36th (Ulster) Division Memorial - Thiepval - France

Address: Route de St Pierre Divion, Thiepval (See map)
Telephone: no telephone
Website: not available

Shop: small shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: refreshments
Size of the museum/site: small
Year of visit: 2006

Description: As the lyrics to the loyalist song "Gunrunners" go...

"So the story's told and its understood
Of a charge that morning, Thiepval Wood
When Ulster's flower their lives did give
So that we at home could in freedom live
Well alas I fell on the Somme's great shore
But not alone there were thousands more
From every street, town and dale
A father, son or brother fell
From every street, town or dale
A father, son or brother fell."

Although we don't want to take sides in The Troubles (the civil war in Northern Ireland), the song is spot-on about the situation thousands of young men from Ulster faced during the Somme offensive of the Great War. They joined the Ulster regiment to fight for their English fatherland in World War I and died en-masse during the Battle of the Somme in northern France.

During the 1st of July 1916, at the start of the Somme-offensive, the 36th Ulster division found itself caught between artillery fire of the German and British guns in Thiepval Wood, causing havoc amongst the ranks of the division. Nonetheless they succeeded in capturing a German trench.

The Ulster tower, being the centrepiece of the memorial, is an exact replica of St. Helen's Tower at Clandeboye (near Belfast) that was located in the centre of the training camp of the 36th division. A memorial room is open to all visitors inside the tower.

The poppy, a symbol of remembrance that's still known and used nowadays.

The tower of the 36th Division Memorial.

A look inside the tower, where a memorial room is located.

Plaque honouring all the fallen soldiers from Northern Ireland, in WWI.

Overview of the surrounding landscape, very peaceful nowadays.