About Avril Williams
Avril Williams has run a B&B at Auchonvillers, on the edge of the Somme battlefields, since 1st July 1992 when she bought the farmhouse.
At that time, Avril had no interest or knowledge of the Great War. The discovery of her cellar changed all that. In the only cellar of pre-Great War origin remaining in Auchonvillers, graffiti inscribed by various soldiers could be found on the walls.
Being of an inquiring mind, Avril understandably wanted to find out about these men who had left their names on the walls and about the units of soldiers that would have used her cellar during the war. Experts came in to excavate the cellar, and many items with a Great War connection were found. Gradually, many of the stories behind the graffiti signatures were discovered.
The stabilization of the cellar walls and ceiling led to the discovery and excavation of the communication trench that runs through her back garden. Now fully opened up, volunteer groups from the armed services regularly maintain the trench.
In recent years, Avril’s thoughts have passed to the buildings and land she has acquired on the north side of the Rue Delattre. Spacious barns await metamorphosis into a conference centre, a museum and such like. On the land, a chance to construct reproduction trenches giving a feel of the front line experience in the front line area. From the land, unique panoramic views of this part of the Somme front line. All of this would produce Avril’s dream of a complex devoted to Great War living history.
For further information about Avril’s establishment, here are links to her two websites:
Ocean Villas Tea Rooms