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Destruction of Great War vestiges


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#1 mebu

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:42 AM

Following the recent demolition of the large British bunker at Noreuil and others, some local military historians are petitioning the local authorities (Pas de Calais) to prevent any further destructions. It is accepted that some demolitions, such as the recent destruction of several Australian bunkers at Franvillers which stood in the way of the new bypass, cannot be stopped, but some certainly can be prevented.

Attached is a copy of the letters, with the address, being sent. We are requested to send a copy to the given address. I can give an approximate translation if anyone needs it.

Would anyone who would like to help limit the removal of such vestiges please help by producing and sending the letter.

Many Thanks, Peter

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#2 Paul Reed

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:54 AM

Peter - the first part of the contents of this letter refer to a specific example (I presume at Noreuil?) which if repeated in a number of letters of protest against future development might not make much sense? To simply 'cut and paste' the above might not have the desired affect in France? Personally I wouldn't use the last line which states "I hope this letter arrives in in your hands, rather than being destroyed or thrown in the bin as is all too common with French administration." If a Frenchman wrote to a UK civil servant in those terms I know what the result would be!

I quite agree that these vestiges should be preserved but wouldn't this best go through something like the WFA or Peter Barton and the All Party Wargraves Group?

#3 Siege Gunner

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 12:13 PM

I think Paul is being rather too generous. The wording of that letter is absolutely guaranteed to offend and alienate the Président and the Conseil Général, making it even more difficult for more temperate and diplomatic approaches to engage their sympathy.

Hopefully no-one will send a letter they do not understand, and no-one who can understand it will think it is a constructive contribution to the cause.

Mick

#4 MelPack

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 12:14 PM

QUOTE (Paul Reed @ Jan 22 2009, 11:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"I hope this letter arrives in in your hands, rather than being destroyed or thrown in the bin as is all too common with French administration." If a Frenchman wrote to a UK civil servant in those terms I know what the result would be!



My eyes popped out on stalks at that one as well!

regards

Mel

#5 AussiesinArras

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 12:53 PM

Hi,

I was rather annoyed about what happened with the Bunker at Noreuil. These places are of interest to more than just the local farmer/owner. That being said, I also acknowledge and respect the land-owners rights, but ........., please!!!!!. Ooops, Sil vous Plait.

Currently, I am trying to get the archeology and history section of the Ville d'Arras interested in WW1 artifacts and then see if I can make an approach to Pas de Calais (and Departement Nord). Don't like my chances but I want to have a go at it.

I recently found a 1.5 x 1.9 x 1.6m deep collapse in the field that was on the old German frontline at Bullecourt, straight out from the Digger Memorial but could not get anyone to pay any particular interest and as such the farmer filled it in. Damn, if only I was 20 years younger, I would have asked the farmer for permission to have a preliminary dig to see if there was a concrete entrance to be discovered.

But perhaps, I am only dreaming. Us greybeards tend to spend more time fussing about than getting things done.

Peter

#6 mebu

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:17 PM

Yes, I agree with the apparent tone, I thought it a bit of a rant.....but it is from Frenchman to Frenchman, maybe not the way we would write to local government (although we may think unkind thoughts...).

Anyone who wants to re-phrase, amend or alter, please do so.

Paul, yes I agree with your suggestion re another avenue, copies are already with Stand To and Bulletin editors.

I think the important thing is that as many persons as possible send their disagreement about destructions.

Regards, Peter

#7 roel22

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:16 PM

QUOTE (AussiesinArras @ Jan 22 2009, 01:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I recently found a 1.5 x 1.9 x 1.6m deep collapse in the field that was on the old German frontline at Bullecourt, straight out from the Digger Memorial but could not get anyone to pay any particular interest and as such the farmer filled it in. Damn, if only I was 20 years younger, I would have asked the farmer for permission to have a preliminary dig to see if there was a concrete entrance to be discovered.


I wouldn't bee too sure about farmers being as excited as you are, Peter.
Late 80's (when I was 20 years younger!) I found the remnants of a concrete entrance behind a farm near Menin Road, Ypres. Very excited, I started dreaming about exploring a forgotten tunnel full of artefacts, that had never been visited since 1918. To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before.
I couldn't imagine why the farmer never had checked the tunnel underneath the concrete. "And what am I going to find there?", he asked. "A flooded tunnel. And probably more tunnels. Pfff."
He basically didn't care. WW1 may be a hobby for us, for farmers it's mostly a nuisance.

Roel

#8 Peter Doyle

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 12:53 AM

QUOTE (Paul Reed @ Jan 22 2009, 11:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I quite agree that these vestiges should be preserved but wouldn't this best go through something like the WFA or Peter Barton and the All Party Wargraves Group?


As co-secretary of the group mentioned (with Peter B.), I'd be interested to hear more details, as I know the membership likes to be kept abreast of developments.
Peter D.



#9 mebu

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 09:26 AM

Hello Peter, you probably got the gist of it in the first posting: some local historians are writing to the local council, Pas de Calais, to protest about destruction of vestiges, I think the recent demolition of the British bunker at Noreuil upset them. I think they were also upset that the demolition of the Aussie bunkers at Franvillers, not all of which were in the direct line of the new road, together with other removals which most of us have seen over the years.
I was asked by a friend over there and said I would circulate a copy letter to forum, WFA etc and hopefully increase the number sent.

I will be over there next weekend when I hope to get more info/update. Any development, I'll let your group know, although I suspect it may fizzle out as most contacts with local government seem to.

Regards ,Peter

#10 Peter Doyle

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:52 AM

Thanks, keep me posted, if you will.
Best wishes
Peter

#11 matthew lucas

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 12:20 PM

as the historical nformation officer for the wfa, am very interested in this and saddened. PM or message me any extra details you have. also put up on the wfa forum and message me on that, so i can show the committe which is meeting in about 2 weeks. we have a few issues like this to go through, and commitee wise, it appears its the way it is done.
matt
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#12 Martin Brown

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 01:19 PM

QUOTE (Paul Reed @ Jan 22 2009, 11:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I quite agree that these vestiges should be preserved but wouldn't this best go through something like the WFA or Peter Barton and the All Party Wargraves Group?


Cases like this continue to strengthen my belief that we need a European heritage designation, comparable to World Heritage Site status, but obviously not quite so exclusive. Sites proposed for protection would be those of European significance, reflecting our common heritage, such as perhaps, medieval monastic sites, or sites of Great War significance. This would elevate their status and, to an extent, avoid the problem of "orphan heritage" where British remains in France may not be accorded the protection that domestic remains would receive. Just a thought!

#13 geraint

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:41 PM

Having read this for the first time tonight; 9 months later; I'd be very interested to know what has happened and whether any other artifacts have been destroyed.

#14 osvaldo

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:18 AM

I know i'm really late to this but where abouts in noreuil were the bunker/s ?

#15 trenchtrotter

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:46 PM

In the heart of the village. It was one large double fronted bunker. There was an excellant wartime image of it with two MG 08/15s propped against the wall and a British soldier. You could do a now and then photo. Alas now gone.

TT

#16 osvaldo

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:55 AM

Any idea where i can the image ? tried googling but got nothing.

#17 trenchtrotter

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:12 PM

The image is in the battleground Europe book "The Hindenberg Line". I have a photo (non digital) at home taken a few years back. If no one beats me will scan and post later this week. TT

#18 osvaldo

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:27 PM

If you could that would be great.