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“Souvenir Français” Chapel of Remembrance

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Description: 

September 1916

This sector of the Somme saw heavy fighting during the final three months of the Battle of the Somme, from September to November 1916. Rancourt itself was finally captured by the 32nd French Army Corps on 25th September 1916. The main aim of the attack was to cut through major German communications along the Bapaume to Péronne road. 

French Remembrance

Containing the graves of 8,566 men, Rancourt Cemetery is the largest French military cemetery of the Somme and testifies to the violent battles that raged towards the end of the offensive. Contained within the perimeter of the cemetery is the French Chapel of Remembrance, which was erected by an association created by the Du Bos family in remembrance of their son, Jean, and his comrades who were killed in action on 25th September 1916. Management of the site was entrusted to the Souvenir Français association in 1937.

Rancourt British Cemetery

On the opposite side of the road, the Commonwealth established the Rancourt Military Cemetery. Initially a temporary cemetery made during the winter of 1916/1917, it became permanent after the war and today contains 93 burials.

The German Military Cemetery

The German cemetery was built in 1920 by French authorities, it contains the graves brought in from temporary cemeteries and isolated graves. It is one of the larger German cemeteries of the Somme, with 11422 burials, including 3930 in mass graves. The chapel within this cemetery was unveiled in 1933.

Bid for UNESCO World Heritage Status

The cemeteries and chapel of remembrance located at Rancourt-Bouchavesnes are among 11 sites in the Somme that have applied for UNESCO World Heritage status.

The remembrance sector of Rancourt-Bouchavesnes attests to the diversity of the commemorations, both public and private. It is also a very educational site as the three main nations that fought in the war are represented here, especially the French, who lost 190,000 men in the space of five months. Remembrance is prevalent here as over 20,000 soldiers are buried in this sector in total. These three burial sites and memorials are indissociable. Their proximity, combined visibility and the quality of their environmental setting have made this area a unique site of international remembrance.

Useful information

Chapel of Remembrance
Open every day from 9am to 6pm (10am to 5pm from the 01/10 to the 31/03)
Free admission
2, route Nationale - 80360 Rancourt
Tel + 33 (0) 3 22 85 04 47
memorial-rancourt@neuf.fr

German Cemetery
Free access all year round
Cemetery maintained by Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge

British Cemetery
Free access all year round
Cemetery maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Longitude 2.916038 | Latitude 49.983256

Memory place type: 
Aside bloc: 
Media: 
Rancourt chapelle du Souvenir Français HEADER©Nicolas Bryant
Location Lat/Long: 
POINT (2.916038 49.983256)