Beautiful sunshine for our final day touring the battlefields of the Somme. Having covered the Battle of Amiens yesterday, we headed for Mt St Quentin where John L described in detail the battle of the bend in the Somme, so significant as it broke the main German defensive line before the Hindenberg line. The Australians though substantially outnumbered forced the cream of the German Army including their crack household and storm trooper units to withdraw in disarray. The 2 Div memorial marks the spot where the fighting was most intense. The triumphal nature of the memorial constructed in the 1920s ensuring it was destroyed by the Nazis in 1940. The current one erected in the 1980s is more commemorative than triumphal.
Next we stopped at the Maissemy German Cemetery. A sad place, so many young lives snuffed out when all they did was obey their country's call, in many cases without a choice.
4 Div Memorial sits on the site of the Hindenburg Outpost Line overlooking Bellenglise and the St Quenton Canal. In September 1918 the 4th Division fought its last battle of World War 1 there. John H gave a detailed description of the battle in particular Monash's use of machine guns as tank replacements.
A rather good coffee at Bellenglise and we were off to the mouth of the Riqueval Tunnel for a description of the American tragedy and the Australian rescue that was the taking of the Hindenburg Line. In the shady trees overlooking this 18th century engineering marvel we ate our picnic lunch.
Last battle description of the day was by John L at Montbrehain, the last battle the Australian infantry and artillery fought in World War 1. We then visited One Tree Cemetery where Private Taylor is buried. A member of the 2nd Pioneers, he was killed on 5 October 1918. Hus grave is the most easterly of all Australian soldiers' graves in France and Belgium.
A scenic drive to Paris was followed by a short rest then dinner where we farewelled Peter and PJ off for a barge and bicycle riding tour starting at Bordeaux.