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Local Life - Wigan - May 2018

Wigan's FREE local lifestyle magazine.

56 was like for the

56 was like for the soldiers at the front but also that of the civilians of the town, which was occupied by enemy troops for two separate periods during the Great War. This absorbing museum follows the chronology of the war and uses carefully selected artefacts to illustrate military, cultural and social life. There aren’t many places in the Somme area where the ground has been undisturbed since the end of the Great War, and that’s why the Newfoundland Memorial Park is a popular choice for battlefield visitors. Shell-holes and the trenches of both sides can still be clearly seen and even walked along. The Newfoundland Regiment suffered appalling losses here in July 1916 and after the War ended, Newfoundland purchased the land, and the area is now a Canadian National Historic Site. One of the most impressive sites to visit is the Wellington Quarry in Arras, which tells the story leading up to the battle of Arras on April 9th, 1917. After a series of losses in Arras, the decision was taken to tunnel under Arras in the chalk quarries that were originally dug out centuries before, in order to hide 24,000 troops near the German front lines in readiness for a new attack. This work, mainly undertaken by Maori miners, took a whole six months and a chapel, power station, light railway, communications room, a hospital and a well were all created in the pale, flickering electric light and visitors can experience an unforgettable underground tour illustrating the horrors and futility of war. There are number of tour operators who offer Battlefield coach tours including Leger Holidays, who are the UK’s leading provider of escorted tours. You can pick up a Leger Holidays brochure at Marken Travel, 200 Main Street, Billinge WN5 7PE or just call 01744 893291 and a brochure will be posted out to you.

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