We drove to Talmas to complete the photographs of an earlier visit. We were able to find a location we had previously missed and on driving to the next village came across a sunken lane that was sunk and flooded!!!!
The next village Rubempre proved difficult. We were confident in one location but so many changes had taken place that the other WW1 locations were hard to find.
Lunchtime saw us in Albert. we visited the basilica and were able to complete the ‘now’ photographs of the building and the statue of the Virgin Mary. During WW1 the British troops believed that, either the war would end if the statue fell, or that the side that demolished he would lose. Allegedly, the British engineers propped up the statue after a near miss but records are unsure as to who fired the shot. But she did not fall!!!!
After lunch we visited Le Petit Train de la Somme. This narrow gauge railway was built in 1915/16 to supply the Allied front line with ammunition, food, water and men. Today it stops at Dompierre-Becquincourt, the site of a sugar beet storage depot. There is a 230 metre tunnel, a substantial bridge and a zigzag incline onto the plateau (rather like the railways of the Andes) which are a testament to the constructional skills of the Royal Engineers. After the war it was used to transport the sugar beet to a refinery. This was one of many similar lines across the Western Front, but this is the sole survivor.