Bayonet Trench

Discussion in 'Todays Battlegrounds' started by liverpool annie, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    This place fascinates me ...... I'd love to go and see it ! :)

    Among many revered memorials on the battlefield is the "Bayonet Trench" in Verdun - on 23rd June 1916 - soldiers of the 137th Inf. Reg. were buried alive by artillery fire - while waiting with fixed bayonets to go over the top ..... the bayonets visible above the collapsed trench. It was decided to leave them in peace, and to build a memorial covering the trench.

    Attached Files:

  2. Hill 40

    Hill 40 New Member

    You know that it's just a myth/legend don't you, Annie? The story appealed to an American visitor in the 1920's and the myth (and memorial) was born.

    For many years now, the "bayonets" have just been spikes set on concrete squares buried in the sand (it used to have real (unattached) bayonets ,but these were nicked years ago). On my last visit (last summer), even these had gone!

    (and (IMO) the "memorial" is an awful piece of architecture anyway...reminiscant of a 1960's parking lot!!!)
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Ah don't tell me that !! .... I thought the legend had a ring of truth to it !! :rolleyes:
  4. Oh yes Annie, a legend, a beautiful legend, but...a legend:)
  5. Hill 40

    Hill 40 New Member

    i believe the legend was born in 1919 when a senior officer of the 137th IR (Col.Collet?) visited the site and noticed rifles sticking out of the ground, some with bayonets attached. He wanted to build a memorial on the site, but the press got hold of the story and fired up the public's imagination andwhat happened was the ugly thing we see today (financed by George Rand - the American I mentioned earlier) which was unveiled on 8th Dec 1920.

    There are no bodies contained within the memorial and, when the bodies that were there were excavated and exhumed (9 of them, I think), they were all found to be lying down (it appears that the Germans had buried them in a communication trench (quite a common occurance) after taking the ground and had used rifles to mark their positions).
  6. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

  7. Jeff Simmons

    Jeff Simmons New Member

    The scale and intensity of Verdun makes the whole thing almost mythological. It is no wonder that legends about it still survive more than 90 years later.

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