51st (Highland) Division Monument (Beaumont-Hamel)

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51st Highland Division Memorial at Beaumont-Hamel
United Kingdom
For The 51st (Highland) Division during the First World War
Unveiled 28 September 1924
Location Coordinates: 50°4′25″N 2°38′53″E / 50.07361°N 2.64806°E / 50.07361; 2.64806
near Beaumont-Hamel, France
Designed by George Henry Paulin
La a'Blair s'math n Cairdean

The 51st (Highland) Division Memorial at Beaumont-Hamel is a memorial in France commemorating the soldiers of the 51st (Highland) Division killed during World War I. The memorial is located near Y Ravine on the 84-acre (340,000 m2) Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial site. This position had been the scene of the Division's first major victory on 13 November 1916 during the Battle of the Ancre, the closing stage of the Battle of the Somme.

Memorial[edit]

The ground originally donated by the commune of Beaumont-Hamel to the Veterans of the 51st (Highland) Division, for the purposes of a memorial, was found to be unstable because of the many dugouts on the site.[1] Lieutenant Colonel Nangle, the former Roman Catholic padre of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment who was largely responsible for the establishment of the Beaumont Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, offered the association a location overlooking Y Ravine within the boundaries of the site.[1][2] Y Ravine was a forked gully (hence its name) which contained a formidably-fortified warren of defensive positions that had been the scene of a stunning victory by the Highland Division on 13 November 1916.[3][4]

The sculptor selected for the 51st Division Monument was George Henry Paulin.[5] The base of the monument consists of rough blocks of Rubislaw granite which were produced by Garden & Co. in Aberdeen, Scotland, and are assembled in a pyramid form.[1] Company Sergeant Major Bob Rowan of the Glasgow Highlanders was used as the model for the kilted figure atop the memorial.[1] The figure faces east towards the village of Beaumont-Hamel. On the front of the memorial is a plaque inscribed in Gaelic: La a'Blair s'math n Cairdean which in English translates into "Friends are good on the day of battle".[6][7]

The 51st Division Memorial was unveiled on 28 September 1924 by Marshal of France Ferdinand Foch, the former Allied Supreme Commander.[8] The memorial was dedicated by the Reverend Sinclair, who had been a chaplain with the Division. The pipers of the 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders played Flowers of the Forest during the event. The memorial was re-dedicated on 13 July 1958, the front panel now also commemorating those of the Division who died during the Second World War.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Beaumont Hamel Newfoundland Memorial". Veterans Affairs Canada. 17 June 2008. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ Nicholson p. 518
  3. ^ Bewsher p. 100
  4. ^ Gilbert p. 235
  5. ^ Dolman p. 532
  6. ^ Robertson
  7. ^ Salmond p. 271
  8. ^ Salmond p. 270

References[edit]

  • Gilbert, Martin (2006). The Somme: Heroism and Horror in the First World War. New York: Henry Hold & Co. ISBN 0-8050-8127-5. 
  • Nicholson, Gerald W. L. (2006) [1964]. The Fighting Newfoundlander: A History of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Carleton Library; 209 (2nd ed.). Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-3133-5. 
  • Bewsher, Frederick William (1921). The history of the 51st (Highland) Division, 1914–1918. Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons. 
  • Salmond, James Bell (1953). The history of the 51st Highland Division, 1939–1945. Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons. 
  • Robertson, Colin McLeod (1924). 51st (Highland) Division War Memorial – Beaumont-Hamel (Somme). Glasgow: Aird & Coghill.