Mametz: The Welsh Dragon: Mametz is a name that resounds down though history as the place where the German resistance blocked all Allied progress in a north-easterly direction. The Welsh 38th Division captured Mametz Wood on the 12th July after eight days of fierce fighting which came just after the Somme slaughter on July 1st. The Memorial is the emblem of Wales, a red dragon, which, with wings outspread carries pieces of barbed wire in its claws, testifying to the nature of the battle.
Poppy Country Tourist Office, 9 rue Gambwtta – 80300 Albert. Tel: +33(0)3 22 75 16 1642. www.tourisme-paysducoquelicot.com
Not a Memorial, nor a Museum, but a quiet place for reflection and mediatation is the house in which Britain's greatest war poet, Wilfrid Owen, wrote his last letter home to his mother. The Maison Forestiere stands as both a homage to the poet and as a venue for poetry. The illustration shown here is the house in its original state, not as it now appears.
The roof has been remade to represent an open book and animated projections of texts by Owen are beamed on to the interior walls,the texts projected in both French and English. A ramp leads down to the cellar where Owen wrote his last letter home, and this remains untouched, the only original part of the building preserved exactly as it was 100 years ago.
Owen died at Ors on November 4th 1918 as he was leading his group across the Sambre-Oise canal. He was 25 years old. On Armistice day, seven days later, as the church bells were ringing out, his parents received the fateful telegram.
Owen is buried in the cemetery at Ors and there is a plaque nearby to his honour.
Maison Forestiere Wilfrid Owen, Bois Leveque, RD959 59360 ORS
Open April – November, Wednesday to Saturday 2 pm. – 6 pm.
First Sunday of the month from 3 pm – 6 pm.
Tel: +33 (0)3 27 84 10 94
There are more Memorials in France and Belgium than one could cover in an article such as this. Most readers are familiar with name such as Ypres, Mons, Tyne Cot and the Menim Gate and of course there are Monuments and Memorials scattered all around these areas. The tourist offices in the battlefield areas have full details, maps and guidebook to the most interesting, so it is a good idea to call at one of these – some of which are attached to small Museums – to get further information.