Thiepval Memorial

Few sites are more thought-provoking or moving than the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme with its mighty columns inscribed with the names of more than 72,000 British and South Africans who remain unaccounted for in the Somme and hence have no known grave.

Bringing into sharp relief the sheer scale of the loss of life that occurred on these battlefields, the Memorial also gives us the chance to pay homage to the British and French fighting side-by-side, and to reflect on the war's lasting impact.
On the same site, the contemporary Thiepval Visitor Centre houses a photographic panel featuring 600 of the missing, including a grandson of Charles Dickens, a Manchester City football player, and an England cricketer. Not all of the photographic subjects are known, and visitors are invited to share information they might have that could help identify them. The centre also has a database for those who have come to the Somme to track down ancestors.
A new museum added to the centre for the 2016 centenary focuses on the battles of the Somme and the memory of the lost soldiers through artefacts, archaeological finds, multimedia displays, life-size installations (including a replica of Georges Guynemer’s fighter plane)and a 60-metre mural by Joe Sacco recounting hour by hour the horror of 1st July 1916.
Constructed at ground level so as not to intrude on the historic landscape, and with display panels in French, English and German, the Visitor Centre offers an overview of the course of the war but also shines a spotlight on events in the village of Thiepval and surrounding area in 1916.
One of the fortress villages held by the Germans on the Somme front,  Thiepval was destroyed in July 2016, with German forces subsequently holding out in the deep cellars of its ruined houses. In September, the British Reserve Army launched an ultimately successful but hugely bloody attack on Thiepval Ridge, a strong German defensive position.
The writer Tolkien saw action in Thiepval Wood in September 1916 and even wrote a little here – he is known to have made revisions to his poem Kortirion among the Trees in a dugout in the wood’s frontline.
Each 1st July,  Thiepval Memorial –  designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and inaugurated in 1932 – hosts a major service for those who died in the Somme.  There’s another ceremony on 11th November annually.
Thiepval Memorial
F-80300 Thiepval
Tel: +33 (0) 3 22 74 60 47