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Battlefield Remains

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Naours, destination touristique des soldats de la Grande Guerre
Crédits photo : Veronique Lesperat - Héquet

The Underground City of Naours

These immense underground galleries are former quarries that were used, fom the Middle Ages, as shelters during times of war. The site’s remarkable layout has been recognised as one of the largest network of tunnels in Northern France.  After a tour of the underground city, visitors can learn more about the history of the region and the craftmanship of the Picardy people in the museum, before taking a stroll through the 24 acre woodland park.

Great War History

In Jaunary 1917, Allan Allsop from Mosman, Sidney, wrote in his diaryStriking a hospital tent in the morning and erecting it again in another part of the grounds. At 1 p.m. 10 of us went to the famous Caves near Naours where refugees used to hide in times of Invasion. These Caves contain about 300 rooms, one cave being 1/2 mile long.

During his visit, Allan pencilled his name on one of the walls of the underground city. This moving piece of graffiti, which even a century later still looks incredibly fresh, is one of 2000 pieces to have been currently uncovered. It shows a less violent side to the war, to which we are less accustomed, revealing how soldiers occupied themselves behind the lines. Anoter soldier to have left his mark in Naours was Sergeant Samuel Meekosha VC of the 1/6th West Yorks.

This recent revelation, currently undergoing academic research (since 2014), makes the Underground City of Naours the highest concentration of WW1 graffiti as yet uncovered.

 

 

Useful information

  • February, March & November: open every day, except Mondays, from 11am to 4.30pm
  • April, May, June, September & October: open every day, except Mondays, from 10am to 5.30pm, and from 10am to 6.30pm on weekends and public holidays.
  • July & August: every day from 10am to 6.30pm
  • Ticket prices for audio-guided tour: Adults: 11€. Children: 7€
  • Ticket prices for guided tour: Adults: 12€. Children: 9€.
  • (Under 5s go free)
  • Picnic area – Large car park – Gift shop – Bar – Brasserie

5, rue des Carrières
80260 Naours
Tel: + 33 (0)3.22.93.71.78
Email : contact@citesouterrainedenaours.fr
www.citesouterrainenaours.fr

 

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naours
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POINT (2.281838 50.03481)
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One of the Finest Australian Feats of Arms

The tiny village of Mont-Saint-Quentin sits on a hillside overlooking the town of Péronne. During their occupation of the town from 1914, the Germans turned the mount into an exceptional observation point and strategic position. Incorporated into the strong lines of German defence it became a well defended, impregnable fortress, which was not taken in battle until September 1918. Between the 29th August and the 2nd September 1918, several thousand men of the 2nd Australian Division attacked this position, which formed the key to the liberation of Péronne. They were well aware of the importance of the attack; Corporal Philip Starr of the 21st Battalion wrote, ‘It would certainly have meant the withdrawal of the force threatening Péronne ... had we failed’. Mont-Saint-Quentin was finally captured and held securely in Australian hands by the 2nd September 1918. This feat is often regarded as one of the finest achievements of the AIF during the Great War.

2nd Australian Division Memorial

It was here that the 2nd Australian Division chose to erect a memorial to their memory in 1925. The initial memorial depicted an Australian soldier bayonetting a German eagle, but this statue was taken down by the Germans during the Second World War. A new statue of a less aggressive looking Australian Digger replaced the original statue in 1971. On the sides of the pedestal, which was not destroyed by the Germans, bronze plaques depict Australian artillery going into action and infantry bombing their way down a trench. These were created by Australian artist Miss May Butler-George.

Walking Trail

The Battle of Mont Saint Quentin, during which 3000 soldiers were made casualty, is recalled and remembered through an interpretative walking trail, created by the Historial, Museum of the Great War with the support of the Australian Embassy and the town of Péronne. Six small monuments positioned at different stages of the battle provide information about the important moments of the assault. Visitors can also discover three new exhibition halls in the castle courtyard of the Historial. These halls explain Australian military involvement in the Somme during the war, especially during the Battle of Mont-Saint-Quentin, and include an animated relief map detailing the battle.

 

Dowload the leaflet about the remembrance and interpretative trail at Mont Saint Quentin

 
 
 

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vignette parcours Mont-Saint-Quentin
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