We woke this morning to much better weather than we experienced yesterday, glad that was the case as most activities were outside. It was a bust day for both groups and the Pipes and Drums expect to be back in our home base after 2100 tonight. Why so late? They had a late start to the day as they needed to have driver hours able to return them from Amiens where they are to play in the Amiens Cathedral, accompanied by the Somme Pipe Band. After that recital and a few drinks with the Somme Pipe Band they will visit a restaurant in Amiens for their dinner.
Before heading into Amiens the Pipes and Drums visited Heath Cemetery to pay their respects to a family member of Gwynneth and Jackson who was buried in the cemetery. He was killed on 25 August 1918 somewhere near Proyart. It so happened that after the visit the Pipes and Drums ma de their way to Proyart and the German Military Cemetery where we conducted a General Service for those interred there. Particularly, one of our Pipers, John, had found a photograph of a German Officer in his Grandfather’s belonging following his Grandfather passing away. Included was the note on the back that the Officer had been killed by the Australians on 8th August 1918 while trying to dismantle the machine guns in his section. All were killed as the Australians over run the position.
John had asked me to see if there was a way to find who the officer was. I contacted the Volksbund, German War Graves and sent them a copy of the photo. Their reply did not give a name but advised me that from where he was killed, he would most probably be in Proyart Cemetery. The Service was quite moving and held in bright sunlight. I will visit the Volksbund over the next week or so to see if we can obtain more information.
The busiest day was the activities of the History Group. They also started the day with a visit to Heath Cemetery where family of one of our members was buried and conducted a Service there. Ron took the group through the Battle of Amiens and did so at Heath Cemetery as from there one can get an idea of the ground involved in the Battle. John and Andrew found that there were a few members of the Artillery with in the cemetery and put an 1890 penny in the ground against each headstone, something from home! From there to Chippily spur in order to view the ground and discuss the tactics there of Monash as with his left flank exposed, he sent his 3rd Division to the high ground to secure the flank even though his move impinged the area of the adjoining Corps. Once there he asks permission to extend his left boundary, which was given.
Chuignes, Proyart, where he detailed the efforts of Percy Stratton who won the VC there, the railway which Monash built for his resupply and Peronne Military Cemetery followed before ending the day with the details, at the site, of the famous 2nd Division victory ay Mont St Quentin. This action was described in great detail by Ron and there are still trenches to be seen on the position and also Ron continued through the forest to show how far the exploitation of the Division had gone. I join Ron about then and led the way down to the lock which was the route the Division had taken to reach their jumping off point. The Engineers were able to erect bridges over the lock at its narrowest, it had not been completed and the water level was down at the time. We were fortunate to actually view a barge moving through the lock.