The Rhodesian Soldier

Anglo-French Thiepval Memorial, the Somme, France

The massive arched structure commemorates both the 1916 Anglo-French Somme offensive, as well as the more than 72,000 British and South African soldiers with no known grave who fell on the Somme from July 1916 to 20 March 1918. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the 150 feet high building dominates the surrounding farmlands. To overcome the warren of tunnels and dugouts at this part of the German line, the memorial stands on a 10 feet thick concrete raft built 19 feet underground. Opened by the Prince of Wales on 31 July 1932, it is the largest British war memorial in the world.

Beyond the memorial, there is a small military cemetery with the graves of 300 Commonwealth and 300 French soldiers, the latter distinguishable from the standard CWGC headstone by cross-shaped headstones, most with the single French word " INCONNU". Panel 4C carries the names of the fallen of the four South African Infantry Regiments. The photos are all my own.