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              Pierre Grande Guerre
              shows his
              photo impressions
              of his trips along
              the Western Front
              with his selfmade photo's,
              historic pictures,
              and maps.
              Few words,
              many pictures,
              and many links.
              Warning: Sometimes on the battlefield
              you will still find relics of explosives.
              All these shells, hand grenades, and
              mortar rounds can even nowadays still
              be very dangerous.
              Some of the artillery bombs may contain
              poison gas, which can cause severe
              blistering or worse injuries.
              In France it is by law forbidden to
              remove relics from the battlefield.
              So, it is for your own safety:
              take a picture of the steel harvest,
              but leave these relics untouched!

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              Pierre is a Dutch member
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              Central Ontario Branch
              of the Western Front
              In 2015 awarded with
              a lifetime membership!
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              Association Nederland
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              Régiment d'Infanterie" 
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              LINKS TO THE SPECIAL



              Pierre's Illustrated

              WFA-NL Lecture 

              'UNCLE HANSI" - (Dutch)

              Pierre's Illustrated

              Lecture "Verdun 1916" - (Dutch)

              Pierre's illustrated

              WFA-NL lectures:

              The Tactical Significance 

               of General Gaede - (Bilingual)

              The Difficult Start

              of the L.I.R. 123 - (Eng)

              De Moeizame Start van

              het L.I.R. 123 - (Dutch)

              De Rode Duivels

              op de Hartmannswillerkopf (Dutch)

              De Blauwe Duivels

              in de Vogezen (Dutch)

              Botchkareva en haar

              Vrouwenbataljon (Dutch)

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              More Special

              Photo Impressions

              of the Western Front (English) 

              Armistice Clearing Compiègne

              Kaiser's Exile Huis Doorn


              Fort de Mutzig - Feste Kaiser Wilhelm II

              Colmar and Hansi, the Illustrator 

              The Red Baron's Crash Site

              Canadian National Vimy Memorial

              SOMME 1918 The Australians

              Fricourt Archeological Excavations

              Traces of Bairnsfather  - Xmas Truce

              Yorkshire Trench and Dugout

              Bayernwald Trenches Inside 

              LINKS TO ALL
              in the CORRECT SEQUENCE


              Chemin des Dames part 1 

              Chemin des Dames part 2 - Dragon's Cave

              Chemin des Dames part 3     

              ALSACE LORRAINE

              The Gap of Charmes - La Trouée de C.

