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By Michael Renshaw

Beaucourt is without doubt one of the final elements of the conflict of the Somme nonetheless to be lined, formerly, by way of the luxurious Battleground Europe sequence. It used to be additionally one of many final activities of the conflict of the Somme, 1916.The eventual trap of Beaucourt in addition to Beaumont Hamel pressured the Germans to retreat to their new line of defense often called the Hindenburg Line. Readers are taken on a voyage of discovery during the village of Beaucourt and alongside the banks of the Ancre towards Cambrai.

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Beyond that was the River Ancre and a series of lakes and marshy ground over which it was not possible to dig any trenches or defensive positions as everything just filled up with water. On the extreme left hand flank, the Divisional boundary joined with that of the 29/Division at a small salient known as Mary Redan, an exposed position over a flatter terrain with no natural cover (see map 1). 20am the great mine exploded on the nearby Hawthorn Ridge which only served to alert the Germans in the opposing trenches.

The remaining battalion, the 14/Hampshire, had the most men at 570 all ranks. The 116 Brigade occupied the right sector of the battle front, from the railway line on their right to their left where it joined 117 Brigade sector was about 600 yards in length. The two front line battalions were the 11/Royal Sussex on the right and the 14/Hampshire on the left. Only the 13/Sussex was in support and there was no available reserve. In the valley by the railway and river, the 4/5/Black Watch were attached from the 118 Brigade to form a defensive flank and protect the right of the 11/Royal Sussex.

I was a sniper in the 9th Fusiliers, Blackers Boys, the best trained men in the British Army. We moved up on the day before 30th June… I was sent down to the dugout for a sleep but the noise of the mortars kept me awake. When it was daylight we moved out to the trenches and had a bite to eat. There was a fellow Hobbs from Lurgan and would you believe it, he was shaving. When he was finished he took out a clean pair of socks and put them on just as if he was back in barracks. Anyway we moved up under our barrage… As it lifted we were in and through the German lines before they could recover.

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