Gazetteer of the Western Front: Tincourt

Location

Map

This page is about the French village of Tincourt, which is contiguous with the smaller village of Boucly and often named as Tincourt-Boucly. It is situated in the Departement of Somme, about three miles east of Peronne, and lies in the gently sloping valley of the little River Cologne.

Map

Tincourt as it was before the war. A small farming community with a church, school and town hall; a large chateau lay in Boucly. The villages had seen German troops before, for they had been here during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, and from the autumn of 1914 the area was under German occupation. Once the fighting line settled down west of Peronne, Tincourt was far enough from the danger zone to be used by the German forces for billeting and camps.

Railway

This photograph, believed to have been taken circa 1909-10, shows the Tincourt-Boucly halt on the Peronne-Cambrai line. It was this railway that made Tincourt an important location during the Great War.

During March 1917 the German forces made a strategic withdrawal from the Somme area, evacuating Tincourt before going further eastwards to the prepared defensive system known to the British as the Hindenburg Line. As they withdrew, British forces cautiously advanced in their wake, but found the going difficult. During the withdrawal the Germans carried out a “scorched earth” policy to render the area uninhabitable and militarily difficult to occupy. Boucly was more or less razed, and much of Tincourt was also badly damaged. The tower of the old church was felled. As part of the systematic destruction, the area was also partly flooded by water from the river.

Cologne

Imperial War Museum image Q1985. Road at Tincourt, on the Cologne River, in area flooded by the Germans, April 1917.

Railway

Tincourt now became a valuable rear-area location for the British forces on the Hindenburg Line front. By the spring of 1918 it had become a busy centre, with camps, medical facilities and storage areas. Along the railway, which had been greatly expanded, were numerous ammunition and other dumps. Namur Siding, seen above, was used by the adjacent Casualty Clearing Station for handling the steady flow of casualties.

Railway

Imperial War Museum image Q646995. 14 inch gun on railway mounting near Tincourt.

The German Operation “Michael” offensive which began on 21 March 1918 saw Tincourt fall once again into enemy hands. It was evacuated by British forces on 23 March and remained behind German lines until recaptured during the “Hundred Days offensive, on 6 September 1918. Now almost completely in ruins, Tincourt was gradually turned back into a useable condition and Casualty Clearing Stations were once again established there as the British advance pressed forward to the Hindenburg Line.

Visiting Tincourt on your battlefield tour

Bailleul Place

The most significant reminder of the Great War in the Tincourt area is the Tincourt New British Cemetery, which now contains almost 2000 graves of servicemen from the war.The cemetery was used until September 1919 and then expanded by bringing in remains from various battlefield plots in the area. The cemetery is notable for large numbers of graves of British soldiers of cavalry units; for graves of men of the Chinese Labour Corps; and for German graves. The photograph is provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, with my thanks.

Bailleul Place

The location of the cemetery is marked by a red flag on this war time map. The area is very pretty and walkable today, and it would be possible to view the site of the Casualty Clearing Station (shown as “hospital”) and the old, now disused, railway line. The track leading to the cemetery from the CCS is now the D199 road. Note the trenches running across this area, too. Just outside the cemetery is a memorial to United States airmen killed in this area during WW2.

Three men of the Royal Garrison Artillery (two of 137 Heavy Battery and one of 283 Siege Battery RGA) who lost their lives in mid-September 1918 are buried in the churchyard at the village church in Tincourt.

Tincourt has its own village war memorial to men of the area who lost their lives during the Great War.

Staying and refreshment in the Tincourt area

I am afraid that the Tincourt area is not exactly an oasis for accommodation and refreshment. There are plenty of opportunities in nearby Peronne, where there are also shops and supermarkets.

See more places in theĀ Gazetteer of the Western Front