              Avricourt - Leintrey - Reillon - Montreux - Parux 

              Montreux German Front Walk

              The Battle of Morhange - 1914

              French Bunkers - Mnt. Grand Couronné 

              South of Metz - German Bunkers -

              Feste Wagner 


              Tête du Violu - Bernhardstein

              Chaume de Lusse - Haute de Faîte

              Bertrimoutier - Frapelle  

              Ban de Sapt - La Fontenelle

              Senones - la Roche Mère Henry

              Col de la Chipotte - de la Chapelotte

              The Donon - Bunkers - Dug-outs

              ALSACE VOSGES  

              Col du Bonhomme Col de Mandray

              Tête de Faux - Buchenkopf 

              Col du Wettstein - Schratzmännele

              Lingekopf - le Linge  

              Kleinkopf - Barrenkopf 

              Hohrodberg-Giragoutte-Trois Epis  


              Munster Valley Petit Ballon  

              Le Tanet - Bichtstein - Villa Sidi-Brahim

              Route des Crêtes - Hohneck -

              Gr. Ballon - Sudelkopf 

              Hartmannswillerkopf - Vieil Armand  

              Guebwiller - Rimbach - Hirzstein  

              Moosch Nécropole Nationale  

              ALSACE SUNDGAU  

              Zillisheim Illfurth Largitzen Pfetterhouse 

              Burnhaupt-le-Bas Bunker Path     


              Mort Homme Côte 304

              Montfaucon- Romagne s/s Montfaucon

              Butte de Vauquois

              Haute Chevauchée

              The Bunker of the German Crownprince


              Illies - Wicres    

              Neuve Chapelle - Richebourg

              Aubers - 1915 

              Fromelles - 1916  

              Neuville-St. Vaast - Souchez

              Notre Dame de Lorette 


              Arras Wellington Quarry

              Vimy Ridge

              Lichfield Crater


              St. Hilaire le Grand Russian Cmty  Mont Navarin

              Sommepy Mont de Blanc Mont

              La Main des Massiges


              Verberie Néry Villers Cotterêts  

              First Battle of the Marne   

              Belleau Wood - Château Thierry  

              Second Battle of the Marne

              SAINT MIHIEL

              Les Eparges Ridge

              Calonne Trenches Tranchée

              Fort de Troyon

              Apremont Forest Trenches

              Butte de Montsec

              Rémenauville Destroyed Village

              le Bois le Prêtre / das Priesterwald 

              SOMME British Sector


              Auchonvillers Trench

              Mine Craters Lochnagar Hawthorn

              Thiepval Memorial Mouquet Farm  

              Thiepval Wood - Ulster Tower

              Ovillers La Boiselle

              Hawthorn Ridge Beaumont Hamel

              Redan Ridge 

              Newfoundland Memorial Park  

              Serre Hébuterne 

              Sheffield Memorial Park Serre


              Fricourt Deutsche Kriegsgräberstatte 


              Mametz Wood 

              Trones Wood Montauban Guillemont

              Caterpillar Valley Longueval 

              High Wood Longueval

              Delville Wood Longueval



              le Sars Butte de Warlencourt

              Flers Gueudecourt

              Adanac Canadian Cmty. Mireaumont

              SOMME French Sector 


              Rancourt Cimetière National

              Rancourt Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof

              Dompierre - Becquincourt Fay Soyécourt

              Flaucourt Biaches


              VERDUN Citadel 

              Thiaumont - PC 118 & 119 - A 320

              Road To Fort Douaumont       

              Fort de Douaumont

              Douaumont Nécropole Nationale  

              Côte Froideterre - Les 4 Chéminées 

              Fort de Souville 

              Fort de Vaux 

              Tunnel de Tavannes Fort

              La Voie Sacrée

              Bois des Caures - Col. Driant's C.P. 

              Flabas German Reprisals Camp

              The German Camp Marguerre 

              Duzey German 380mm Artillery Base

              Destroyed Villages Bezonvaux - Ornes

              Azannes - Damvillers - La Grande Montagne 


              Menin Road Railway Wood

              Maple Copse - Hill 62 - Hooge

              Clapham Junction Zandvoorde Bunker

              Polygon Wood Zonnebeke

              Hill 60 - Hollebeke -

              St. Elooi - Lankhof Farm

              Messines Ridge

              Pilkem Ridge

              Boezinge Essex Farm Ziegler Bunker

              Langemark Poelkapelle St. Juliaan

              Passchendaele Ridge

              Mount Kemmel Lettenberg Bunkers

              Ploegsteert Wood


              Nieuport Ramskapelle

              Pervijze  Stuijvekenskerke

              Diksmuide Trench of Death 

              Leke Vladslo Houthulst


              Pierre's Nederlandstalige
              artikelen en columns
              over de Grote Oorlog
              (Copy & Paste de titel in de
              Bochkareva en haar Vrouwenbataljon
              Bretonse Bécassine tijdens de Oorlog
              De Vanceboro Bridge Bomaanslag
              Beneath Hill 60
              Tijdreizen Op Internet
              Leutnant Von Forstner Koopt Chocolade
              Duitslands Oudste Oorlogsvrijwilliger
              Marcel's Bajonet
              Souvenir de Bezonvaux
              Namibië-Etnische Zuivering-1904-1908
              Het Beleg van Fort de Vaux
              Explosiecatastrofe In Fort Douaumont 
              Franse Aas der Azen: René Fonck
              Chasseurs Alpins, Franse Alpenjagers
              Prowse Point Cemetery
              Hoe Sgt. Kunze Fort Douaumont
                 veroverde op 25-02-1916.
              Frank Hurley: Fotoshoppen In 1917
              De Kaiserschlacht,
                 een beknopte samenvatting.
              Herdenking Op Douaumont 2008
              Wapenstilstand 1918 -90 Jaar Geleden
              Vijfde Lustrum WFA Nederland,
              Geur van Drukinkt
              De Vallei van Munster
              Der Rote Baron Versus Flyboys 
              De Fantomen van Landowski
              Louise de Bettignies -
                 Queen of English Spies
              Monument Op Vimy Ridge
              De Erewacht van
                 Notre Dame de Lorette
              Tank Tegen Tank 90 Jaar Terug
              Von Richthofen's Laatste Noodlanding
              Generaal Von Lettow Vorbeck
              Grafschennis Notre Dame de Lorette
              Google Earth 
              De Kaiserschlacht 90 Jaar Geleden 
              De Wolfsberg - le Hamel
              Overleden Veteranen
              Franse Sector Aan De Somme
              Kerstbestand 1914
              Raadselachtig Graf
              Caporetto; Kiem Van Fascisme
              Lenin's Treinreis
              Tsjechen Aan Het Westelijk Front
              Mata Hari
              325 Miljoen Voor 12 Zeppelins
              Slagvelden Van de Somme
              Op de Lingekopf
              Weinig Duitse Monumenten
              Soldaten Standbeelden
              Mosterdgas 1917
              Schwaben Redoubt
              Oogst Van Roest
              De Tekenaar Hansi
              Gifgas Bij Vancouver Corner
              Nationaliteit Kwijt?
              Beloond Geduld
              Prins Harry Naar Irak
              De Arm Van De Kaiser
              Artilleriebunkers Nabij Duzey
              Kamp Flabas
              Eerherstel voor "Deserteurs"
              Vredig plekje?
              Moslimmonument in Verdun 
              De Slag aan de Somme
              De Tunnel van Tavannes
              Kapitein Joost van Vollenhoven
              Huis Doorn
                 “Raadselachtig Ansichtkaartje II
              Raadselachtig Ansichtkaartje I 



