Newfoundland Memorial - Beaumont-Hamel - France

Address: Rue de l'église, Beaumont-Hamel (See map)
Telephone: +33 (0)3 22767086

Shop: no shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: refreshments
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2006

Description: At the first of July, 1916, thousands of Newfoundlanders advanced towards the German trenches at Beaumont-Hamel. Hundreds of them fell during the offensive which marked the beginning of the massive Battle of the Somme. The site of that historic advance is open to the public nowadays, incorporating graveyards, former trenches and a monument to all those who served in the Newfoundland Regiment.

An information centre has been set up to provide visitors with background information concerning the battle and the rise and fall of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. It is amazing to learn that the soldiers coming home after the war ended, were given a complimentary box of cigars for their trouble and basically left to fend for themselves: no war pension and no financial support for those with cut-off limbs whatsoever. Grim times...

The memorial, opened on June 7th 1925, covers about 30 hectares of land. Although the original trenches are overgrown with grass these days and sheep took possession of large parts of the former battlefield, it's still worthwhile to visit and pay your respects to those who died during that faithful offensive.

Only shame is that the Canadian government, very much like their southern neighbours, seem to be frightened out of their skulls to be confronted with a legal process by someone who would fall whilst visiting the memorial. If there is the slightest chance of rain they seal half of the grounds off due to "slippery roads". I Mean fuck off! We're in Europe here, not in North-sue-you-just-for-sneezing-America alright?! The soldiers didn't got a day off when it rained did they? It's not Disneyland FFS...

Apart from that small nuisance the overall conclusion is that the memorial is very interesting. Include it in your trip to the former battlefields in northern France if you have the chance.

The majestic caribou, emblem figure of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

Overview of the remnants of the battlefield.

Graveyard in the distance, lying peacefully amidst the former battlefield.

One of the few remaining artifacts of the trenches.

Picture of the actual state of the battlefield during the Great War.

The visitor centre.