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Main Events 2016

Because remembrance is everyday in the Somme

The 1st July is of course an important date of commemoration in the Somme, where thousands of visitors come each year in remembrance of the men who fought during the Battle of the Somme (1st July - 18th November 1916). The area, however, is always a sacred place of remembrance and ceremonies, exhibitions and other commemorative events are held the whole year through.

On Wednesday 5 April 2016, the official programme of commemorations of the Battle of the Somme was presented by Jean-Marc Todeschini, French Veterans Affairs Minister; General Elrick Irantorza, president of the Mission de Centenaire;  Joseph Zimet, director of the Mission du Centenaire; Philippe De Mester, prefet of the Somme; and Laurent Somon president of the Somme Departmental Council. The programme includes:
- The international programme of events in the Somme;
- The Franco-British ceremonies at Thiepval on 1 July 2016 and educational activities organised in the context of this event;
- The main events being held throughout the centenary of the Battle of the Somme (1 July – 18 November 2016);
- And Somme Department actions and events to mark the centenary

Somme 2016 - Calendar of commemorative events

Programme of events for the centenary of the Great War in the Somme - January - June 2016

Programme of events for the centenary of the Great War in the Somme - July - December 2016



musée Albert

@ Ph. Sergeant

THE FATE OF SOLDIERS at the Somme 1916 Trench Museum
When entering the Somme 1916 Trench Museum, visitors descend 62 steps to reach a tunnel 10 metres underground where they can experience how soldiers lived during the First World War, especially with the imitation mobilisation papers of a soldier who fought in the area. Through scenes of the battles of the Somme, visitors are plunged into the atmosphere and difficult living conditions of war, before they discover the fate of the soldier who was featured in their mobilisation papers.

28 April - 28 August - Assevillers Motorway Station


Fields of battle

Fields of Battle - Terres de Paix
From 28 April to 28 August 2016, the Assevillers West motorway station on the A1 motorway, near Péronne, will be displaying the exhibition “Fields of Battle-Terres de Paix / Somme 2016” composed of images by British photographer Michael St Maur Sheil.

1 May > 30 June: ALBERT

Exhibition about the bomb disposal squad's work in the Somme at the Albert Tourism Office
From 9am to 12.30pm and from 1.30pm to 6.30pm

The Lighting of the Basilica

basilique albert
Albert Basilica will cast light over the surrounding former battlefields over ten days. The lights located at the top of the spire, 80 metres high, will light up an area of 20km around  Albert.


29 June > 5 July: Ovillers-La Boisselle

Remembrance Trail at the Glory Hole, Ovillers-La Boisselle.
Please contact Claudie Llewellyn Association des Amis de l’ilot de la Boisselle / La Boisselle town hall

26 > 30 June: ALBERT – YPRES

5th Edition of the Remembrance Walk from Ypres (Belgium) to Albert.
Spend an exceptional four days walking across the battlefields of the Great War.

27 June > 3 July: Mailly-Maillet

Reconstruction and exhibition of a field hospital by the Great War Society, on the village playing field at Mailly-Maillet.
Please contact the town hall: +3322762132

28 June > 18 November: PERONNE

@Ph. Guillaume
Exhibition: Ecrivains dans la Grande Guerre (Writers in the Great War) at the Historial, Museum of the Great War

Even before the beginning of the war and the very first day of battle, writers had taken up their pens to describe their surroundings, their feelings and experiences; to relate, understand, bear witness, exorcise or justify what they were seeing. These writers, enlisted in war and dedicated to writing, shared their experiences with thousands of other soldiers, but better than anyone else, these men could describe them to the world. Through this exhibition, which includes theatrical or artistic performances, the public will be invited to discover the history of these writers, and also put pen to paper themselves to bring themselves a little closer to the authors of the Great War.

30 June: Bus-les-Artois

Unveiling of a memorial to the Bradford Pals
Exhibition about life “behind the lines”
Reconstruction of a cinema, entertainment for soldiers.
Ceremony at the Leeds Pals Memorial to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme
Contact the town hall : +333.


Commemoration of the Battle of the Somme - Opening of Events
1916 people of many nationalities will unite in front of the Albert Railway Station at 9pm, on 30th June 2016. This will be the starting point for a walk that will pass in front of the Basilica, before leading 250 metres through the Museum’s tunnel to re-emerge in Place Emile Leturcq (the square in front of the town hall). Each participant will be wearing an identical t-shirt and will hold a lit-torch as a sign of peace. A Mass Band of 100 pipers will accompany the event. The participants will form a dove of peace surrounded by the pipers and will light 1916 lanterns that will be sent into the sky above Albert paying tribute to the soldiers who gave their lives during the war.
www.musee-somme-1916.org  - www.centenaire-somme.com

30 June - Cultural Centre of Amiens

mca theatre irlande
Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching into War
As part of the commemorations of the centenary of the Great War, the Amiens Cultural Centre is welcoming the Abbey Theatre - National Theatre of Ireland on the 30th June for a performance of Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching towards the Somme directed by Jeremy Herrin


1st July 2016

1er juillet Thiepval

Commemorations to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme
The 1st July marks the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, one of the largest battles of the First World War. On the first day alone, the British Army suffered terrible casualties amounting to 57,000 men killed, wounded or missing (19,000 killed); the French also lost 20,000 men. Never before had Great Britain suffered such a military catastrophe. In remembrance of the men who fought and died during the battle, commemorations will be held on 1st July 2016.

