Jo’s Monday Walk
a devastating but defining battle
during World War I on the first day of
the Battle of the Somme.
Today this now peaceful site is staffed by
young Canadians, who act as guides.
I did not ask if this young guide she would mind
if I published her photo on my blog….hence the cropping.
This was the first Memorial we visited which had been left
in the same condition as it was all those years ago.
The trees added a real sense of tranquility to the area
exacerbating the feeling of sadness for
all those who lost their lives.
As with many of the battles of World War I
the British Commanders decided to give
the German army a ten minute warning of an attack
by exploding 18,000 tons of explosives under Hawthorn Ridge.
The British even ignored intelligence reports
telling them that the barbed wire had been cut
during a week long bombardment.
Their reasoning…the men who were sent out
on reconnaissance missions were inexperienced.
I really know who was inexperienced and
being an Australian it wasn’t the Canadians
or any other of the Allied soldiers.
Most of the Newfoundland Regiment was all
but wiped out during an assault that
lasted approximately 30 minutes.
In 1921 this site was purchased by the
people of Newfoundland.
It is the largest battalion memorial on
the Western Front and the largest area of the
Somme battlefield that has been preserved.
Today the Beaumont-Hamel battlefield is guarded
by the Regiment’s emblem, the Caribou.
More about the Caribou in Part-2.