Bullecourt was a village located on the Hindenburg Line defences in 1917. It was attacked by Australian troops on 11th April 1917; during this action there were heavy losses and some eleven Mk II tanks from the Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps were hit and knocked out. A second attack went in on 3rd May, with the Australians supported on the left flank by the British 62nd (West Riding) Division. This time the Hindenburg Line was breached, but losses were again heavy. As the AIF pulled out, more than 10,000 of them had become casualties. The British 7th Division then fought at Bullecourt, later joined by the 58th (London) Division. On 21st March 1918 the village was defended by the 59th Division, but the Germans broke through and the village remained in German hands until September 1918.
Tank parts found on the Bullecourt Battlefield.
The museum was started by the mayor of Bullecourt, Jean Letaille, in the late 1980s. It was then located in the town hall opposite the church, but when Monsieur Letaille retired the museum had by then expanded greatly and moved to a new location. It has continued to expand, and is now one of the finest private museums in Northern France; a large amount of tank parts from some of the eleven tanks knocked out at Bullecourt are on display, and given the Australian casualties here in 1917, much of the museum is connected with their involvement in the Battle. Monsieur Letaille and his wife were decorated with the Order of Australia some years ago; a high honour recognising the help and advice they have given to Australian visitors over many years.
Jean Letaille (right) showing a visitor around the collection.
The museum does not open regular hours, and you are advised to telephone to make an appointment. Jean Letaille speaks some English. Entrance is free, but donations are welcome. Coach groups must book in advance, as space is limited.
For further details contact:
Monsieur Jean Letaille
1 Rue d’Arras
Tel: 0033 184.108.40.206.46.