Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Friday, July 4, 2014

Western Front Virtual Tour — Stop 25: Australian Memorials at Pozières

Australia’s official war correspondent, Charles Bean, described what these views would have looked like between July and September 1916: "Over the whole face of the country shells have ploughed up the land literally as with a gigantic plough, so that there is more red and brown earth than green. From the distance all the colour is given by these upturned crater edges, and the country is wholly red." The troops called the area "Mash Valley"

Between July and August 1916, the small village of Pozières became the central focus of the Battle of the Somme. Strongly defended Pozières  was stormed by Australian soldiers and captured from the German forces that had invaded and taken over the French village. In a few short weeks Australia suffered 23,000 casualties and 10,000 lives lost. There are two major Australian memorials to the two divisions that served here: the First Division monument (top), which is just southwest of the village, and the Second Division's (bottom), just to the east on the Albert-Bapaume Road. 

First Division: The monument is viewed from the ruins of the Gibraltar strong point at the southern edge of Pozières village, which was captured by Australian soldiers when they seized the village on 23 July 1916.  The dedicatory plaque lists the battle honours of the division, and the first name on the plaque is "Pozières". The whole landscape to the right of the memorial was the scene of further Australian advances beyond the village.

Second Division: A rough mound is all that remains of the windmill that stood here for centuries until 1916. It marks the highest point of the entire Somme battlefield (known as Hill 160). The Germans converted the ruins of the windmill to a machine gun post and concrete fortifications can still be seen on the mound. 


  1. Very moving . I've visited several times over they years

  2. The Second Division Memorial is just lacking one thing, A copy of the Image of the original Windmill, Built in 1610 and demolished in battle in 1916. It is a shame that in all the books written on the Somme and on the Aust' WM Site there is not one image of the Windmill. I often wondered what it looked like on visits to the site where my Uncle was wounded in that battle of 1916.
    I now have o copy of that Windmill image in the form of a Postcard with a generic 'Somme" Postmark with a French Stamp. The description states it was built in 1610.. If anyone wants to see a copy of it contact me on
    Hopefully someone will put it in to print and have an etched image put up on the Windmill Site to give the visitor and idea of what was there before the WW!