Please note: exceptionally for 2016, visitors are to be advised that all of these services are ticket only events and they will only be able to attend one ceremony on the 1st July.
For more
information about how to access the ceremonies on the 1st July 2016, please click here

1st July: Albert

Remembrance Concert by Barbara Hendricks accompanied by the Orchestre of Picardie, Albert Basilica, 9pm. Free admission.
(Bookings from April - contact the Poppy Country Tourist Office: +33 (0)3 22 75 16 42)
This concert follows a 7pm parade alongside 100 pipers. At midnight, all the lights given out to participants will be lit to light up the night in remmebrance of all the soldiers who fought during the Great War, and also all those who suffered through war.


1 July - Longueval

Pipers Memorial.  A ceremony will be held at 11am on 1 July 2016 in Longueval at the Pipers' Memorial in remembrance of all the pipers who took part in the First World War. This ceremony is organised by the municipality of Longueval and the Somme Battlefield Pipe Band and is open to all.



2 July: Courcelette


memorial courcelette
Service of Remembrance at the Courcelette Canadian Memorial, 2pm
Canadians troops arrived in the Somme at the beginning of September 1916. Their first major action took place during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on the 15th September 1916, where they took their objectives in the ruined village of Courcelette. In eleven weeks of fighting the Canadians lost a total of 24,000 men.


2 July: Albert

Performance by the Young Voices Choir of the Birmingham Symphonic Orchestre at the Albert Basilica

2 & 3 July: Amiens


pipers of peace
United Pipers for Peace
Hundreds of pipers and drummers will gather in Amiens to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme: concert open to the public and parade.


2 July to 17 November: Thiepval Memorial

At 12pm each day, The Royal British Legion in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, will host a short commemorative service at the Thiepval Memorial to remember the sacrifice of individuals and communities over the subsequent 139 days of the battle. A more formal Service of thanksgiving will mark the centenary of the final day of the battle on 18 November 2016. Please click here for more information.

3 July - Corbie

European Pipers United for Peace : concert by 100 pipers. The Val de Somme District and its tourism office have joined with the Poppy Country ditrict to invite 100 pipers and drummers from different countries including Germany, England, Scotland and France to play in the name of peace.
11am, Place de la République, Corbie

4 July - Belloy-en Santerre

On 4th July 2016, the Santerre 2014-2018 association and the Haut Picardy District Council are organising a ceremony in remembrance of the French Foreign Legion which liberated Belloy-en-Santerre on 4th July 1916.. To register, please click here

5 July - Amiens

légion concert
Music of the French Foreign Legion, the Baroque Ochestra of Barcelona, 400 musicians, choristers, artists and actors uniting in music and poetry in commemoration of the exploits of the French Foreign Legion at Belloy-en-Santerre.





Longueval Mémorial et musée sud africains (5)
©Nicolas Bryant
Commemorations: 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Delville Wood
The South Africans fought their first major battles on the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme. On 15 July, the Brigade comprising 121 officers and 3032 men, was met by intense fighting in Delville Wood, Longueval. When they were relieved on 20 July, the South African troops had lost more than 2500 men.


14 - 24 July - Sacrifice, The Lost Songbirds

In commemoration of 12 musicians from six nations (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain, France and Germany) a series of concerts will be held in Australia, the Somme and the North of France.
Please visit www.theflowersofwar.org for more information

15 > 17 July & 22 > 24 July: Pozières

spectacle Pozieres
Son et Lumière "Dans l'Ombre et la Lumière" (In the Shadow and Light).

Through some twenty impressive and realistic scenes, the Pozières Son et Lumière show describes some of the important moments of the Battle of the Somme, particularly the fighting that took place in the vicinity of the village. The show illustrates the life of the village in the torment of the First World War. The Battle of Pozières proved to be one of the most deadly battles of the whole war for the Australians, who lost 23,000 men in six weeks of fighting during the summer of 1916.


bataille de Pozieres
@Ph. Sergeant
Commemorations:100th Anniversary of the Battle of Pozières:
The Australians experienced their first major battle of the Western Front at Pozières. The battle began on 23 July 1916, and after capturing the village and suffering incessant artillery counter-attacks, they were relieved on 5 September by the Canadians at Mouquet Farm. Three of their divisions had participated in the fight for Pozières and losses amounted to over a third of the men involved. As to the village, it had completely disappeared.
The commemorative event is open to Australians who hold and Australian Government-issue Attendance Pass.

5pm: Various events organised by the municipality of Pozières in remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
7000 small wooden crosses will be placed at the Windmill Memorial in remembrance on the 7000 Australians who died here / inauguration of the beginning of new developments / giant barbeque. Please contact the town hall: +333.

3 September - Guillemont

monument à la 16ème division irlandaise - Guillemont
Crédit - Yazid Medmoun - Cd80
Commemorative Ceremony at the memorial to the 16th Irish Division  which liberated Guillemont on 3 September 1916 and Ginchy on 9 September. The division lost 4330 men.



15 September: LONGUEVAL

memorial neo zelandais longueval
Crédit photo - Somme Tourisme - Anne Dessery
Commemorations: 100th Anniversary of New Zealand Involvement in the Somme
The New Zealanders fought their first major campaign on the Western Front in the Somme on the 15th September during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. After three weeks of violent fighting, the division was relieved on 4 October. The New Zealand Division lost 7,500 men on the Somme.
A service of remembrance will be held at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery and Memorial.


11 November 2016


Somme Poppies
Various services and acts of commemoration take place in every town and village of the Somme to commemorate the signature of the Armistice and remember the fallen.


18 November: THIEPVAL

1er Juillet 2014
Commemoration of the end of the Battle of the Somme at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.


Our programme of events is regulary updated with all the commemorative events, ceremonies and acts of remembrance being held in the Somme. Associations and authorities planning events in the Department are invited to share their news by filling out the online form.


In addition to these events, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, in partnership with the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport and The Royal British Legion are organising 141 days of commemorative events, from the 1st July to the 18th November 1916.