Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

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Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

Postby kerchi » Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:02 pm

Has anyone been here? Saw this, and a few others, on Youtube. I'd love to visit this place. The area, as some of you might know, is very close to Beaumont Hamel has strong connections to the Border Regiment, particularly the 1st and the 11th Battalions (I haven't researched the other battalions so don't know if they ever fought there or nearby).

1st Battalion: 7.30am, the Btn (less 10%) advanced just South of Beaumont Hamel, their objective being Beaucourt Redoubt. The 2nd S.W.Bs, whose objective was the first two German lines, were wiped out by machine gun fire in our own wire. The 1st Btn The Border Regiment, then went over the top from our support line, and over our first line, the bridges over our front trench having been ranged by the German Machine Gunners the day previously. We met with heavy losses, while crossing these bridges + passing through the lanes out in our wire. The men were absolutely magnificent, and formed up as ordered outside our wire, made a right incline, and advanced into “No Man’s Land” at a slow walk, also as ordered. The advance was continued until only little groups of half a dozen men were left here and there and these, finding that no reinforcements were in sight, took cover in shell holes or wherever they could

11th Battalion: The 62nd Division relieved the 32nd and the Lonsdales moved back to dug-outs near Beaumont Hamel. The 62nd Division continued the fighting in this area while the Lonsdales, until the end of February, sustained their training at Le Quesnel.

Some good info on both of these places found here:

1. Beaumont Hamel

2. Newfoundland Park

In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

Postby kerchi » Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:12 pm

Another Beaumont Hamel vid.

In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

Postby CockneyTone » Mon May 11, 2009 9:26 pm

Chris,interesting stuff/links.

I first visited the place back in 1986, at that time it was still possible to see piles of steel pickets and other battlefield debris just laying in the bottom of shell holes and you could walk wherever you wished.When I visited last year it seemed very sterile to me with large areas out of bounds and the base of the trench lines with concrete paths plus a massive car park. Its a shame its gone that way but I suppose its a victim of its own success and the erosion caused by the increased visitor numbers has made the changes necessary!The newish visitor centre there is a welcome addition and has some very interesting stuff in it. Despite my feeling that 'its not like it used to be' I feel that on your first visit to the Somme you cannot miss it!

Anybody thinking of visiting try it first thing in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the coach loads of children that's often descend!Also if you are in the area don't forget to visit the group of Border men buried in the closest village at Auchonvillers! in the Communal Cemetery.If my memory serves me well there are some Border men buried in one the cemeteries within the park! (Hope I am not mistaken!) Regards and best wishes,
Scottie.
 
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Re: Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

Postby kerchi » Mon May 11, 2009 9:55 pm

Scottie,
I first visited the place back in 1986, at that time it was still possible to see piles of steel pickets and other battlefield debris just laying in the bottom of shell holes and you could walk wherever you wished.
I would have liked to have seen it as you described it; I believe there would have been a certain rawness about the way it looked and I can almost see it in my mind. Sometimes when sites such as these are 'restored' they lose their original identity, even when years of decay have almost wiped away the evidence of what it used to look like. I am of two minds because I like the idea of seeing forgotten trenches as they are now, untouched, but then when they have been carefully restored and are looked after, it gives us a better opportunity to visualise what it was like, although I am sure there wasn't quite so much grass!!!I also would like to visit Auchonvillers Communal Cemetery and those Borders in the park itself. On my very long list of things to do  ::)Chris
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

Postby CockneyTone » Mon May 11, 2009 10:06 pm

Chris,I always feel a bit sorry for the custodians of these sites as they obviously cannot please us all! The great thing is that with the increased visitors numbers and the subject being on the National curiculam it continues to keep the memory of the soldiers and their sacrifice alive for another generation or two!For your info the Park is a very pleasant and incredibly historic route to cycle along from the Lonsdale Cemetery! ;) Also its only a ten minute walk from Auchonvillers (Or Oceanvilla's as the Tommies called it!) Regards,
Scottie.
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Re: Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

Postby kerchi » Mon May 11, 2009 10:23 pm

Scottie,
I always feel a bit sorry for the custodians of these sites as they obviously cannot please us all!
I totally agree. There is always going to be some miser  >:(  unhappy with their experience but the work that is done to keep these places 'alive' and in our memories is important and I certainly wouldn't mind paying over the odds to see something I knew I would get an emotional feeling from and enjoy  ;D  and the money always goes to maintaining them, which in itself is a worthy cause.The more I see the more I am fascinated by it but that can said for a few places that I would to visit. I just know I won't be able to visit them all and will have to plan for future trips.I do like the idea of cycling around these parts providing the roads aren't too busy! It all looks so serene and peaceful in places. Those that fell are in some beautiful spots. Chris 
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

Postby garrytrown » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:26 pm

Hi,I had a wonderful week in May and visited the park twice, it has to be a must for all who visit the area especially the mueseum, the staff are really helpful, one word of caution though they are only interested in portraying the Canadian aspect of the struggle.Garry
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Re: Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

Postby CockneyTone » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:35 pm

Garry,its true your comment about them only seeming to portray the Newfoundlanders effort, sadly little mention is made of the Essex Regiment who went over at 07.30 and suffered terribly. It was down to their casualties clogging up the Front line and support trenches that led to the Newfoundlanders climbing out of the support trenches to attack, meaning many of their men were KIA before they even reached their true front line jumping off point!Back to the subject of visiting, its possibly strictly not allowed but my last visit was at midnight following an after dinner stroll from Auchonvillers and it looked incredible in the dark!Regards and best wishes,
Scottie.
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Re: Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

Postby garrytrown » Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:16 pm

Scottie,That must have been an incredible experience and one I've a mind to do myself next year on my next visit, can I ask that as long as one is respectful is their security on, the reason I ask is that my grandad fought from the park in Fentland Street trench and it would be amazing to be able to stand and imagine what it was like.Garry.
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Re: Newfoundland Park - Beaumont Hamel

Postby CockneyTone » Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:35 pm

Garry,I have actually 'covertly' visited a couple of times at night. I understand that there may be a Warden/Custodian living on site but we did not encounter one or any patrolling security, but as you point out if you are respectful in your demeanour you don't actually draw attention to yourself.Although the park is possibly classed as closed there is not actually a gate to prevent entry, in addition we were actually drawn into the site as the magnificent Caribou Monument was still illuminated! I would point out that we did not stray further than the Memorial!Its worth noting though that Security at other Canadian sites on the Western Front is very strict, I once strayed from the path at Vimy Ridge which led to numerous whistles being blown at me and a rather aggresive Guide rebuking me! So it would not surprise me if there was perhaps a local 'by law' or such like prohibiting nocturnal visits!If you do visit, good luck! and let me know how you get on.regards and best wishes,
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The Border Regiment Forum is a small and friendly community for anyone with an interest in the British regiment throughout its long and colourful history. The forum was set up first and foremost to bring together those with an interest and passion in the Regiment; to ask questions, share stories, provide knowledge and post photos relating to the regiment during the various conflicts and peacetimes it bore witness to.

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