The Butte de Warlencourt, once a strongpoint in the German army’s defences on the Somme front, is set to be restored as a visitor attraction for the Centenary of World War I, reports the Daily Mail.
The Western Front Association (WFA) bought the site 23 years ago for £7,500 from a local farmer to save it from developers.
The WFA now plans to restore the pathway to the summit, install new walkways and handrails, and also place memorial benches around the site. It will also mount information boards on the mound explaining its historical significance.
At 250ft the Butte gave German commanders clear views across the battlefields of 1916.
The Mail quotes lieutenant colonel Roland Boys Bradford, of the Durham Light Infantry, who was awarded a Victoria Cross for his role in an attempt to scale the mound and seize it from the Germans.
“The Butte de Warlencourt had become an obsession,’ he wrote. ‘Everybody wanted it. It loomed large in the minds of the soldiers in the forward area and they attributed many of their misfortunes to it. The newspaper correspondents talked about “that miniature Gibraltar”.’
WFA spokesman Bob Paterson added: ‘Having saved it from destruction this piece of France will continue to be preserved as a fitting memorial to those of all nations who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the fields that surround it.’
The WFA is appealing for sponsorship and donations towards the Butte de Warlencourt restoration project. There is more about the Butte in an article on the WFA’s website, here.
To read the original story from the Daily Mail, click here.