THE FIRST WORLS WAR REMEMBRANCE TRAILS

In the foosteps of Wilfred Owen….Discover the  biking and the hiking routes of sites and events of the Great War 1914-1918….

From the North Sea to the Chemin des Dames the Great War has left deep marks on the European Continent and the Northern France .These regions are home to the many sites that bear the scars of two world wars. The places commemorate the sacrifice of those who took part and now, thanks to the regional Remembrance Trails, you can discover them at your leisure along local biking  and hiking routes…..

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

in the footsteps of Wilfred owen 1918 northern france

 

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Wilfred Owen

72-wilfred owen letter mother forester's house northern france

 The forester’s house – Nov. 2014.

This house was dedicated to the famous English poet, Wilfred Owen, who spent his last days here and also wrote his last letter in it. Owen died in Ors on 4 November 1918.

37 wilfred owen forester' s house today

36-wilfred owen forest house in france 1919

 Ors- the Forester’ s house -1919

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The smoky cellar….

On the 31 Oct 1918 Wilfred wrote his last letter home.

My Dearest Mother, I am writing this in a smoky cellar… It’s a great life… Thereis no danger down here…Of this I am certain: you could not be visited by a band of friends half so fine as those who surround me here..  (To Sassoon) Dearest Friend, Some poems to tempt you to a letter. And I’ll give you my mother’s address… I know you would try to see her – if I fail to see her again…

wilfred owen smoky cellar forest house ors france

 The dampness of the smoky cellar of the forest house can still felt.

 The cellar – The cellar remains untouched  and is accessed by a curved ramps alongside which runs the text of Owen’s last letter home to his mother.

wilfred-owen

80- the cellar of the forester's house at ors soldier-poet wilfred Owen

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 November 2014 – In the footsteps of Wilfred Owen – the last way.

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Anthem for doomed Youth

What passing bells for those who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns,
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons,
No mockeries for them from prayers and bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, –
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes,
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of silent minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

33-death of wilfred owen 4th november 1918

  Sambre – Oise Canal before the Great War ( Canal de la Sambre à l’ Oise avant la Grande Guerre )

 

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 Sambre -Oise Canal – November 2014.

wilfred owen death canal northern france

71-Death wilfred owen canal sambre oise northern france 1918

November 2014- Sambre-Oise Canal where Wilfred Owen died.

80-wilfred owen death the last way 4 nov 1918

 The last way – near the Canal.

Futility

Move him into the sun –
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds, –
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved – still warm – too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
– O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?

british soldiers gaz attack

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

commonwealth army 1916

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime …
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

89-british trenches

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, –
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

The_Western_Front 1916

Strange meeting

It seemed that out of the battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall,
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
With a thousand pains that vision’s face
was grained;

90-british trenches
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues
made moan.
“Strange friend,” I said, “here is no cause
to mourn.”
“None,” said the other, “save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something had been left,
Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled.
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress,
None will break ranks, though nations trek
from progress.

war 1914-1918
Courage was mine, and I had mystery,
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery;
To miss the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their
chariot-wheels
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no
wounds were.
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now…”

let us sleep great war

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79-owen' s poetry suprme technical skill and grave lyricism

 

85-wilfred owen death ors northern france

 The Ors village – Northern France.

wilfred owen grave final resting france

Ors Communal Cemetery – The final resting place of the great war poet Wilfred Owen.

Wilfred owen grave

wilfred owen war poetry grave final resting france

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

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The Canada National Vimy Memorial.

Canada’s most impressive tribute to those Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War is the inspiring Canadian National Vimy Memorial, about 10  kilometres north of Arras.

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 The name of 11,285 Canadian soldiers are carved on the walls of the Vimy monument.

13-canada in first world war vimy

This memorial’s white pylons ans sculpted figures is a magnificent work of art designed by Canadian sculptor and architect, W.S. Allward.

111-canadian national vimy memorial

 The Pas-de-Calais coal basin.

ici et là nature walk and bike in france

 «  Modern Canada was born in the trenches of Vimy »

70-vimy trenches canadian memorial 1914 -1918

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69-vimy trenches canadian remembrance 1914-1918

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

 

30-south africa 1914-1918 in france delville wood

 The South African Memorial-Longueval – Somme

In Longueval the South African Memorial and Museum pay tribute to the South African soldiers who experienced thier baptism of fire in Delville Wood. Of the 3,200 men who participated in the attack on 15 July 1916 only 143 returned unscathed five days later.

16-South African memorial france first world war

 

17-south african soldiers great war

 

29-delville wood south african first world war

 ici et la nature walk and bike in franceNancy the springbok mascot of the 4 th South African regiment, pictured at Delville Wood in February 1918, almost two years after the battle.

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

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The Longueval Pipers Memorial

The footballer's memorial great war

The Footballer’s memorial at Longueval.

football world war british league

 

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

 

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 Landscapes of the Battles of the Somme today….

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 «  There’s some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England » – Rupert Brook, in the Soldier.

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 Delville Wood

cabaret rouge british cemetery in france 1914-1918

 

cabaret rouge commonwealth cemetery great war france

 Souchez Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery – Artois – Near Arras.

68-in memory the glory hole la boisselle great war 1914 - 1918

Lochnagar Crater – Ovillers-La-Boisselle – Somme

This impressive mine crater, measuring 91 metres across and which is 21 metres deep, is the result of a series of explosions on 1 July 1916. The craters were created at 7.28 a.m. and the detonation of the mines marked the lanch of the Battle of the Somme by British troops.

