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Ulster Memorial Tower, Thiepval

#25 of 258 in Things to do in Somme
Must see · Observation Deck · Landmark
The Ulster Tower is Northern Ireland's national war memorial. It was one of the first Memorials to be erected on the Western Front and commemorates the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division and all those from Ulster who served in the First World War. The memorial was officially opened on 19 November 1921 and is a very close copy of Helen's Tower which stands in the grounds of the Clandeboye Estate, near Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland. Many of the men of the Ulster Division trained in the estate before moving to England and then France early in 1916.
The Tower (plus a small cafe nearby) is staffed by members of the Somme Association, which is based in Belfast.
The Division attacked the Schwaben Redoubt, which is near the Ulster Tower, on 1 July 1916. The Schwaben Redoubt was a little to the north-east of where the tower stands, and was a triangle of trenches with a frontage of 300 yards, a fearsome strongpoint with commanding views. It is also located close to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
The front lines were at the edge of Thiepval Wood which lies to the south-west of the road between the Thiepval Memorial and the Ulster Tower. Troops of the 109th Brigade crossed about 400 yards of no man's land, and kept on going. They entered the Schwaben Redoubt, and advanced on towards Stuff Redoubt, gaining in all around a mile, though not without losses. To their left, the 108th Brigade were successful in advancing near Thiepval, but less so nearer the River Ancre.
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219 reviews
  • Sadly since Covid you can’t go into the tower, nor go into the grounds or graveyard unless you jump the fence! I expect you could by prior arrangement, but you’d pro ably need a reason. Still lovely....  more »
  • It is only when you start walking around in the Somme area that you understand the pure futility of the war. There are hundreds of memorials and cemeteries in the area with thousands of names and...  more »
  • You should definitely take the time to call at the Ulster Tower. It is a powerful tribute to the Ulster men who fought and died at the Somme. There is a guided tour in the forest trenches which should not be missed. There is also a minature museum and coffee shop for a look around and stop for refreshments.
  • Absolutely beautiful spot. Fantastic tour and while very somber, it's a site you will never, ever forget. If in the area, it's a must visit to pay respect to the brave men who sacrificed their lives for us all.
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