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 World War.
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.