Happy New Year and December 2015 News

Posted on 31st December 2015 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

Happy New Year and December 2015 News

A festive THANK YOU to everyone who sent cards and messages over the Christmas period. We look forward to meeting again in 2016 with new stories to share. We would also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

The Year in Review

It has been a wonderful year here at No.fifty6. We have welcomed so many lovely people through our door.  Chats around the table, the shared love of history and for those new to The Somme, discovering this amazing area which is unique that keeps us so motivated. We also have many a laugh and the odd glass of wine along the way! We have made new friends and reacquainted with old friends. This year we welcomed 14 different nationalities to No.fifty6, proving just how far the desire to explore the Somme reaches and in so many ways, what a small world we live in. We like to think the lads who lie in The Somme fields now so peaceful, would be proud to know that so many people come to pay their respects and increase their knowledge of events 100 years ago.

2015 was also the year we started keeping our chickens. The girls have made a quirky addition to No.fifty6 and even with winter upon us our happy girls are still laying beautiful eggs daily.

Now it is time for deep cleaning and maintenance at no.fifty6 to welcome 2016.

December 2015

On December 8th we had 2 different families staying with us – one from England and one from Northern Ireland. They each had a story to tell – of their relative who was killed on The Somme exactly 100 years ago on 8th December 1915. Two different families, born in different parts of of the UK, united in a fateful day. Tom and David Moore from Northern Ireland remembered their Great Uncle Joshua Moore of the Royal Irish Fusiliers who was shot by a sniper and is buried in Sucrerie Military Cemetery, Colincamps. Sylvia and Paul remembered Ralph John Dee who was born in Avening, Gloucestershire and died in shellfire while working on a trench with the 70th Field Company Royal Engineers. He is buried in Le Touret. Both young men were just 19. Both died under enemy gunfire far from home.

On December 12th we attended the Treve de Noel in Pozieres Church which commemorates the Christmas Truce of 1914. The evening started with the congregation each lighting a candle in memory for the Paris attacks the preceding month. Carols were sung and poems read in 3 languages (Julie reading the English translation of Boris Vian’s Le Temps de Vivre) and a glass of friendship was enjoyed afterwards. It is a special way to kick off the festive season.

Somme Centenary

We cannot believe we are at the start of the Somme Centenary year. Whilst we remember the events on The Somme every day as we look out of our windows and walk through the pathways now so peaceful, there is no doubt this point of history which marks 100 years of the costliest battle for the Allied armies is a unique time for reflection and commemoration. We will continue to keep you updated as plans for the Centenary develop.

Those who have been successful in the Thiepval ballot have been notified (as have those who were unsuccessful) and applications for the Lochnagar crater ceremony are still open.

There will be an exclusion zone around the area over the 1st July period making access and egress extremely difficult.

You can find a representation of the secure area, into which only ticketed and accredited persons and security services can enter on 1 July, here: 

The map marks in green those CWGC sites which are likely to fall within the exclusion zone and will therefore not be accessible while the cordon is in place on 1 July. This is a representative version and may be subject to change. 
The only vehicles entering this area will be the shuttle buses carrying guests from the park and ride locations to the official ceremonies. Guests will not be permitted to drive directly to the sites, nor to arrive on foot, as they may have done in previous years. Guests staying with us will be able to get to and from our premises.

 On 23rd July 2016 there will be an official commemoration of the Battle of Pozieres. Tickets for Australian citizens can be applied for at:


 141 days: Thiepval

To mark the 141 day duration of the Battle of The Somme, The Royal British Legion will be hosting a daily service of commemoration at the Thiepval Memorial, from 2 July to 17 November 2016 at noon.

Practical Matters

We have published our room tariffs for 2016 on our website. We have made a small increase to our rates for the year ahead. A single occupancy room is €59 per night and a twin/double room €98 per night. Our dinner rate remains the same at €25 per person. Our rates include breakfast and the local tourist tax.

Thanks to our mayor and the local council who want to make our village as safe as possible, we now have 2 radar speed indicators along the D929 Route de Bapaume at the entrance and exit of our village. This will help in raising awareness that the speed limit in villages is 50 kilometres per hour (approximately 30 mph) and it is important that this speed limit is adhered to for safety.  They are not cameras but speed indicators and we ask all our guests to observe the speed limit. 

Comments (4)

Martyn Newell says:

Happy New Year and I am sure you are looking forward to an exciting 2016

Dan Steele says:

Julie & David

Happy New Year for 2016.

Outstanding Article in December about the two soldiers.
Many thanks for looking after Tom & David.
They told me what they wanted & I had no hesitation in giving them your details.

Joshua Moore is Robert Donaldson great uncle.
Ref 100th.(As discussed)
My Pipers would love to play at the school.
Could you let me know if that is a green light.

Your monthly bulletins are second to none. Please keep sending them. Thank you.

Please keep in touch.

Above all take care!


sandy biback says:

Happy New Year to you both and the chickens. Thanks for bringing news of the area. Stephen & I will never forget our time with you and Peter of Single Step Tours. We will never know every story and you help bring them to us thru the newsletter

Frank Sumsion says:

Thanks for keeping me updated and a Happy New Year to you both, sorry that I shall not be with Mike and Kath for the Centenary but you will all be in my thoughts, 56 is very special,to me for the memories we shared. I was interested to see that the battle for Poziers started on July 23rd 1916 my birthday from 1926 it will be my 90th this year.
Best wishes to you both, Frank S xx

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