              Notre Dame de Lorette
              Notre Dame de Lorette
              Ring of Remembrance  - Trenches -  Cimétière Nationale
              years of visit: 2008 - 2014.

              From the ruins of the St. Nazaire church in Ablain-St. Nazaire we continue our route uphill via the steep Route de la Blanche Voie to visit the Mont de Notre Dame de Lorette. We visit the General Maistre Memorial to be followed next by a frame about the recently inaugurated “Ring of Remembrance” international memorial. After this impression we pay a visit to the relics of the trenches. We finish our tour on the hill with a visit to the Cimétière Nationale de Notre Dame de Lorette with its typical Basilica and its Lantern Tower. But first of all we start with some landscape pictures, photographed from locations south of Notre Dame de Lorette.

              View at the Mont de Lorette from Cabaret Rouge. 

              View over Ablain-St. Nazaire to the 165 m. high hill.
              A summary note about the Second Battle of Artois (9 May - 18 June 1915)
              These two trench map details of April 1915 show the situation at Notre Dame de Lorette Hill before the Second Battle of Artois.
              On 9 May 1915 five Army Corps of the 10th Army of Général d'Urbal launched an offensive at Notre Dame de Lorette and Vimy Ridge. Crown Prince Rupprecht von Bayern's 6th Army defended this front sector.
              At 6.00 AM the French artillery began a preliminary bombardment of 4 hours. After these 4 hours the French infantry attacked.
              At Notre Dame de Lorette XXI Corps of Géneral Maistre attacked the hill again. Maistre knew how to conquer the summit of the hill at 12 May. But it would take another 10 days before the hill was cleared of Germans.
              At 18 June 1915 the Second Battle of Artois came to an end. The French conquered Notre Dame de Lorette, Ablain St. Nazaire, and Neuville St. Vaast. Souchez and Vimy, including the lower grounds around, would stay in German possession until 12 April 1917. 
              (For more details about the Second and Third Battle of Artois, visit my previous Neuville-St. Vaast - Souchez photo impression.)
              During the period of the "Race to the Sea" the Germans captured
              the hill and Ablain-St.Nazaire in October 1914.
              Since December 1914 Général Maistre has been attacking the hill many times.
              The Memorial for Général Maistre and XXI Army Corps.
              A thick fog clouded the panorama over the Douai Plain.
              With clear weather this spot would offer a beautiful panorama over Souchez.
              During our visit in the last week of September 2014, the situation near the statue of General Maistre, south of the Nécropole Nationale, had changed. Construction workers were busily finishing a huge memorial, the Ring of Remembrance, to be inaugurated on 11 November 2014.

              To give you an impression of the memorial and to keep you up-to-date, in this frame below I show you some photos, which I collected from several publications in the French media, released in November 2014. Of course I hope to photograph myself the completed memorial in 2015 to show you later my own photos.  

