Frederick Pritchard's war diary, item 92
- April 12, 2018 21:35:44 Thomas A. Lingner
SIR - A lot of old ground will be traversed as Armistice and Remembrance days draw near. Yet seldom do you read, or hear, now the legend of the leaning Virgin on the church at Albert, in the Somme battle area between Amiens and Bapaume.
The statue of the Virgin Mary, high over the main entrance to the church, was hit by enemy shells and the metal support to the statue was bent at right-angles so that the Virgin figure faced the roadway horizontally. It was a sight outdoing even the leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.
Someone was said to have prophesied that when the statue fell the war would end, and I was told by a friend who remained in the Somme area in 1918 after I had moved to another sector, that in the shelling when the Bosche took Albert, down came the statue. This was during the retreat of March, 1918, which meant it happened in early April.
Not so long after that, Germany's luck changed and as we all now know we swept him back to total defeat.
I expect some comrade in Worcester may have a picture postcard of the leaning statue. I sent one or two to England at the time, but never retained one. It would be wonderful to see it again.
C. H. Hollins
20 Barbourne Road