Musée de la Bataille de Fromelles

Musée de la Bataille de Fromelles

Musée de la Bataille de Fromelles
4.5
Military MuseumsHistory Museums
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
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4.5
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Kax
Brisbane, Australia22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Friends
I had the priviledge to attend the opening of the Fromelles Museum, adjacent to the Pheasant Wood Military cemetery, on 18 July 2014. This joint project, funded by several governments, tells the tale of the disasterous third battle of Fromelles, which occured on 19 July 1916. It sets out the impact upon the village, the life and conditions faced by both sides of the combat and provides an overview of the battle itself.

As I mentioned, it is located next to the Pheasant Wood Military cemetery. In that cemetery lie 250 men recovered from a grave at Pheasant Wood. These men had the unfortunate glory to survive the suicidal dash across the mud, marshes and enfliade machine gun fire and shells (Allied and German). They captured the first line of German trenches, expecting to join up with other units and battalions. Sadly, it was not to be. They were alone. And they remained alone as the crack Bavarian troops gathered and mounted a fresh assault late on the 19th July, 1916, to retake their trenches.

These men were not professional soldiers. They had no prior combat experience. They had scant training in Egypt. They were tailors, farmers, bank clerks and labourers. Ordinary men from sleepy valleys and villages in Australia. They were surrounded, over numbered, and cut off. The commanders responsible for what would be the worst 24 hours of Australia's military history to date, abandoned them there behind enemy lines.

And they fought on, running out of ammunition. Vicious, close hand to hand combat, almost medieval in nature, ensued. Rifle buts, bayonettes, wood from the shattered trenches they were trapped in, boots, fists, knives. My uncle was amongst them, a 20 year old farmer from a sleepy corner in northern New South Wales where his family continues to farm to this day. His cousin, who enlisted with him and trained and deployed with him, was shot down in the mad scramble across no-man's land. We have no idea how long he lay there, amid the dying, in the ensuing days before he was pulled back. He was evacuated to England, where he died from his wounds (gunshot to the chest).

The same did not happen for my uncle. He and those men he fought with were buried in Pheasant Wood by Bavarians utterly bewildered by their commanders. Why would the English just throw these green lives away so carelessly? It is a question the English have never seen fit to answer.

The museum is focused on these men, whose resting place was uncovered nearly 100 years later. Over half of this sorry 250 men would go on to be identified and the museum is particularly focused on their tale. It is a profoundly sorry one and it is one that needs to be remembered. For such is the wages of war.

Admittedly I have a deeply personal link to the museum and adjacent cemetery. But even if you do not, this is worth seeing. It is quiet, unspoilt and unflinching.

Lest we forget.
Written 28 July 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LeRouleur
Near the M25164 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2011 • Friends
Fromelles has long been a 'backwater' when visiting the battlefields of the First World War (not however if you are an Australian). With the opening in 2010 of the first Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) in fifty years at Pheasant Wood, the town was put well and truly onto the battlefield visitors map.

Once you have visited Pheasant Wood, VC Corner & The 'Cobbers' statue, take a some time to visit one of the best small museums on the whole of the western front. Situated on the second floor of town hall the museum is a snapshot in history of the events that took place nearly one hundred years ago. Artifacts recovered from the fields during many years of ploughing, building & digging are all on display. You cannot help but be moved. How so much has been crammed into such a small space I do no know.
The curator (who was involved in the research and planning of the cemetery) is a mine of information, and will happily answer any questions you may have. A must see.

PLEASE NOTE: THE MUSEUM IS ONLY OPEN ON THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EVERY MONTH (CLOSED June, July & August). Opening times are 10-12 & 2-5, this is a shame as many will miss the chance to visit this excellent museum. We were really lucky as we just happened to be visiting Fromelles, when the museum was open. If you can, it is worth planning your itinerary to coincide with the open days. One other thing, the stairs that lead up to the second floor are quite steep and winding, and those who are not as agile as they once were may struggle. There are plans for a brand new visitor centre for 2012/13.
Written 25 October 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pommieexpat
Melbourne, Australia91 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2015
Easy to get to ( well, I had a GPS so of course it was). Good parking area. The museum cost Euro 6.50 per adult which is a little on the high side as it is a small museum but still ok . The museum itself describes the Battle of Fromelles ( hence the name) with a mixture of videos, exhibit models,etc. The audio provided in the ticket is a must. The whole museum essentially has 4 languages - Dutch, French, English and German - for the signs so I assume the audio is the same. The numbers to sequence the audio could be a little bigger but ok. I agree with some other reviews that in some areas the writing is hard to read as it is too dark ( I thought it was just me getting older and poorer eyesight) but used my iPhone torch so could read ! Worth going through and gives a great insight into aspects of the War in this area.
Written 11 September 2015
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RobHelen02
Sydney, Australia91 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018
Staffed by knowledgeable and helpful people. Our second visit we felt like we were with old friends. Such wonderful people with such a sense of purpose. The understand their role in remembrance and take pride in their work. A must visit place!
Written 1 December 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

