For centuries Thiepval was a thriving rural village much like
any other of those found in northern France's beautiful Picardy
region. It might have remained so forever had it not been for the
village's strategic significance in the infamous battles that took
place in and around the Somme Valley during the 1914-1919 First
Before 1914, Thiepval was one of the largest villages in the
Somme Valley with many of villagers finding employment on the
woodland estate of the nearby Thiepval Chateau. In September 1914,
German troops arrived in Thiepval, seizing control of the village
in order to take strategic advantage of its elevated position on
the Thiepval Ridge.
Between the summers of 1915 and 1916 British and Irish troops
advanced on the village but were repelled and sustained heavy
casualties. In September 1916, British artillery subjected Thiepval
to heavy bombardment, completely destroying the village and most of
the chateau. In the ensuing Battle of Thiepval Ridge the Allied
Forces eventually regained capture of the area on October 14th.
Today, Thiepval is a much smaller village and has been rebuilt
slightly to the southwest of its original position. It has become
an international tourist attraction as the location of the Thiepval
Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, the largest war memorial in
the world and is an unmissable destination for visitors on battlefield
tours of the Somme.