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Old 03-11-2014, 12:00 PM   #61
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Villers-Bretonneux

Villers-Bretonneux

Of course the real proof that I was actually there is with the bunny....Freddie poses for the camera here, but not often enough throughout the trip.....



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Old 03-11-2014, 12:03 PM   #62
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Villers-Bretonneux

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Old 03-11-2014, 12:13 PM   #63
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:18 PM   #64
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:41 PM   #65
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and just down the road a short distance....Le Hamel and the Australian Memorial Park....

The Australian Park Memorial commemorates the engagement of more than 100 000 Australians who served in the Australian Corps in France. The Corps was formed in 1917 and included the 5 Australian Divisions that had served in France and Belgium from 1916. The Park has been established at the site of the final objective of the Battle of Le Hamel.







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Old 03-11-2014, 12:51 PM   #66
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:04 PM   #67
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Peake Wood Cemetery

Onward down the road, when it was time for a little break I stopped here at Peake Wood Cemetery, a small cemetery in a beautiful location.

Peake Wood was the name given by the army to a copse on the south-east side of the road to Contalmaison. The wood fell into Allied hands on 5 July 1916, but the cemetery was not begun until later in the month. It was used as a front line cemetery until February 1917 and was in German hands from the end of March 1918, until nearly the end of the following August.

The cemetery contains 103 burials and commemorations of the First World War, including special memorials to six casualties believed to be buried there but whose graves could not be located.




















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Old 03-11-2014, 02:03 PM   #68
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The Australian Memorial at Pozieres Mill marks the spot where a windmill stood during the First World War and which marked the highest point of the bitterly contested Pozieres Ridge.

During July and August 1916 the British Commander-in-Chief Sir Douglas Haig launched numerous attacks against Pozieres Ridge in which Australian 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions featured. It finally fell on 4 August.














You can see the Thiepval Memorial in the background.






















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Old 03-11-2014, 08:23 PM   #69
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Pozieres british cemetery, ovillers-la boisselle

The village of Pozieres was attacked on 23 July 1916 by the 1st Australian and 48th (South Midland) Divisions, and was taken on the following day. It was lost on 24-25 March 1918, during the great German advance, and recaptured by the 17th Division on the following 24 August.

Plot II of POZIERES BRITISH CEMETERY contains the original burials of 1916, 1917 and 1918, carried out by fighting units and field ambulances. The remaining plots were made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery, the majority of them of soldiers who died in the Autumn of 1916, but a few represent the fighting in August 1918.









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Old 03-11-2014, 08:29 PM   #70
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:34 PM   #71
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:44 PM   #72
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Lochnagar Crater

Just down the road a little bit more, the Lochnagar crater is well signposted (as 'la Grande Mine'), to the right from the main road if you are travelling from Albert in the direction of Bapaume. There is parking near the crater although this is a popular stop on school tours, and today would be no different, with many school groups coming in to visit. English kids and French kids......but mostly English school children. I cannot think but of how fortunate they are to get to make school trips to see such things. The kinds of places I wish I could take our school kids to to visit.
Someone remind to buy a wide angle lens for the next visit....this thing is huge.
















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Old 03-11-2014, 08:58 PM   #73
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Thiepval

I had been to Thiepval many times before, but with it in plain site as I rode around it was impossible to not make a stop in for yet one more visit. I knew I would be back in this neighborhood in the future, but I had never stopped here on a motorbike, so I thought it would be nice to include some pictures from this trip in this report.....so here you go.....


On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter.

In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.


























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Old 03-11-2014, 09:14 PM   #74
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Beaumont Hamel

I decided to then head over to the Newfoundlander Memorial at Beaumont Hamel. This is one that I had never visited before, so it would be a new experience and it was a beautiful day to take pictures of the place. I was very warm on the motorcycle for sure too.

This park, located near Beaumont Hamel, is one of only a few sites on the Western Front where the ground remains largely untouched from when the First World War ended. The main entrance to the Newfoundland Memorial Park can be found on the D73 road between Hamel and Auchonvillers. During my last visit, in Autumn 2005, improvements were being made to this road, but it was still passable. The road was known during the Great War as St. John's Road.
The area has been maintained because of the significance to Newfoundland; the Newfoundland Regiment, which was part of the 88th Infantry Brigade within the 29th Division, attacked here on the 1st of July 1916, and suffered appalling losses. After the War, Newfoundland purchased this land in 1921, and first it and then the Canadian government (after 1949) have maintained it since as a memorial. It was officially opened in 1925, by Earl Haig. In 1997 it was designated a Canadian National Histgoric Site. The statue of the Caribou (see below) was chosen for the Memorial, as it was the symbol of the Newfoundland Regiment.










The Memorial to the 29th Division, just inside the park Newfoundland Memorial Park


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Old 03-11-2014, 09:17 PM   #75
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