The day finished in a high as we marched through Peronne led by the Pipes and Drums to meet the Mayor of Peronne outside the Hotel de Ville, Council Chambers. The reception by Madame Mayor and the people of Peronne was excellent and after being presented to the Mayor, the Pipes and Drums entertained the crowd that had gathered. More to follow.
An early start for both groups, Ron headed East for cemetery visits to Tincourt, Roisil and Bellicourt Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries where he conducted Services for the family members on our tour who had paid the supreme sacrifice and were buried in those cemeteries. Following those visits they continued East to the Ricquel Canal to discuss the action there by the Australians and the Americans. Each action had many casualties and nearby is the American Cemetery at Bony where many from the USA lie. America came into the war I early to mid 1918 and by 11th November 1918 had sustained 114,000 killed in action . This then was into the German Hindenburg Line that was supposed to be impregnable and to keep Germany safe. Once we broke through Germany started to negotiate terms for an Armistice.
Following most of the day out in the country. We all gathered at the Historial where Dominique presented a short history of the Historial and what is depicted in the various galleries.
Now Steve’s Pipes and Drums. They also had been out in the countryside most of the day before meeting us at the Historial they had spent much time going through the actions by the Australians and in particular 2nd Division on their famous victory at Mont St Quentin. I led the way down to the lock which was the route the Division had taken to reach their jumping off point for the assault. 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. It was the 5th Brigade that launched the attack following an intense artillery barrage. They were against top German troops who were well dug in with many machine guns covering the open group, but the 5th Brigade pushed the Germans of the heights only to be pushed back themselves following a German counter attack.
However, the 6th Brigade joined the assault and this time the Germans were pushed further off and counter attacks failed to regain the ground lost. The 7th Brigade then pushed through the 6 brigade and exploited the Divisions success further. This was an attack that Monash’s Commander did not believe would succeed. Further insight into Monash and his tactical mind that developed good plans.
As when the History group were at the location of the lock, again we were fortunate to actually view a barge moving through the lock. This action was described in great detail by Steve and there are still trenches to be seen on the position and much to see following the exploitation of 7 Brigade.
Now back to the Recital for the Mayor. Following that we all moved into the Hotel de Ville to view an excellent display that is being sent to Australia to do the rounds. Then, a reception where presents were exchanged and the new Australian Flag was draped over the front table. The Mayor remarked that they had never received a genuine Australian Flag before now. Beer and finger food followed.