'Hawthorn Ridge - Then and Now' with Rick Smith
05 Sep

The Hawthorn Redoubt was an formidable defensive position for the Germans which was blown up on the morning of 1 July 1916 by a mine that had been placed beneath the German stronghold on the ridge. The explosion, ten minutes before the whistles blew at 7:30am, destroyed the position but the timing of the detonation and the lifting of the artillery barrage meant that the position was reinforced by the Germans, leading to massive losses among the attacking British troops. 

The explosion of the mine under Hawthorn Ridge was recorded by Geoffrey Malins at 7.20am on the 1st July 1916 and is one of the best-known pieces of film of the Great War. The moment of the explosion was also captured by Ernest Brooks who took a series of photographs from this point on 1 July 1916. 

This is the story - told by Rick Smith - of an iconic site on the Western Front from 1916 to the present day. Rick's research into the site and the area continues and we will be hearing the latest findings.

Above image: The crater today (courtesy of The Hawthorn Crater Association. Top image courtesy / copyright Nick Stone 

Rick graduated with an MA under Spencer Jones/Gary Sheffield at the University of Wolverhampton.  Founder member and UK Secretary of the Hawthorn Ridge Crater Association. A member of the WFA since its inception and a Western Front enthusiast and visitor for over 45 years.

Victoria Institute, 2-4 Brookhouse Road, Caton, Lancaster LA2 9QT
05 Sep 2022 19:30