The village of La Boisselle is a settlement in the Somme department of northern France. It was the subject of heavy fighting during the First World War. George Besford was wounded here in the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916.
The village was rebuilt after the end of the war, but contains several features which remind us of what happened.
The most obvious and dramatic of these is the Lochnagar Crater. This was the largest man-made crater created on the Western Front during the First World War. The depth was 69 feet (21 metres) and the width 330 feet (100 metres). The crater has been preserved and is under the care of The Friends of Lochnagar.
La Boisselle also contains the Tyneside Memorial Seat. This marks the former British front line at the point where it was closest to the German front line.
The seat commemorates the Tyneside Scottish and Tyneside Irish Brigades who suffered so badly on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916. The seat features the badges of the two brigades.
There is an inscription on the rear of the seat which reads:
“Le terrain de ce monument fut gracieusement offert par la Commune d’Ovillers-La-Boisselle pour commémorer à perpétuité les militaires des 102e et 103e Brigades d’infanterie des Armées Britanniques tombés au cours de La Grande Guerre 1914-1918 et dont nous honorons ici la memoire”
On the road out of La Boisselle towards Contalmaison is a memorial to the 34th Division of the British Army, in which the Tyneside Scottish and Tyneside Irish served.
La Boisselle also has a street named “Rue de la 34e Division”.
Main image: The Lochnagar Crater from the air taken in 1980. The village of La Boisselle is visible to the north of the crater. The chalk markings on the fields indicate the disturbance to the ground which took place because of the digging of trenches and mines.