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A Visitor's Guide, The Battles of Arras South...


...Bullcourt, Monchy-le-Preux, Wancourt and the Valley of the Scarpe, from Pen and Sword



Title: A Visitor's Guide, The Battles of Arras South

Author: Jon Cooksey & Jerry Murland

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-52674-239-1

A very handy visitor's guide to the WW1 battlefields as suggested by the title, to the South of the French town of Arras. A 134-page soft-cover book containing 8 neatly planned tours, a mix designed for walking, cycling, and/or driving.
The Introduction highlights that the battlefields around Arras are less popular for battlefield visitors than alternatives such as Ypres and the Somme, despite the importance to the British Army of the battles around Arras. Each section details a tour, clearly giving map co-ordinates, distance to cover, gradient, suitability (walk/cycle/car) and the appropriate map. The battlefields covered are Feuchy Redoubt: Battery Valley & Observation Ridge: Roeux: Telegraph Hill & 'The Harp': Monchy-le-Preux: Wancourt: Bullecourt and finally a more general Southern Car Tour. Each section has some historical background and then notes on what you will find still to see and where. Plenty of notes on the various cemeteries you will come across, with Commonwealth, French and German sites all included. One of the Appendices also includes notes on where you will find memorials to the various Victoria Cross holders that you can look for.
Other useful notes include comments on available accommodation and the wise warning not to touch any of the munitions you may see at the roadside, gathered as part of the annual Iron Harvest recovered as farmers tend their fields. Add the maps and the photos which illustrate what to look for, the guide is well sized to keep with you on your travels.
Arras has a lot of history from both World Wars and is well worth the trip. These days a lovely part of the world and plenty of good food available in the many restaurants as well. An excellent little guide from two experienced battlefield historians.


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