A leisurely start, 0900 saw us on the road to Mt St Quentin, the Second Division Memorial and the story of the feat of courage that saw the mountain taken in 1918, justifying the memorials place. The statue is a new one, the NAZIs destroyed the first one in 1940. It had shown an Australian Soldier bayoneting a German eagle; the NAZIs took offence. The life-like statue of an Australian digger, now in its place could not offend anyone.
Then to Maissemy Soldatenfriedhof where we paid our respects to young Germans who had also sacrificed their lives for their country.
At the entrance of the Riqueval tunnel, we discussed the march to the Hindenburg line, Monash’s brilliant tactics and an American tragedy where many inexperienced US soldiers attached to the Australian Corps showed great courage rather than cunning and lost their lives. Those able descended to water level and saw the hidden waterway where two German Divisions were able to be secreted.
Bellenglise, site of the 4th Division memorial was our next stop. This memorial stands lonely in the fields visited by few; it is the site of the final action by 4 Div before it was withdrawn from the line never to return.
Montbrehain was the last battle we discussed in the Somme region. This town was the last taken by Australians before they were withdrawn from the line for rest before returning in the spring of 1919; a return that was never required. After we discussed the battle, we visited the One Tree Cemetery where the grave of Private Taylor, the most easterly buried Australian Soldier of World War 1 lies.
Today was our last day of touring together, tomorrow our tour splits, those on the short tour travel back to Paris then board their transport for home or other exotic destinations. Those on the long tour head north to the battlefields of Flanders and near Ypres.