Remembrance Day sites to visit in Northern France 

November 7, 2022

Remembrance Day is a time to honour the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces. We pause to remember the brave soldiers that fought for our country. In Northern France, you can find many sites that commemorate World War I and World War II. These memorials have been built to link the past to the present – allowing us to remember and respect those that fought and died.  

Dunkirk Memorial 

The Dunkirk Memorial stands at the entrance to the British War Graves section of Dunkirk Town Cemetery. It commemorates over 4500 casualties of the British Expeditionary Force – most of whom fell prior to and during the Battle of Dunkirk. The memorial also honours those who died later in captivity and who have no known grave.   

This peaceful and moving memorial was completed and unveiled in 1957 by Queen Elizabeth in front of hundreds of veterans and the family members of those who died. 

“Today we pay our tribute to the undying memory of all those brave men, soldiers, sailors, and airmen, who died in the hour of seeming defeat in order that in the fullness of time it could be turned to victory. Many of them rest in honoured graves, tended by skilled and reverent hands, others in the swaying fortunes of swift battle lay where they fell, and have no known resting place. They are commemorated in this beautiful setting amid the scent of English flowers in a comradeship of 4,700 gallant soldiers.” 

– Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, 29 June 1957 

Allies Memorial 

The Dunkirk evacuation (also known as ‘The Miracle of Dunkirk’) involved a last-minute rescue of over 300,000 allied soldiers trapped near the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940. Many ordinary British civilians risked their lives and sailed over on personal yachts and fishing boats to pick up trapped soldiers and return them to Britain. 

Located by the beach, this memorial commemorates the pilots, sailors and soldiers of the French and Allied armies who sacrificed themselves in battle. The beach of Malo-les-Bains holds its place in history, and every day at low tide, a few of the shipwrecks will also become visible.  

Notre-Dame-de-Lorette International Memorial 

The Notre-Dame-de-Lorette International Memorial (also known as the Ring of Remembrance) is located 15 minutes North of Arras. The Ring of Remembrance is a 328-metre oval, engraved with the names of 580,000 soldiers who fell during the Great War.  

This memorial is a very powerful symbol of unity and eternity. Almost 40% of Great War soldiers have no known grave. This monument gives those fallen a place of remembrance, where their names will be preserved.  

The Somme Battlefields 

Whilst over 100 years have passed since the Battle of the Somme, the region has not changed dramatically. Newfoundland Memorial Park has allowed the ground to be left undisturbed, meaning the front-line trenches to be clearly seen on both sides. You can also find memorials to honour those that died on the first day of the Somme – 1st July 1916. 

Lochnagar Mine Crater 

On the morning of July 1916, seventeen large mines exploded under German lines, with intentions that it would destroy their trenches and make British attacks more straightforward. The impact of these explosions created the Lochnagar crater, and the extensiveness of it gives you an indication of the explosion that occurred. There is a large wooden cross next to the crater, where visitors can leave wreaths and pay their respects.  

Beaumont Hamel British Cemetery 

Located in the Somme region of France, the Beaumont Hamel British Cemetery commemorates British and Commonwealth soldiers who fought and died in the Battle of the Somme. Established in 1916, it is a small but beautiful cemetery, overlooking Hawthorne Ridge.  

Vimy Ridge Memorial 

This striking memorial was built to honour the Canadian troops that lost their lives during the battle of Vimy Ridge. Even though the battle itself was successful, many lives were lost during the fight. Inscribed with over 11,000 names of Canadian soldiers, you can visit this monument at Givenchy-en-Gohelle, Northern France.  

Click here to find out more about our crossings to Northern France.

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