andyrovers
Doncaster, United Kingdom39 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2015 • Family
Nearly didn't have time to visit as we were coming to the end of our stay but managed to fit it in. I am so glad we made it as this museum is a little different to anything else available. Unlike an earlier contributer I got on fine with all the headsets and numbers and was ok with the fact that the language was classed as Australian! Ok it was an Aussie speaking English but it made sense and the number of Aussies who paid the ultimate sacrifice that meant there was a museum here at all I think made this a fair point. All the details on the battles was first rate but what makes this museum different is the details on the archaeology and dna testing to enable the dead to be identified. Wonderful insight into the statue 'Cobbers' by the artisit and how in the original plan the hero fetching his cobbers from no mans land had a gun that he removed from the final statue. Fantastic staff also produced a wheelchair for my elderly mother so she could take her time looking at the exhibition.
Written 16 December 2015
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Caryl1948
Bedford, UK397 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Couples
The entrance fee is high for what is there - E6.50 Adults, E4 for veterans. Many of the small reading boards are poorly lit, & the whole museum is extremely dark throughout. The numbers on the walls relating to the listening devices are very small, making them very difficult to find. Many numbers are missing. The 4 languages are French, German, Dutch & Australian! Even the Australians would concede that the spoken language is English. There are some real mistakes on the written boards : Battle of Neuve Chapelle reads 5 Brigades of a total of 5,000 men (surely that should be batallions?) & on another it says it was the 63rd Australian Div when it was the 53rd.
There is a wall, sponsored by the Australian Government which gives audio details of some of the men found at Pheasant Wood & that is excellent.
The goods for sale are priced in a cabinet, but not on the shelves.
A disappointing visit. However, the CWGC Cemetery is as beautiful as all the others, and it is difficult to believe that it is just a few years old.
Written 22 August 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kerry L
Melbourne, Australia17 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2013 • Solo
I first visited in 2012 and then again 2013.

The village is very small but the history huge. This was the first major battle fought by Australians on the Western Front. Pitted against the Germans situated in a position known as the Sugar Loaf salient. A seven-hour bombardment prevented the attack from any hope of surprise.

The 5th Australian and 61st British Divisions advanced at 6 pm on 19 July 1916, they suffered heavy losses at the hands of German machine-gunners. Small parts of the German line was captured by the 8th and 14th Australian Brigades, however devoid of support and hit with fierce counter-attacks, the Aussies were forced to retreat. By 8am on the 20th the battle was finished.

The Australians had 5,533 casualties, leaving them incapable of an offensive action for months. The German casualties were little more than 1,000. The attack was a complete failure as the Germans realised within a few hours it was merely a feint and had no impact upon the progress of the Somme offensive.

The new Museum at Fromells opens on the 18th of July 2014 and is well worth a visit as is the little CWG situated at Fromells. I'd also recommend visiting VC Corner and Cobbers Statue
Written 19 June 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carol S
Sydney, Australia308 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Couples
The museum is only small and adjacent to the new Pheasant wood cemetery. The topography display shows you what the Australians were confronted with here. A devastating loss in what seemed a pointless exercise. As my grandfather was injured at Fromelles I cannot imagine how confronting the evening of 19/7/16 must have been for him and his fellow Aussies.
Written 12 November 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nicholas Y
Shenandoah Valley, VA60 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2016
A big plus, especially for my wife, was the AV map of the battle which gave a very good oversight of the battle. We both enjoyed the life size dioramas. They do allow the use of cameras without the flash. (This is true of most museums in the area, but always ask first.)
The one negative was how the exhibits were nubered for the audio tour with the numbers being hard to locate and not following in a logical sequence.
P.S. Their sensors for touching the exhibits have a hair trigger so be careful in even brushing up against them.
Written 19 September 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrew G
Sydney, Australia55 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2016 • Couples
This museum was relatively new. The layout and exhibits are excellent. You get a good insight into the Fromelles battle (as much as anyone can who did not fight on the Western Front can) and some of the participants.

The museum has a distinct Australian theme as it is located next to the recently formed Pheasant Wood cemetery that contains the remains of many Australian solders.
Written 24 July 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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