Bouchavesnes Bergen

Australians on the Somme

This village was totally destroyed during World War I. As with its neighbour Rancourt a few kilometres to the north the strategic importance of the village lay in its position on the main Bapaume to Peronne Road.

On 12 September 1916, the Chasseurs Regiment led by former Minister of War: Messimy charged with fixed bayonets and took the German position which was close to the present main road.

The following day, the French advance was brought to a halt by a German artillery bombardment. This was where the French front line was to remain until the end of the battle of the Somme. The French had however managed to advance 10 kilometres from their start position at Maricourt on 1 July 1916.

Australian troops liberated the village on 4 September 1918. To the left of the entrance to the village stands a statue of Field Marshall Ferdinand Foch, which was inaugurated in the presence of the Allied commander.

Marshal Foch

The statue was funded by Wallem Haackon, a wealthy Norwegian industrialist, and a plaque on the local school commemorates this gesture with a portrait of the donor.

It is said that when Haackon asked Marshal Foch what the decisive point in the Somme had been he had replied: Bouchavesnes.

Haackon's native town, Bergen, also contributed money to the reconstruction of Bouchavesnes, and after 1918 the village added Bergen to its name.


Mont St Quentin

A short distance along the road brings you to Mont St Quentin where you will find a statue to the Australian Forces who fought there in 1918.

The Australian Statue at Mont St Quentin

The original statue was destroyed by the German's in the Second Woirld War as they objected to the soldier crushing a German Eagle beneath his feet.

The Australian Statue at Mont St Quentin