               “L'Anneau de la Mémoire”

              On 11 November 2014 the French President François Hollande inaugurated the international memorial of the “Anneau de la Mémoire”, the Ring of Remembrance. The memorial, designed by architect Philippe Prost, consists of a ring of a perimeter of 345 m, weighing 300 tons, lighted at night by LEDs.  On its inner side there are 500 gold panels, about 3 metres in height.

              On these panels the names are inscribed of 579,606 officers and men, killed during the Great War in the Nord-Pas de Calais front sector. The men are mentioned in alphabetical order, regardless of nationality, rank or religion. The first in the list is "A Tet", a Nepalese Ghurkha fighting in the British Indian Army; the last entry mentions " Paul Zschiesche ", a German soldier.

              The list gives the names of soldiers from 40 nationalities, among others 241,214 British soldiers (including the names of soldiers of the former British Empire), 106,012 French (including the names of soldiers of the former French Empire and those of the Foreign Legion and 59 Swiss, Chileans, Argentines), and the names of 2,326 Belgians, 2,266 Portuguese, 1,037 Russians, 6 Americans, and 173,876 Germans.

              Source and photos: several publications in the French media of November 2014.

              We make a short tour around the Nécropole Nationale de Notre Dame de Lorette to the north side of the hill, where we park our car near the "Brasserie" to visit the  relics of the trenches.
              Alas, in 2008 the trenches were rather sloppily preserved with high, wet grass, and a lot of sheep dung. So, be careful, where you walk!
              First we will visit the French 2nd line.
              View from the 2nd line over the 1st line and farther on.
              The trenches are in their original position.
              But I doubt, if some objects are all in their original position.
              A "Giraud"-model rifle shield.
              A thinly armoured observation post.
              A machine gun post. The shield could be opened further.
              Same machinegun post from the French 1st Line.
              In the north-west corner of the field.
              French 155 mm. M17 Schneider artillery gun.
              In 1914 the Germans drove the French to the west side of the hill.
              On 9 May 1915 the 21st Division and the 33rd Division attacked the south side of the hill. Maistre’s XXI Army Corps attacked from the north.
              Algerian Zouaves and Moroccan units played an important and heroic role.
              The Divisions made some progress, but the area around the Basilica, on the cemetery on the top, was not yet fully conquered.
              The French 1st line.
              View from the French 1st line to the German 1st line.
              View southward.
              Another rifleman's armour plate.
              French barbed wire obstacle.
              No Man's Land. Note the shell holes.
              Left the German positions, right the French.
              The German 1st line.
              Twin armoured rifle plates for sentries.
              View from the German 1st line to the French lines.
              View southward.
              View eastward.
              Junction with communication trench.
              German barbed wire obstacles, "Frisian horses".
              Dug-out entrance.
              Northern side of the field, view at the French lines.
              The German 2nd line.
              An armoured observation post.
              View eastward from within the observation post.
              View southward.
              A German M15 light "Minenwerfer" trench mortar.
              View eastward.
              German field artillery gun.
              245 Mm. Minenwerfer.
              A last view west-east from the trenches.

              On 16 June the 21st and 33rd Divisions attacked again, but the Germans drove the French back again with a series of counterattacks.

              On 18 June the French succeeded to reach and occupy the summit.

              The Germans continued to occupy Souchez and the Douai Plain until 25 September 1915.

              The French 13th and 70th Infantry Divisions captured Souchez that day, and the 77th Infantry Division cleared the area around Souchez and Cabaret Rouge.

              After the trenches we will now visit
              the "Cimétière Nationale de Lorette Ablain-St-Nazaire".
              In this impressive war cemetery stand an impressive Basilica and a Memorial Lantern Tower.
              The  national cemetery was built on 13 hectares comprising 20,000 individual graves.
              22,970 Unknown soldiers are buried in eight mass graves. One collective grave is situated under the main base of the Lantern Tower.
              Right from the northern entrance:
              A portion of the cemetery has been reserved for Muslim soldiers...
              ... of the Algerian and Moroccan Regiments.
              Besides Muslim headstones, Jews and soldiers without a religion
              have their own tombstones instead of the traditional Christian crosses.

              On that hot September day in 2014, I  found the grave of Alexandre Villedieu at the first row near the west gate. Villedieu was a soldier of the Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale du Maroc, killed on 8 October during the Battle of Loos. In Loos-en-Gohelle an interesting museum has been named after this R.I.C.M. soldier. 

