The Cross of Sacrifice in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in front of the Thiepval Memorial

Our Road of Remembrance, Ors & Thiepval, Northern France

In En-Route, Europe, France, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Wilfred Owen to the Thiepval Memorial.

Our mini road trip continued, and we left Ypres in Belgium to head south into France, on our way to Amiens.

A copy of the book, 'The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen', featuring an image of the soldier, placed on a side table.

The Collection of Poems by Wilfred Owen.

With this region of Belgium and France being cloaked in so much history, we’d planned a few stops along the way.

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Wilfred Owen

One place Gary really wanted to visit was Ors. During Gary’s High School days, he studied the works of the poet Wilfred Owen, and it was in Ors in northern France that Wilfred Owen lost his life in World War I.
The long straight still Sambre–Oise Canal in Ors, France
The Sambre–Oise Canal, Ors, France

The renowned war poet Lieutenant Wilfred Owen, who had received the Military Cross, was part of the Manchester Regiment.

He fought alongside his fellow comrades at Sambre–Oise Canal, which saw one of the last Allied victories of World War I, prior to the Armistice with Germany.

So bitterly close

Unfortunately, Wilfred lost his life on 4th November 1918 aged 25, one week before the war came to an end at 11am on 11 November 1918.
The lock, and a road bridge over it, on the Sambre–Oise Canal in Ors, France
Locks on the Sambre–Oise Canal, Ors, France
Wilfred Owen is buried alongside his fellow soldiers in the Communal Cemetery in Ors. Our timing could have been better when visiting here, as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was doing a fabulous job of attending to the headstones.
The headstone, to W.E.S Owen MC in the Commonwealth War Graves section of Communal Cemetery in Ors, France
Willfred Owen's Headstone, Ors, France
Craftsmen working on the headstones in the Commonwealth War Graves section of Communal Cemetery in Ors, France
Maintaining the graves, Ors, France
However, Gary managed to take a quick photo before it was given a further clean.

Last Letter

Wilfred Owen spent his last nights in the cellars of this forest house, and from here he wrote his last letter to his mother.
The words to Wilfred Owen's last letter etched onto a curved wall leading to the Forester's House in Pommereuil, France

The Last Letter

 The Forester’s House is now a museum to Owen, and his poetry is projected on the walls inside.
The Forester's House, painted in a drab grey, in Pommereuil, France
The Foresters House at Pommereuil, Ors, France
Wilfred’s mother was informed by telegram of his death on Armistice Day, as the church bells were ringing in Shrewsbury as a celebration of the end of the war.

Tempted to?

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Thiepval Memorial

We left Ors with heavy hearts; however, nothing quite prepared us for the Thiepval Memorial.
The 43-metre high Thiepval Memorial, built of red brick and cream-coloured stone, with both the French & British flags fluttering in the breeze.
The Thiepval Memorial
As we turned the corner, the memorial that faces you is incredible. Sitting high above the River Somme, it looks down to where some of the bloodiest battles of the First World War took place.
The 43-metre high Thiepval Memorial, built of red brick and cream-coloured stone, with both the French & British flags fluttering in the breeze.
The Towering Thiepval Memorial
The memorial commemorates over 72,000 men of British and South African forces, who died during the Somme battles prior to 20th March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those remembered on this monument died between July and November 1916, just five months.
The Stone of Remembrance underneath the central arch of the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, France
So many names
A stone wreath, commemorating the Battle of the Some in 1916, built into one of the sides of the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, France
Wreath of the Somme 1916, Thiepval

Did you know?

That the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), maintains cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations, in more than 150 countries and territories.

In such a short time

The majority of the almost never-ending list of names died during the Somme offensive of 1916.

It’s so difficult at times to comprehend the extent of the number of men who fell during this horrific time. Then when you see them listed one after another, it’s so heart wrenching.

The Stone of Remembrance, engraved with the words 'There Name Liveth Forever More', at the centre of the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, France
Their Name Liveth for Evermore, Thiepval
The Thiepval Memorial can be seen for miles around and stands over 45 metres in height. It is the largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world.
The Cross of Sacrifice in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in front of the Thiepval Memorial
The Cross of Sacrifice in front of the Thiepval Memorial
Construction began in 1928 and was unveiled by Prince Edward, Prince of Wales on 1st August 1932.

Anglo-French Cemetery

Just beyond the memorial is the Thiepval Anglo-French Cemetery. The cemetery contains the graves of 300 Commonwealth servicemen and 300 French servicemen.

The joint Anglo-French cemetery, with the Cross of Sacrifice in the centre, at the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, France

The Anglo-French Cemetery, Thiepval, France

All laid out in military precision, most of the headstones were honouring the grave of an unknown soldier.

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Inspired to visit Ors & Thiepval?

By basing yourselves at Amiens, not only do you get the chance to visit the poignant memorials but, you can also discover this historic cathedral city.
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