14th November 1916 Tuesday

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“On the 14th we were made happy by the news of a great British victory on the Somme – the capture of Beaumont Hamel with 4000 prisoners and 60 guns.”

Some good news at last of progress on the Somme. Beaumont Hamel had been the subject of a failed attack on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme way back on the 1st of July. It had become regarded as an almost impregnable German stronghold, so news of a welcome victory was heart-warming to Douglas and his compatriots.

Beaumont Hamel fell to the Allies in what is now known as the Battle of Ancre on the previous day 13th November. Originally scheduled for the 24th October, there were numerous postponements due to terribly wet conditions. Finally, the go-ahead was given for Monday 13th and four divisions of the 5th Army with another division in reserve successfully took the village of Beaumont Hamel and the heavily defended “Y” shaped ravine leading down to the British lines.

Beaumont Hamel is also close to the location of the Hawthorn Crater caused by the massive explosion that at 07.20 on July 1st signalled the start of the Battle of the Somme.

The famous picture of the mine exploded on Hawthorn Ridge. Taken by 2nd Lt. Ernest Brooks.

The famous picture of the mine exploded on Hawthorn Ridge. A still from the movie by Geoffrey Malins.

Further information on the battle can be seen here.

More useful information of the area can be found here.

Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here