              In the first row near the south gate lies the grave of Général Ernest Barbot. Barbot was killed on 10 May 1915 in Souchez.
              (For more details about the circumstances of death, visit the frame concerned in my previous photo impression about Souchez.)

              The Basilica is built on the spot of a former chapel of 1727, and a later church of 1870, destroyed in 1914. 

              This location has been the centre point of this Battlefield.
              We visit the interior of the Basilique de Notre Dame de Lorette.
              The church walls are covered with private and national memorial plaques.
              The cupola ceiling.
              "FRANÇOIS FABER
              1ST FOREIGN REGIMENT
              CYCLIST 1909
              DIED FOR FRANCE
              IN MAY 1915 AT CARENCY"
              FROM THE TRAIN AT LOOS
              FOR ALL VICTIMS OF WAR"
              "FOR THE FATHERLAND
              1978 POLISH CONGRESS IN FRANCE"
              This glass showcase commemorates Louise de Bettignies. 
              "Wooden cross, placed by the Germans in Cologne (Köln) on the grave of Miss de Bettignies".
              Mademoiselle Louise de Bettignies
              (15 July 1880, Saint-Amand-les-Eaux - 27 February 1918, Cologne (Köln))
              Louise de Bettignies was under the pseudonym, Alice Dubois, a French secret agent for the British Army during World War I. She decided to engage in espionage and resistance against the German invasion of her residence since 1903, the city of Lille, in October 1914.

              Able to speak French, English, German and Italian, she ran from her home in Lille a vast intelligence network in northern France, on behalf of the British Army and the Intelligence Service, under the pseudonym Alice Dubois. The network provided the British important information via occupied Belgium and the "neutral" Netherlands. It is estimated, that she has saved the lives of over a thousand British soldiers during the 9 months of her most active period (January to September 1915). 

              Bettignies’ network consisted of a hundred people, and it was so effective that she was nicknamed by her superiors the Queen of English Spies. 

              One of her last messages was to announce the preparation of a massive German offensive on Verdun in February 1916. This information was relayed to the French "Grand Quartier Génerale" (GHQ), which refused to believe it.

              In September 1915 Bettignies was arrested by the Germans, and then held captive for 3 years. She died in 1918 as a result of tuberculosis, contracted in prison, in the hospital, "Heilige Maria", in Cologne. Louise died only a few months before the Armistice. Another woman, treated by the Germans as a spy, was the British nurse Edith Cavell.  Her arrest in August 1915 and execution by firing squad in September 1915 caused widespread condemnation.

              Louise was of great importance to the Allies. Louise was awarded a "Croix de Guerre aux Palmes" in August 1915. The original Citation of Joffre for the "Ordre d' Armée" is also in the frame.

              On 27 September 1915 Joffre called Louise a "War Heroine", and added another high decoration: "Chevalier de la Légion d' Honneur. (Also displayed under glass.)

              One of the eight mass graves.
              The "Garde d’Honneur de Lorette" guards the "Tour Lanterne", the Lantern Tower. 
              The Honour Guard's goal is to keep alive the memory of the "Dead of France".
              It's 3,000 members represent the families of war victims. Each day, from 15 March to 11 November, several of its members mount a permanent silent guard to the ossuary. Outside the tower the guards are willing to answer questions of visitors .
              The entrance to the tower.
              Inside the tower there is a "Chapelle Ardente".
              The Chapelle Ardente contains 32 coffins of the Great War. It also includes one coffin containing the relics of an unknown soldier from 1939-1945, a second coffin with the body of an unknown soldier of North Africa, a third coffin of an unknown soldier of the French Indochina War. A small reliquary contains ashes of a prisoner of a concentration camp. Under the floor of the tower rest another 6,000 bodies of unknown soldiers.
              La Tour Lanterne is 52 m. high (200 steps). At the top is a 3,000 candle power light, that rotates 5 times per minute. 
              According to estimates, both belligerent parties had 140,000 casualties
              at the end of the Second Battle of Artois. 
                Continue to the next chapter:"Loos". 
              Dutch Readers!


              Annika K. op 18-10-2012 19:18

              I am looking for the original source of the black and white photograph showing two soldiers digging a trench (the one just above the aerial view of Cimetière National de Lorette Ablain-St-Nazaire). Do you know who has the original?

              Thank you!

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