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  • Day11

    Day Ten

    July 23, 2016 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    This morning we headed towards Villers Bretonneux. We visited the Victoria School and had photos taken under the famous 'Don't Forget Australia' sign in the playground of the school. We also wandered through the museum dedicated to the Aussies who fought to save the town. We followed this with our visit to the Villers Bretonneux Military Cemetery. This is a magnificent structure. The size of the cemetery is hard to describe. As you walk in past the alter bearing the inscription 'Their name liveth for evermore' it is a confronting sight to see rows and rows of headstones for a far as you can see up the hill. As you go up the hill in the distance is the bell tower and the wall carrying all the names of the missing. It is quite impressive. We had several pilgrimages to honour reletives of people on the tour. One of the fallen soldiers in the cemetery was honoured by five generations of family, this was quite special to witness.

    After lunch at Tommy's in Pozieres, a pub quite well known by Aussie diggers in 1916, we went to the Le Hamel Memorial. This was to honour the Aussies in the battle for the town of Le Hamel. The memorial is situated on the trenches that the Germans held until July 4th 1918. This battle was the making of Sir John Monash as Commander of the Australian Corps. His meticulous planning resulted in a famous victory.

    Other places we visited were:
    - Lochnagar Crater Memorial
    - 3rd Australian Division Memorial
    - Mouquet Farm, a German held area that the Aussies attack and after five weeks of fighting capture the farm from the Germans. The Aussies refer to it as 'Moo Cow Farm'.

    Our final stop for today was at the Thiepval Memorial and French-Anglo Cemetery. After seeing the massive memorial at Vimy Ridge yesterday I didn't think they could get any bigger but I was wrong, so wrong! The structure that is Thiepval is a sight to be hold. It is a giant in all aspects of the word. It looks like a giant wedding cake! This is a memorial for all men who fought the various battles along The Somme. In all 72,000 men died on The Somme and have no known grave. This is their memorial. These names are inscribed along the walls of the monument along with each battle that made up the fighting along The Somme. Numerous times today we crossed over the river Somme, where bloodiest of battles gets its name.
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