Battlefied Somme Picardie : Guesthouse B&B for memory.

 

4th Division Memorial, Bellenglise, near St Quentin

 

The easternmost of the AIF Memorials, this obelisk stands on high ground where the Hindenburg line once barred the allied approach. From Peronne, take the N44 and E44 towards Vermand and turn left onto the D33. The Memorial is located on a farm road at the hamlet of le Petit Arbre, beyond the town of Vadancourt

 

 

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  Maissemy is a village about 5 kilometres north-west of St.Quentin and about two kilometres north of the small town of Vermand. Vadencourt British Cemetery lies to the north of Maissemy and is on the west side of the road from Vermand to Bellenglise.

Maissemy passed into British hands in 1917. It was captured by the enemy on the 21st March, 1918, in spite of a strong resistance by the 24th Division and the 2/4th Royal Berks, and retaken by the 1st Division on the following 15th September. At the beginning of October, the IX Corps Main Dressing Station was at Vadencourt. Vadencourt British Cemetery (called at first Vadencourt New British Cemetery) was begun in August, 1917, by fighting units, and used until March, 1918; and in October and November, 1918, it was used by the 5th, 47th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations (at Bihecourt, on the road to Vermand) as well as by Field Ambulances. These original graves are in Plots I-III; and after the Armistice those plots were enlarged, and Plots IV and V made, by the concentration of graves from the surrounding battlefields and from a few small burial grounds. These scattered graves were mainly of April, 1917, and March, April, September and October, 1918, and many of them represented casualties of the 59th (North Midland) Division. At the same time 4 French, 31 American and 28 German Graves, all of October, 1918, were removed to other cemeteries.

The cemeteries from which British graves were removed to Vadencourt British Cemetery included these two: Vadencourt Chateau Cemetery, a little further West, in which nine soldiers from the United Kingdom and six from Canada were buried in April-August, 1917. Vendelles Churchyard Extension, made by the 59th Division in April, 1917, and containing the graves of 36 soldiers from the United Kingdom.

more about : http://ww1cemeteries.com/ww1frenchextension/vadencourt.htm

 

About the Castle Vadancourt :

During First world war, the castle has been destroyed, under german bombs.

At this time, the Z.A.B (zivilarbeiterbataillons) were created in november of 1916.

The Castle was the place of 1ere Cie of ZAB 40, and 500 prisonners were in, under Lieutnant Wetzel.

 Témoignage :

Réquisitions, atrocité collectives, représailles et travaux forcés se sont multipliés. Dès 1914, les civils sont devenus pour l’occupant une main d’œuvre corvéable pour l’effort de guerre notamment pour la reconstruction d’infrastructures détruites lors des combats. Quand ils résistaient, les civils (et parfois même les femmes et les jeunes filles) étaient déportés dans des camps de travaux forcés. Ils formaient alors les ZAB (ZivilArbeiter-Bataillone) et portaient un signe distinctif : le brassard rouge...certains l’ont gardé jusqu’en 1918 ! Les conditions de vie de ces Brassards rouges étaient semblables à celles des prisonniers des camps de déportation. Monsieur George Cambier avait refusé de se soumettre à la volonté des Allemands, il a été puni. Avec un demi-millier d’autres civils, il s’est vu emmener « comme un bagnard ». Ils étaient emmenés là où la main d’œuvre était utile. Dans le secteur de Vadancourt notamment (Aisne). Il raconte les coups de crosse, les morsures de chien et les exécutions sommaires en arrivant à la gare. Faim et sévices les attendaient. « On se lavait dans le café du matin, et cela fait il fallait bien le boire car nous manquions même d’eau ». Ceux qui refusaient encore de travailler étaient enfermés dans des caves inondées des cabanes remplies de fumier nauséabond. Tous les 3 jours ils recevaient un litre de soupe sans pain. Au bout de 20 jours ils craquaient. D’autres étaient enfermés dans des caisses. Certains sont devenus fous. L’hôpital bien sûr était un abattoir et les morts se comptaient par centaines.