Maddocks writer of the ‘Liverpool Pals’ was the instigator of a subscription fund which raised the money to make the memorial possible. The memorial stone was designed by Derek Sheard and unveiled by Major General Peter Davies, Colonel of the King’s Regiment on 1st July 1994.
Location: The memorial is located in a small clearing on the southern edge of Trones Wood on the north side of the D64 about two miles north of Hardecourt.
The memorial takes the form of a large obelisk, on a large bronze panel it reads:
'TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN IMPERISHABLE MEMORY OF THE OFFICERS, N.C.Os. & MEN OF THE 18TH DIVISION WHO FELL FIGHTING FOR THE SACRED CAUSE OF LIBERTY, IN THE SOMME BATTLES OF 1916 AND 1918. THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD'.
The Division had been in the area since early 1915, had taken part in the 1st July attacks and then been in action until it’s successfully capture of Trones Wood on the 14th July. It then fought again on the Somme in September and again helped capture Trones Wood on the 25th August 1918. Certain times of the year it is possible to look behind the memorial into the wood that is still scared with many shell craters.
Location: From the crossroads in Montauban take the road to Bazentin-le-Grand. The cemetery is on the left in the bottom of the valley.
Quarry Cemetery was begun (at an advanced dressing station) in July 1916, and used until February 1917. The Germans buried a few of their dead in Plot V in April and May 1918. At the Armistice it consisted of 152 graves in the present Plots V and VI. It was then increased when graves (almost all of July-December 1916) were brought in from the battlefields surrounding Montauban and small burial grounds, including:
Briqueterie Cemetery No.3, Montauban, which was on the east side of the brick-works on the Longueval-Maricourt road. It contained the graves of 23 soldiers (mainly 1/5th KORL) who died in July and August 1916. Caterpillar Wood Cemetery No.2, Montauban, which was at the east end of Caterpillar Wood, north-west from Montauban village. It was begun by the 2nd Suffolks and contained the graves of 50 soldiers who died between July 1916 and January 1917.
Green Dump Cemetery, Longueval, which was 1.2 kilometres west of Longueval village. It contained the graves of 54 soldiers who died between August and October 1916.
Quarry Scottish Cemetery, Montauban, which was between the Quarry and the north end of Bernafay Wood. It contained the graves of 55 soldiers (largely 11th and 12th Royal Scots) who died in July 1916.
Quarry Cemetery now contains 740 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 157 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to seven casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials commemorate 19 soldiers buried in Quarry Scottish Cemetery, Green Dump Cemetery and Caterpillar Wood Cemetery No.2, whose graves could not be found on concentration. The cemetery also contains 16 war graves of other nationalities. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.
The cemetery contains the burials of four Manchester Pals whose remains were concentrated into the cemetery from Montauban during 1919 by 133rd Labour Company. They are L/Cpl. Horace Brown, L/Cpl. John F A James, L/Cpl. Alfred Barrett and Pte. Ernest Tattersall. Horace Brown was killed while rescuing his platoon sergeant during the second German counter-attack on Montauban.
Location: The Cemetery is a little east of Mametz village on the north side of the road (D64) to Montauban.
The cemetery was begun during early July after the capture of the ground close to the cemetery and a German trench Dantzig Alley which the cemetery was named after. and was used by field ambulances and fighting units until the following November. The ground was lost during the great German advance in March 1918 but regained in August, and a few graves were added to the cemetery in August and September 1918. At the Armistice, the cemetery consisted of 183 graves, now in Plot I, but it was then very greatly increased by graves (almost all of 1916) brought in from the battlefields north and east of Mametz and from certain smaller burial grounds, including:-
MONTAUBAN ROAD CEMETERY, CARNOY, which contained the graves of 25 soldiers (almost all of the 18th Division) who died on 1 July 1916.
VERNON STREET CEMETERY, CARNOY, in the valley between Carnoy and Maricourt, at a place called "Squeak Forward Position". 110 soldiers who died in July-October 1916 were buried here by the 21st Infantry Brigade and other units.
Dantzig Alley British Cemetery now contains 2,053 burials and commemorations of the First World War. 518 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 17 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of 71 casualties buried in other cemeteries, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.
