Another go at this post – blame a swipe that took its predecessor to the ether!
We decided to go to Posieres via Albert to replenish the veggies stock. Freezing cold but no gloves in the market. Let’s hope there are some before the Dawn Service.
First stop on the edge of the village of Pozieres was the monument to the 1st Australian Division. It acknowledges the battlefield where more Australians were killed than any where else on the Western Front. It’s a large, stone obelisk.
Nearby is Gibraltar, a fenced off bunker that was a German blockhouse that was both an artillery post and an observation spot. Not surprising as this region is a ridge looking out on both sides to advancing forces. This appeared as a hole in the ground but tunnels, now almost collapsed led off into the hillside.
From there were went a few kms east to Thiepval, a huge monument to British and French missing: 72,000! All those names are engraved on the sides of the monument. Again it looks down over peaceful farmland. There’s a graveyard there, stone grave headsets for the British and crosses made of stone for the French. Many of the headstones are for the unknown soldier
Back then to Mouquet Farm – Moo Cow Farm to the diggers – where fierce hand to hand fighting in this well equipped German post took place.
Then off to the village of Pozieres itself for lunch. Omelette with champignons. Yum.
From there, further north to a monument to tanks and to Windmill. This spot had existed for centuries and was used by the Germans as a machine gun post. It was captured by Australians August 4th, 1916. In the distance one can see wind turbines.
Further north and we get to Butte de Warlencourt, an ancient mound where the Germans had a machine gun post. Here you can climb up to the top to a memorial but there are warnings that you do so at your own risk. The view across the Somme valley is spectacular.
We went on to Flers – more cemeteries
– and then to Longueval where the New Zealand memorial is. We saw the monument – freezing wind on a high point looking out over peaceful farmland. Then we went into town where there were lots of gendarmes. We planned to come back tomorrow because we’d read there was a ceremony for NZ/ANZAC on 24th April. But it was actually today and they wouldn’t let us go there because we were later than the official time. On checking back at home we found that the newspaper had 24th April, Samedi (Saturday, not 23rd.). So there was confusion. I was sorry though because Euan had missed out on his country’s ceremony.
Back home to warmth, a fine fish stew cooked by Euan and warmth.