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Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

 

soupir chemin des dames

 Soupir – Chemin des Dames – Aisne

soupir chemin des dames F T Walker staffordshire regt 3rd october 1914

soupir aisne chemin des dames poetry walker 3 october 1914

 

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cimitero militare itiliano de soupir world war in france

 Cimitero Militare Italiano de Soupir – Chemin des Dames – Aisne.

italian soldiers patria mia france 1914-1918

 

great war 1914-1918 italy cemetery in france chemin des dames

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

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The National Australian Memorial – Villers-Bretonneux – Somme

This white stone memorial, designed by the architect Sir Edwin Luytens, which is located in a Commonwealth cemetery, liste 11,000 names of the Australian Imperial Force, with no known grave or who were killed in France. This is where the Dawn Service is celebrated on Anzac Day every year on 25 April.

australian-battles-1914-1918-memorial-villers

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

 

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The Newfounland Memorial – Near Albert – Somme

43-battle somme canadian soldiers 1914-1918

 The Newfounland Memorial – Near Albert – Somme

On a mound surrounded by rock and shrubs native to Newfoudland stands a great bronze caribou, the emblem of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

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At the base of the mound, three bronze tablets carry the names of 820 Newfoundlanders who gave their lives in the First Worls War and have no known grave.

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In Beaumont-Hamel, the Newfoundland Memorial gives a moving and realistic impression of the battles waged here thanks to a beautiful preserved network of trenches.

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 On 1 July 1916 at 9 a.m.the troops of the Royal Newfounland Regiment suddendly found themselves under fire from German machine guns. Half an hour later only 68 men were still alive. In view of the number of soldiers involded, this attack is considered to be one of the deadliest battles of the Somme offensive.

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Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

 The Franco-British Memorial – Thiepval – Somme.

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This memorial was built between 1929 and 1932 and was designed by Edwin Lutyens, the greatest and most prolific British architect of his generation.

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 The 45-metre high tower is the largest British war memorial worldwide.

52-their name liveth evermore british soldiers

 

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48-bristish memorial in france battle somme gret war 1914-1918

 It commemorates the 72,205 men of the British and South African armies who died or went missing in the Somme between July 1915 and Mars 1918.

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DSC03766

St-Quentin Canal – Ricqueval.

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

40-The ulster tower irish soldiers 1914-1918

The Ulster Tower – Thiepval – Somme

The Ulster Tower, copy of Helen’s Tower in Clandeboyne, Ireland, wher the Ulster Division trained . The tower was built in 1921 thanks to public founds.

41-ulster tower france battle somme great war 1914-1918

 The Gothic troubadour style tower commemorates the soldiers of the Ulster battalions who fought here, in particular on 1 July 1916.

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

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 New Zealand Memorial -Longueval – Somme.

 Longueval holds a special place in New’s Zealand’s military history during the First World War . It was near this place on Fridays 15 September 1916, that the New Zealand Division joined the Battle of Somme.

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30-new zealand first world war france

 New Zealand in war -from the uttermost of the earth.From the uttermost ends of the earth.

 

 The Kiwis of Le Quesnoy

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The Le Quesnoy New Zealand Memorial

On 4 November 1918, with Le Quesnoy occupied by a garrison of 1,500 German soldiers, New Zealand troops liberated the city by scaling the fortifications built by Vauban. The events are depicted in this bas-relief. You can see soldiers climbing the walls with ladders and a winged woman symbolising freedom pointing the palm of victory in their direction. The New Zealand Memorial pays tribute to the 400 wounded soldiers, 114 of whom died ; 65 of them are buried in the city’s cemetery. This liberation is still one of the highlights of New Zealand’s intervention in this First World War.

59-nw zealand in great war france le quesnoy 1914-1918

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

 

64-chateau thierry american monument first world war 1914-1918

Chateau-Thierry American Monument- Aisne

 65-time will not dim the glory of their deeds 1914-1918Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.

67-American monument bois belleau chateau-thierry aisne 1918

australia-centenary-of-the-first-world-war-1914-1918

60-american memorial 1918 first world war chateau thierry

66-american monument chateau-thierry france

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

 

19-World War 1 the ghosts monument landowski

The Ghosts Monument – Paul Landowski.

In Oulchy-le-château on Chalmont Hill to commemorate the Second Battle of  the  Marne.

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23-les fantomes de landowski oulchy le chateau

22-les fantomes de landowski oulchy le chateau

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

« Reconcilation above the Graves »

Maison Blanche German Military Cemetery of Saint-Laurent Blangy

82-german military cemetery arras first world war

The largest German war cemetery in France, is the final resting place for 44,833 German soldiersof which 8,040 were never identified and buried in a common grave.

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81-german cemetery arras france 1914-1918

80-german military cemetery artois battle

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918

ici et la nature walk and bike in france

Memorial to Polish Volunteers

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99-z volili zemriti za svobodu

Czechoslovak Cemetery and Memorial – Near Arras – Artois

«  For our freedom and yours »

Intent on fighting German and Austro-Hungarian rule in their native countries, Czechoslovak and Polish immigrants living in and around Paris at the outbreak of the war were quick to enrol in the French Army and take part in the Battle of Artois in May 1915. Standing opposite the memorial to the soldiers of the Nazdar Company which marks the entrance to the Czechoslovak Cemetery, the Polish Memeorial bears the motto «  Za wolnosc nasza i wasza » which means ” For our freedom and yours”

 

Northern france remembrance trails 1914-1918ici et la nature walk and bike in france

87-cessez_le-feu 7 novembre 1918 la pierre d' Haudroy

Ending the War….

7/11/1918. 20H20… The German ministers with responsabilty for negotiating an armistice arrived at the French lines near La Capelle. The Pierre d’ Haudroy monument commemorates the cease-fire which preceded the armistice of 11 November 1918.

 86-paris armistice great war 1914-1918Paris-Armistice.

French Alps mountains france hiking and walking

 

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