Holiday in the Somme - Albert

At the end of October 2013 I went on holiday to the Somme region of France with my family.

We stayed in a gite in the quiet village of Carnoy.

While we were there we visited many sites associated with The Great War of 1914 - 1918.

 

Albert Basilica

The town of Albert was a key location in The Battle of the Somme, and was situated three miles from the front lines.

The statue of Mary and the infant Jesus - designed by sculptor Albert Roze and known as the "Golden Virgin" or the "Golden Madonna" - on top of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Brebières was hit by a shell on January 15, 1915, and slumped to a near-horizontal position, where however it remained until further shelling in 1918 destroyed the tower. The Germans said that whoever made the statue fall would lose the war, and a number of legends surrounding the "Leaning Virgin" developed among German, French, and British soldiers. The Leaning Virgin became an especially familiar image to the thousands of British soldiers who fought at the Battle of the Somme (1916), many of whom passed through Albert.

The German army recaptured the town in March 1918 during the Spring Offensive. In order to prevent the Germans from using the church tower as an observation post the British directed their bombardment against the basilica. The statue fell in April 1918 and was never recovered.

In August 1918 the Germans were again forced to retreat, and the British reoccupied Albert until the end of the war.

Albert Basilica
Albert Basilica

Albert

Albert Basilica

Albert was completely reconstructed after the war, including widening and re-orienting the town's main streets. The Basilica, however, was faithfully rebuilt according to its original design by Eduoard Duthoit, the son of the architect who had overseen its construction in 1885-95. The present statue is an exact replica of Roze's original design.

The mural was painted by Albert Mac Carlton, and was inaugurated on 29 June 1996.  It shows the damaged Golden Madonna statue.

Albert

Albert

Albert

The central hall of the railway station has a plane suspended from the ceiling.

It is a Potez 36/14, registration F-PHZN, built in 1957.

This model was a two-seat plane with folding wings to make it easier to store or tow behind a vehicle.

Albert Railway Station
Albert Railway Station
Albert Railway Station
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
The Musée Somme 1916 is dedicated to the Battle of the Somme in 1916.  The entrance is alongside the Basilica, and the museum itself is housed in the tunnels that run under the streets of Albert.
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
Musée Somme 1916 at Albert
   
Albert Mural
   
         

Use the buttons below to visit the other pages in this series