Place:Albert, Somme, France


Alt namesAlbertumsource: Orbis Latinus (1971) p 11
Ancorasource: Orbis Latinus (1971) p 11
Ancresource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) I, 18
Coordinates50.0°N 2.667°E
Located inSomme, France
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Albert is a commune in the Somme department in Hauts-de-France in northern France.

It is located about halfway between Amiens and Bapaume.

The French operatic bass Xavier Depraz was born in Albert on 22 April 1926.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Albert was founded as a Roman outpost, in about 54 BC. After being known by various forms of the name of the local river, the Ancre, it was renamed to Albert after it passed to Charles d'Albert, duc de Luynes. It was a key location in the Battle of the Somme in World War I, and World War I tourism is important for the town.

During World War I, the statue of Mary and the infant Jesus – designed by sculptor Albert Roze and dubbed the Golden Virgin – on top of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Brebières was hit by a shell on 15 January 1915 and slumped to a near-horizontal position, where however it remained until further shelling in 1918 destroyed the tower. The British said that whoever made the statue fall would lose the war, whilst the Germans thought the opposite. A number of legends surrounding the Leaning Virgin developed among German, French, and British soldiers. The Leaning Virgin became an especially familiar image to the thousands of British soldiers who fought at the Battle of the Somme (1916), many of whom passed through Albert, which was situated three miles from the front lines. As The Golden Virgin it provided Henry Williamson with the title of an autobiographical book.

In his letters home to his wife, Rupert Edward Inglis, who was a former rugby international and now a Forces Chaplain, describes passing through Albert:

The German army recaptured the town in March 1918 during the Spring Offensive; the British, to prevent the Germans from using the church tower as a machine gun post, directed their bombardment against 'imaginary' trenches the other side of the basilica as orders specifically stopped them from targeting buildings in the town; the line of fire took the artillery through the basilica, thus it was destroyed. The statue fell in April 1918 and was never recovered. In August 1918 the Germans were again forced to retreat, and the British reoccupied Albert until the end of the war.

Albert was completely reconstructed after the war, including widening and re-orienting the town's main streets. The Basilica, however, was faithfully rebuilt according to its original design by Eduoard Duthoit, the son of the architect who had overseen its construction in 1885–95. The present statue is an exact replica of Roze's original design, and a war memorial designed by Roze and featuring an image of the Leaning Virgin can be seen in the Abri (Shelter) Museum, which houses souvenirs of the war. The underground shelters in which the museum is located served as protective bunkers for Albert's residents during aerial bombardments in World War II.

The city also appears in a short story, The Garden of Forking Paths, by the Argentine writer Jorge Luís Borges. In the story it is the location of a British artillery park that the Germans are about to bomb during World War I.

The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial is located only 9 kilometres from the village. It is a memorial site dedicated to Dominion of Newfoundland forces members who were killed during World War I. Officially opened by British Field Marshal Earl Haig in 1925, the memorial is one of only two National Historic Sites of Canada located outside of Canada.

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