Day 6 Part 2: Touring the Somme, the site of the fierce battle of World War I Part 1 – 2014 Medoc Marathon Diary No. 17

Medoc marathon and North French trip in September 2014
Medoc marathon and North French trip in September 2014

Local Time: Afternoon, September 16, 2014

September 16, 2014 was a memorable day for me that I will never forget.

Found a sign for the Battle of the Somme.

If you’ve ever driven on a French motorway, you’ll probably know that from time to time you’ll see illustrated signs referring to famous historical sites or towns in the vicinity.

The day before, on the way from Amiens to Lille, I spotted a sign on the highway with the words « Bataille de la Somme » painted on it. That was the beginning of my visit to this place.

Amiens, home to the World Heritage Cathedral, is the capital of the Somme province. When you travel by car, you will frequently see the name of the regional area or province.

Naturally, I saw the name « Somme » on the way to Amiens, but at first I didn’t associate it with the « Battle of the Somme » and the First World War.

If I had noticed this at the time of departure from Amiens the day before, I could have traveled efficiently, but there’s no point in regretting it now. But if I return home without seeing this place, that should be regret. With that in mind, I decided to return to the Somme again.

Buy Lonely Planet on reel to find out.

As I wrote in my last diary, there happened to be a big bookshop in Grand-Place in Lille, so I decided to gather information about this battle of the Somme there.

The bookstore had various guidebooks, including michelin’s green guide, but only Lonely Planet introduced the Battle of the Somme and related historical sites.

Maybe I could have found an iOS app to help me, but I don’t have good communication, so I decided to buy the book, although it is a little bulky.

I’m really impressed with Lonely Planet’s ability to keep these things in check.

Was this turn of events already foreshadowed before we left?

Actually, just before I left for France, I bought and downloaded a few Kindle books at Haneda Airport, which I thought I would read on the plane, and this book was one of them.

第一次世界大戦 (ちくま新書)

What’s more, 2014 is exactly 100 years since the start of the First World War. As well as downloading the book, it may be some kind of fate that I happened to visit this place, which I had not originally planned to, for the Air France strike in such a year.

What is the Battle of the Somme and the Trenches?

Before I introduce the actual historical sites we visited, I would like to briefly explain about the « Battle of the Somme » and the « trenches » that should not be forgotten in the First World War.


The Battle of the Somme was the most fierce battle of World War I. It was fought from July to mid-November 1916 on the banks of the Somme River in the Picardy region of northern France between the Allies, Great Britain and France, and the Allies, Germany.

In total, nearly one million people were killed by the two armies, which was unprecedented in the history of the world.

Despite the fierce fighting, the Allies achieved very little in their goal of forcing Germany to withdraw.


On the other hand, weapons such as tanks had appeared, but they were not used as the main weapon because their performance was not yet sufficient at that time. Therefore, it is said that the center was the infantry equipped with the rifle.


World War I memorials across France


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ヨーロッパでは第一次世界大戦のモニュメントをよく見かけます | my lifelog

I saw a lot of memorials to the victims, especially children. That’s how unforgettable the great war was for the people of France.