Ulster Memorial Tower

The Ulster Memorial Tower stands on what was the German front line during the Battle of the Somme, July to November 1916. It was erected on the site of the Schwaben Redoubt, a strongly fortified position, which the Ulster Division eventually captured from the enemy. It is opposite Thiepval Wood from where the 36th (Ulster) Division made its historic charge on the 1st July 1916, and is in close proximity to the village of Thiepval.

The Tower stands some 70 feet tall and is a lasting tribute to the men of Ulster who gave their lives during the First World War. The Tower is more specifically regarded as a memorial to the Officers and Men of the 36th (Ulster) Division and of the Sons of Ulster in other forces, who laid down their lives, and of all their Comrades-in-Arms, who, by Divine Grace, were spared to testify to their glorious deeds.- its position on the battlefield is a permanent reminder of the Division’s heroic charge at the Battle of the Somme on the opening day of that great offensive.

The Ulster Memorial Tower was the first official memorial to be erected on the Western Front and was dedicated on 19th November 1921.

The Tower itself is a replica of a well known Ulster landmark, Helen’s Tower, which stands on the Dufferin and Ava Estate at Clandeboye, County Down. On the completion of Helen’s Tower in 1867 it was dedicated by Lord Dufferin to his beloved mother Helen, Baroness Dufferin, who was the grand-daughter of the playwright Richard Brindsley Sheridan. It was in the shadow of Helen’s Tower that the men of the newly formed Ulster Division drilled and trained on the outbreak of war. For many of the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division the distinctive sight of Helen’s Tower rising above the surrounding countryside was one of their last abiding memories of home before their departure for England and subsequently the Western Front.

Location: Route de St.Pierre Divion, 80300, Thiepval, France. Latitude 50.0652671 Longitude 2.675322899999969

Contact details: Tel: (0033) 3 22 74 87 14, email:ulstertower@sommeassociation.com

Directions: from Albert take the D50 North, at Aveluy first crossroads take D20 East, continue until the D20 meets the D151, turn left North onto the D151 direction of Thiepval, continue through Authuille, at Thiepval crossroads take a left onto the D73 North and the Ulster Tower is about 1km on your right. There is parking near the gate of the Ulster Tower.

From Arras, take the D917 south to the outskirts of Bapaume, then a right turn onto the D929, at Pozieres take a right onto the D73 to Thiepval, drive through the village, the Ulster Tower is on your right.

Opening times
The Ulster Memorial Tower is lived in during the year by Somme Association staff and is open from 1st March until 30th November, Tuesday to Sunday daily, 10am until 5pm. Closed on Mondays all year round. Visitors have access to the Tower Memorial Room.

Facilities: The Visitor Centre has a café and small museum area on the site where souvenirs and refreshments can be bought. The café can cater for large groups if contacted in advance, there are toilets also.

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Thiepval Wood

Thiepval Wood is the actual front line battle ground for the 36th (Ulster) Division, who fought over the land during the Battle of the Somme; the original trenches have been carefully uncovered and are continually undergoing preservation. The Connaught Cemetery is at the edge of the wood. Under French law Thiepval Wood is Private Property, used by the local French population for various activities such as timber gathering, hunting, etc. Anyone entering Thiepval Wood without the permission of the Somme Association will be trespassing.

Location: Route de St.Pierre Divion, 80300, Thiepval, France, Thiepval wood lies adjacent to The Ulster Tower, Latitude 50.0652671 Longitude 2.675322899999969

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Opening Times

Anyone wishing to go on a tour of the wood must book in advance through the Ulster Memorial Tower Visitor Centre as they must be accompanied by a guide. Guided tours are usually conducted daily, open from 1st March until 30th November, Tuesday to Sunday daily, 10am until 5pm. Visitors have access only with a guide. No tours on Mondays.

Contact The Ulster Memorial Tower Visitor Centre for more information.

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