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Thiepval Memorial to be restored for 2016 Somme Centenary

Posted on centenarynews.com on 06 January 2015
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The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has announced a major project to restore the Thiepval Memorial in readiness for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Work is due to begin the late spring of 2015 and will be completed before the Centenary commemorations in July 2016.

Soaring above the former battlefields of northern France, the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme is one the most distinctive monuments in the CWGC's care.  

More than 72,000 British and South African soldiers who have no known grave are remembered on its multiple arches, the majority troops who fell in the Allied offensive of July-November 1916.

ThiepvaI remains, in the CWGC's words, an 'imposing witness to one of the fiercest and most costly battles that was fought during the First World War.'  

But recent technical surveys have highlighted a need to address a range of significant issues, the results of adverse weather exacerbated by the Memorial's elevated position and height.

CWGC's Western Europe Area Operations Director, Richard Nichol, who is leading the project with the Estates Department, explains:  "This is one of the most important pieces of restoration work that is being undertaken by the organisation for some time and will ensure that both the monument and surrounding landscape are ready for the Battle of the Somme Centenary in July 2016 - an event that is already drawing huge public interest."

The Thiepval Memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the distinguished architect responsible for many of the best known monuments to the dead of the Great War, including the Cenotaph in London and the India Gate in Delhi.

It was unveiled in 1932, as both a tribute to the missing and an Anglo-French battle memorial recognising the joint nature of the 1916 offensive.

Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Images: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News