Dantzig Alley Cemetery is the largest of the local cemeteries that contains men of XIII Corps who died in the opening phase of the battle of the Somme. Those that are buried there were concentrated from smaller cemeteries and isolated graves during the clearance of the battlefield and during later searches. One of the largest battlefield cemeteries to be concentrated was the already mentioned Vernon Street Cemetery. Vernon Street was the old British support trench, no longer in use and so converted to a deep mass grave by the 21st Brigade in the days following their assault on 1 July. During 1919 an attempt was made to recover all the remains and re-intern them in Dantzig Alley Cemetery, however of the 110 men buried 57 could not be found, possibly due to the deep depth of the original burials in the bottom of the old trench or even in a dugout, those men still rest in the fields close to the northern tip of Talus Bois. Some of those men portraits are below.
Location: The cemetery is located on the south-east of Carnoy village on the road leading to the D938 (Albert-Peronne Road).
The cemetery was begun in August, 1915, by the 2nd King's Own Scottish Borderers and the 2nd King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry of the 5th Division. The cemetery was a battlefield cemetery being only 1000m in rear of the British front-line from when the British arrived in August 1915 until 1st July 1916 when XIII Corps successfully advanced on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. The cemetery is the final resting place of many men of the 18th and 30th Divisions. Across the road from the cemetery, if standing with your back to the cross of sacrifice, up the hill to the left is an embankment which borders the field. The embankment houses dugouts known as ‘Brick Lane’ which included an advance dressing station. After the advance on 1 July the cemetery continued to be used by Field Ambulances throughout the Somme campaign. A small German cemetery originally located near the gates was removed in 1924. There are now 850 WW1 casualties commemorated in the cemetery. Of these, nearly 30 are unidentified and special memorials are erected to 17 soldiers and one airman. Some of the more well-known XIII Corps burials include Capt (Billie) Wilfred P Nevill, 8th East Surrey, Killed 1st July Row E Grave 28. Next to Nevill’s grave are three more headstones engraved with the names of the other East Surrey officers killed 1st July. They are: Capt. Theodore A Flatau, Capt. Charles Pearce, Lt. George Musgrove, Lt Robert E Soames, 2Lt. Percy P Evans and 2Lt. Tudor E Evans.Another officer buried in Row D Grave 10 is Capt Bernard Ayre 8th Norfolk Reg, killed 1st July 1916. He is one of four cousins all killed on the same day, his brother Eric is buried in Ancre Cemetery, Cousin Wilfred is in Knightsbridge Cemetery and cousin Gerald is on the Newfoundland Memorial. A tragic loss for one family on one day.
Location: The cemetery is on the northern side of the D938 (Albert-Peronne Road) to the west of Maricourt village.
The Cemetery, originally known as Maricourt Military Cemetery No.3, was begun by fighting units and Field Ambulances in the Battles of the Somme 1916, and used until August 1917; a few graves were added later in the War, and at the Armistice it consisted of 175 graves which now form almost the whole of Plot I. It was completed after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the battlefields in the immediate neighbourhood and from certain smaller burial grounds, including:-
BRIQUETERIE EAST CEMETERY, MONTAUBAN, on the East side of the brick-works between Maricourt and Montauban, containing the graves of 46 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in the latter half of 1916.
CARNOY COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, in which 36 French soldiers and one from the United Kingdom were buried in March 1918.
CASEMENT TRENCH CEMETERY, MARICOURT, on the West side of the road to the Briqueterie, in which 163 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from South Africa were buried in 1916-1918.
FARGNY MILL FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY, CURLU, on the North bank of the Somme, in which six soldiers from the United Kingdom and two from Australia were buried in 1916-1918.
LA COTE MILITARY CEMETERY, MARICOURT, a little way West of Peronne Road Cemetery, containing the graves of 38 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Australia who fell in 1916-1917.
MARICOURT FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY, on the South side of the village, containing the graves of two soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in December 1916.
TALUS BOISE BRITISH CEMETERY, CARNOY, between Carnoy and Maricourt, at the South end of a long copse. It was used in the latter half of 1916 and (chiefly by the 5th Royal Berks) in August 1918, and it contained the graves of 175 soldiers from the United Kingdom and five from South Africa.
There are now 1348, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, 366 are unidentified and special memorials are erected to 26 soldiers from the United Kingdom known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of three soldiers from the United Kingdom, buried in other cemeteries, whose graves could not be found. The cemetery covers an area of 3,787 square metres and is enclosed on three sides by a low red brick wall. The cemetery is the final resting place of many men of the 30th Division who in the main died of wounds during 1 – 3 July 1916.