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The Village of Guillemont

View from Above
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The village is a commune approximately 13 km (8 mi) east of Albert in the Somme Department in 

Hauts-de-France in Northern France and covers an area of approximately 3.27 km2, with a population of approximately 130 (including 2 Brits since we made our home here is 2014).

Click above for larger aerial view of the Village

Guillemont during the Great War

German Soldiers in Guillemont

German Soldiers in the Village

Guillemont is now primarily a peaceful farming community, however, during the Great War, it was one of the most important strategic areas during the second phase of the Battle of the Somme, having been captured in 1914  by German Forces, who fortified the village with deep trenches and tunnel systems which to this day, many still exist beneath buildings and fields.  

Guillemont Halt itself, which, we believe, was used by the Germans as a possible command post, has an underground entrance/exit leading from the cellar of the house to the farm next door (See the following page ‘Our own Dugout) for further information.   

 

The village was fiercely fought over towards the end of July 1916 until its final capture on 3 September 1916 by soldiers from the 20th Light Division and an attached brigade from the 16th (Irish) Division.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The village was razed to the ground during the First World War and was re-built mainly during the 1920’s.  During the renovation of Guillemont Halt, we found newspaper pages concealed within the house dated 1927, which we understand is the year the re-build of the property was completed on the site of the original building.

16th Division Cross Inauguration Guillemont 1926 

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Village Remembrance

16th Division Memorial Cross 
Main French War Memorial 
28 August 1914 French Memorial

The village is home to memorials to both Allied and French Armies:

 

  • 16th (Irish) Division Memorial Cross

  • Main French Memorial

  • 28 August 1914 French Memorial

  • 20th Light Division Memorial

  • Jersey Pals Memorial​

  • Private Family Memorial to Second Lieutenant George Futvoye Marden-Smedley (see below)

A visit to Guillemont is not complete without a visit to our Church, which houses a roll call of French villagers, many of whom were related, whose ancestors still live in the village, who gave their lives during WW1 along

with memorial plaques dedicated to the 47th Brigade, part of the 16th (Irish) Division and the Liverpool Regiment who fought here.  

 

As a gesture of reconciliation, the villagers have remembered in the

church, by way of a portrait, and also by renaming one of the village
roads after him, the famous German soldier and writer, Ernst Jünger,

(notably he wrote Storm of Steel) who was stationed in Guillemont

during some of the heaviest fighting.

We are key holders of the church and are always happy to take

Guillemont Halt guests on a quick guided tour of the church during their

stay at the house.  

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Private Remembrance

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There is a private family memorial dedicated to Second Lieutenant George Futvoye Marsden-Smedley, The Rifle Brigade, in one of the fields behind the village.

 

Further information on George can be found here

VCs in Guillemont

 

Six Victoria Crosses were awarded for actions in 1916 in and around Guillemont. The names of the recipients were:

 

George Evans, 18th Bn Manchester Regiment

Noel Godfrey Chavasse, Royal Army Medical Corps, attached to the 1/10th Bn Liverpool Regiment (Liverpool Scottish)

Gabriel Georges Coury, 3rd Bn South Lancashire Regiment

Thomas Hughes, 6th Bn Connaught Rangers

John Vincent Holland, 7th Bn Leinster Regiment

David Jones, 12th Bn Liverpool Regiment

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Guillemont Road Cemetery

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Guillemont Road Cemetery Entrance
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Headstones honouring the  8 Believed to be Buried 

Guillemont Road Cemetery, was originally a field cemetery which when closed in March 1917 contained 121 burials.  The cemetery was greatly increased following the armistice when graves (almost all of July-September 1916) were brought in from the battlefields immediately surrounding the village and certain smaller cemeteries.  The cemetery now contains 2,263 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 1,523 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to eight casualties known or believed to be buried among them.   

 

Notable burials in the cemetery are that of Lieutenant Raymond Asquith, 3rd Bn Grenadier Guards, Son of the Prime Minister of the time, Herbert Asquith, and Second Lieutenant William Alexander Stanhope Forbes, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Son of the artist Stanhope Alexander Forbes, founding member of the late 19th Century and highly influential Newlyn School of Painters.

 

Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, Guillemont Road Cemetery is situated 500m from the village, on the D64 in the direction of Montauban.  Further information on Guillemont Road Cemetery can be found here.

 

Call Us 

m:  00 44 (0)7831 875070

t:     00 33 (0)3 22 85 86 37

Email 

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