Capturing Mouquet: The farm that played an important role in the Battle of Somme

A view from the air: The location of Mouquet Farm and the nearby surrounding area. Credit: IWM

During the Battle of the Somme, Mouquet Farm, north of Pozières in France, became a pivotal battleground due to its strategic importance.

Charlotte Czyzyk, from the Imperial War Museum 'Lives of the First World War' project, explains how the efforts of British and Australian soldiers led to the recapture of the farm from the Germans in 1916.

The late summer of 1916 saw heavy fighting around the village of Pozières and nearby Mouquet Farm, known to British and Empire soldiers as ‘Mucky Farm’ or ‘Moo Cow Farm’.

These were German strongpoints, which stood on high ground overlooking British trenches.

An aerial photograph of Mouquet Farm taken on June 30th 1916. Credit: IWM

Pozieres was an objective for British troops on the first day of the battle, but due to fierce opposition it was not taken until the beginning of August by Australian soldiers.

Capturing Mouquet Farm was equally difficult - the damage caused by shells together with heavy rain turned the ground into a sea of mud.

The farm is seen as a small outline in a sea of mud in the centre of the photograph after sustained artillery fire. Credit: IWM

It was finally taken and held at the start of September 1916.

The fighting in this small area saw a huge cost - in just six weeks of fighting, Australia suffered 23,000 casualties, nearly as many as in eight months at Gallipoli.