web tracker

1st July 1916 Tour

The 1ST July 1916 tour begins by looking at key features from Beaumont Hamel View including handouts with maps and fact sheets. This includes an explanation and demonstration of a soldier's equipment; including an original Lee Enfield Rifle dated 1916 complete with bayonet, and grenade drills!!

The tour will follow Old Beaumont Road (original trench system) towards the front line trenches, whilst being appraised of the facts of the battles which took place, including details of the arms and units involved such as the Infantry units, Royal Artillery, RFC and tanks used in the area.

Our first stop will be to look at the ground in conjunction with the trench system maps, showing the famous tunnel system used for the Hawthorne Ridge explosion(s) famously filmed by Geoffrey Malins on the morning of 1 July 1916. Walking to the crossroads and front line trench position called Marlborough trench and look at photographs and film footage taken over 90 years ago, standing exactly on the spot where the British soldiers attacked from. From the exact position where the filming of the Hawthorne explosion took place, an explanation of the offensive and details of the units advancing on that fateful morning will be given.

From the trench system at White City, Battalion HQ, which was hurriedly constructed to get the Lancashire Fusiliers to the Sunken Lane via King Street just beyond the front line trench system, remnants of the original dugouts can still be seen. The famous poet Wilfred Owen spent some time in this position where a brief look at some of his work will take place.

Walking across to Hunter Trench known as the Sunken Lane, the advances of the Lancashire Fusiliers on the 1 July 1916 will be discussed and Malins film footage will be assessed. The successful advance by the 51st (Scottish) Division on the 13th November 1916 will also be discussed. It should be noted that through this 5 month period the objective of taking the village of Beaumont was only achieved using the new secret weapon, The Tank!

Next, moving up the sunken lane to Redan Ridge where the fighting in this area was so intense 1000s of soldiers were lost in action, some bodies not being retrieved until months later and many soldiers lost with no known grave. The trench system at this point is the closest on the battle front, less than 50 metres. The Royal Engineers dug many tunnels under the ridge which was often counter or under mined by the Germans.

 Continuing across the ground towards Beaumont the German perspective will be looked at with an appreciate of their defensive positions looking at the topography of the ground back across to the British lines. Crossing the road and walk up to Hawthorne Ridge mine crater, and even into the crater, the tunnellers achievements will be discussed whilst preparing for the massive 40,600lb explosion in July and then the 30,000lb explosion in November. The crater is a mass grave for all the Germans killed in both explosions and we will remember them whilst looking through photographs of German soldiers who held the position back in 1916.

 After visiting the British grave yard at Hawthorne Ridge on the hill and talking about individual troops, the German perspective will be revisited including the views and defences they had and how effective their tactics were in stopping the 1st July advance.

Over the hill takes us to Beaumont church showing some very interesting German pictures of occupation, memorials and cemetery. Whilst walking through the back of 'Y' ravine to Newfoundland Park, the Newfoundland and British advances and attacks will be explored. Moving through the park the trench systems are clearly visible. A brief will be given on tactics used which took so many young lives. Walking through the park, there are three cemeteries that will be visited finishing at the famous Caribou memorial. 

Leaving the park heading across to Anley fort and bunker system, which is ideal for some 'battlefield scratching', hopefully you will find your own relic. Making our way back along the communication lines to the Auchonvillers communal cemetery where 15 British soldiers are buried, 13 Border Regiment troops, discussing how they came to be buried there. And finally, returning back to Beaumont Hamel View.

This is quite a full day. It can be spread over 2 to 3 days and extended to include a wider area, discussing how and where the first Tanks were used and where they were camouflaged in the wood north of Auchonvillers. The location of the artillery positions, teh types of artillery used and specific unit actions can also be looked at. A visit to Serre where the largest British grave yard on the Somme is located is also an option and then across to the pals battalions memorial at Sheffield Park,

Please contact us for further details and a quote.