We start east of Delville Wood for a visit to a memorial for the French 18e R.I.T. in the Valley between Ginchy and Flers.
We continue to visit the three interesting memorials in the village of Flers along the D 197. Remarkable perhaps is the rather recently inaugurated and second "Footballers Battalion” memorial in Flers.
Next we drive to the north-eastern outskirts of Gueudecourt to one of the most advanced points of the British in 1916, and its Canadian Newfoundland Caribou Memorial.
For this short route we depart from the parking in front of
We drive eastward to the village of Ginchy, where we turn left
and northward on the road to Flers.
In the Valley of Flers, along the D 197 to Flers, we stop at a
small copse on the right side of the road for a French
This private memorial, which commemorates the French
18e Régiment d'Infanterie Territorial, has been sponsored by
the widow of soldier Georges Lejoindre.
This memorial takes us back to the period of the
mobile warfare on the Western Front. With the German
opponents continually attempted to outflank each other
through north-western France.
This memorial commemorates in particular the victims of
the 18e R.I.T. , fallen in this area during
the Battle of Flers and Ginchy of 26 September 1914.
"IN MEMORY OF GEORGES LEJOINDRE - GEORGES PFISTER - AND THEIR COMRADES OF THE 18E TERRITORIAL INFANTRY REGIMENT - FALLEN ON THE FIELD OF HONOUR DURING THE BATTLE OF FLERS AND GINCHY ON 26 SEPTEMBER 1914."
Some concise background information about
the Battle of Flers and Ginchy.
The Battle of Flers and Ginchy -
26 September 1914.
In this valley east of Delville Wood and in the adjacent villages this almost forgotten battle lasted only for one day.
In the evening of 25 September 1914 units of the German R.I.R. 109 arrived at the northern outskirts of Flers.
In the early morning of 26 September 1914 the Battle broke out for the possession of the villages of Flers and Ginchy.
The 18e R.I.T. was too weak to withstand the Germans.
The men of the R.I.R. 109 occupied Flers definitely on 26 September until the summer of 1916. In Flers the Germans detected large warehouses filled with eggs. They immediately started to "provide" themselves with large quantities of these eggs, until there were no eggs left.
The Germans took Ginchy on 27 September 1914 and occupied it definitely until 1916.
Georges Lejoindre, probably a father and a family man, ...
... died at the age of 36 years old.
The death certificate of Georges Lejoindre does not
exist anymore in the French Army archives.
Left a copy of the death certificate of the also on the memorial mentioned, Sergeant Georges Pfister.
View in the direction of Ginchy.
We continue northward to the centre of the village of Flers.
Right of the village church of Flers we find this "Poilu" statue,
to commemorate the French 17th and 18th Infantry Regiments.
Left of the church stands a rather recently inaugurated
second memorial to commemorate the "Footballers Battalion"
of the 17th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment.
This memorial has been dedicated on 10 July 2011.
The granite monument was financed by donations from
supporters of the Leyton Orient Football Club,
which the former Clapton Orient Football Club is now called.
Supporters of the Leyton Orient Football Club left their
supporters paraphernalia to honour their former club members.
The "Footballers' Battalion".
In Great Britain there were over 5,000 men playing professional football in 1914. Of those, 2,000 joined the military services. Some of them joined up individually, but sometimes whole teams enlisted together.
Clapton (now Leyton) Orient was the first. After Fred Parker, the team captain, went into the army, about 40 players and staff followed his example.
They joined the 17th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, which became known as the "Footballers' Battalion" it had so many players in it!
Second-in-command, Major Frank Buckley, was wounded in the shoulder and lung in 1917. He recovered to become manager of Wolves after the war.
The rear side of the memorial offers also some interesting
The texts are honouring three former members of
the Clapton Orient Football Club: Richard McFadden,
William Jones and Georges Scott.
Some 150 m. northward along the main street of Flers we find
this "Tommy" statue, which commemorates the British
41st Division, ...
.... which deployed also in this area the first tanks ....
... to liberate the village of Flers on 15 September 1916.
We continue north-eastward to the village of Gueudecourt, ...
... on our way to its eastern outskirts to find
this Canadian Newfoundland Caribou Memorial.
On the base of the Memorial
we find traces of the last conquered trench.
The Newfoundland Caribou stands on the last
British lines of 17 November 1916, ...
... the nearest point to Bapaume,
reached throughout the offensive.
There are three other similar Caribou Memorials in France:
A panorama view, standing with my back to the Caribou,
in the direction of the D 929, the Albert - Bapaume Road.
The left side of this panorama, left the village of Gueudecourt.
The right side of this panorama,
left le Sars and the Butte de Warlencourt.
The village was taken on 26 September. But....
... it would take the Newfoundlanders until 12 October,
before they secured this area.
To end this chapter about the British sector
of the Battle of the Somme,
we continue with a visit to another most advanced point,
the Adanac Canadian Cemetery at Miraumont.
Continue to the next chapter: