Today we toured the battlefields of the Somme, covering the period 1916 - 1918.
We started at La Boisselle, where the British commenced the Somme Campaign on 1 July 1918 visiting the start line marker and the Lochnargar crater created as part of the assault.
Then on to Poziéres where John L explained that the 1st, 2nd and 5th Australian Divisions drove German forces back to Moquet Farm. At Poziéres we had the opportunity to inspect the 1 Div Memorial, the German "Gibraltar" bunker and the windmill feature with its quaint if inappropriately placed animals harmed in war memorial. The nearby tank memorial did encourage a dissitation covering probably more than a black hat would need to know about these magnificent machines. Moquet Farm had special significance to PJ and Pete as their ancestor Sergeant Percy Podmore died in the unsuccessful battle.
Then to the British Thiepval Memorial, at 45 metres, the highest in France. We marvelled at the structure, then stood in awe of the 70,000 names of British and South African soldiers who died near the Somme and have no known grave. Lunch was a picnic on a grassy knoll nearby.
Our next stop was Sergeant Percy Podmore's grave site where PJ and Pete laid a wreath and Pauline said the ode.
At Beaumont Hamel the tragic loss of 85% of the male population of the small Dominion of Newfoundland was discussed. Everyone was amazed at the memorial, the quality of the museum and appreciated the polite young Canadians charged with looking after the site.
Bullecourt was our next stop. The battle was discussed, a useless tragedy that cost the lives of 7,000 of our countrymen. Thence to the Museum with its considerable collection and quality display. We ended the day with an inspection of the Bronze Hat Memorial in the centre of the town.
We returned to hotel in time for a short rest before dinner.