Please note that the dates for these tours may vary from the guide below. No tours will be offered until international borders are open.
Ieper has been good to us with beautiful weather that allowed us to complete all that we had planned but sadly we need to move on and we thank Flanders Lodge Hotel and the New Regina Hotel for the wonderful support that they have given to our Tour. S0, with a sadness we leave Ieper for our next location, Peronne where we will reside in the Saint Claude Hotel for the next 6 nights.
Both groups left at 0830 from their hotel and made their way to Bullecourt. However, before heading to Bullecourt I with Frank our Pipe Major made our way out to Lijssenhoek Military Cemetery to visit the grave of the family of Max, Rachael and Daphne's family who was buried there after succumbing to his wounds. A nice Service and Frank again played the lament. Bullecourt had nothing to do with the Monash advance to victory but was a significant battle and has become part of our folk law. The Australians against all odds burst through the Hindenburg line but not in sufficient numbers to exploit the success. The tanks were to be there to support us but on the first occasion, after laying out in the snow at the Start Line, we moved back because the Tanks failed to arrive. When they finally did come and the attack went ahead, it was better but the casualty figures were too high indeed. Most or the majority of the Tanks were stopped by accurate fire from the Germans resulting the infantry taking the casualties. A mistrust of the new wonder weapons that Monash had to repair before Le Hamel over a year later.
All this associated with the battle is depicted in the new Jean and Denise Letaille Museum. Throughout their lives, Jean and Denise, a farming couple from Bullecourt, assembled an impressive collection of objects found in their fields and the surrounding countryside. Weapons as well as razors, combs, cigarette cases and other personal effects brought to the front line from Australia, Germany and the UK surfaced from the dirt in the Artois region alongside the men who owned them and who had died during the 2 great battles at Bullecourt in April and May 1917. 10771 Australians and 7000 British soldiers were killed or wounded in the battles. The items found by Jean an Denise are preserved in the Museum. An excellent small museum, one that Jean would be proud to be a part of.
Following the visit to the Museum and the viewing of the Digger memorial and being taken through the battles by Ron and Steve, most headed to Peronne. The history group visited some other sites but the Pipers headed to their new home.
Settled in, a good dinner and preparing ourselves for the big day tomorrow at Villers-Bretonneux.