Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk31_Lochnagar-Crater-Pt-2

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-31

Lochnagar Crater

 Part 2.

Part 1

Based on the number of photos Lochnagar Crater

will be a 4 part post.

 

Last week I mentioned memorials within

the Lochnagar Crater memorial

By now these poppy wreaths were

becoming all too common, however…

the sentiments behind each and every wreath was the same,

a heartfelt thank you and we will remember!

 

It would seem that ‘The Moles’ would refer to those

inside the 1,000 foot long tunnel.

In fact on-line research claims 18 Manchester sewer workers,

many over 40 years of age and with an average height

of about 5’4″ (average army requirement 5’8″) changed the War.

They were the founding members of the

170 (Tunnelling) Company, Royal Engineers.

Their work was the beginning of more than

3,000 miles of tunnels in

France, Belgium and Gallipoli.

While all hell raged above ground they tunnelled

silently below ground waging a secret warfare of their own.

Working in fetid air, cramped and wet conditions and with only

a candle to indicate if there was enough oxygen to breathe

they listened intently for signs, or sounds,

of the German army tunnelling towards them.

We were told that the German tunnellers were

only 5 feet away although I cannot verify that.

After the 27,000 tons of explosives were detonated

a 300 feet wide hole in the ground now known

 as Lochnagar Crater was all that was left behind.

Harry Fellows was a survivor of Lochnagar….

 

More can be read about Harry by clicking this link.

The final memorial is to Private George Nugent.  

When I took this image I either did not read, highly likely,

I took a close up of the plaque, or had forgotten his story.

 

On the far side of the Crater a tourist,

(Mr Drage of Colchester), while visiting Lochnagar,

actually discovered what appeared to be

a body emerging from the chalk about 10 metres

from the edge of the crater, in 1998.

Private Nugent’s remains were exhumed and

subsequently interred Ovillers Military Cemetery

on July 1st, 2000, exactly 84 years to the day

after he was reported as missing in action.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk30_Lochnagar-Crater-Pt-1

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-30

Lochnagar Crater

 Part 1

Based on the number of photos Lochnagar Crater

may be a 3 or 4 part post.

The first sign that we were visiting something different…

to cemeteries, was this road side sign.

 

In the early 1970s Richard Dunning read about Lochnagar

and made it his mission to purchase the land in memory

of all who had been killed in and around the area.

 

 Lochnagar Crater, therefore, is a privately owned site dedicated

to members of the British Army who tunneled under enemy lines,

placing and detonating  27,000 tons of explosives

which created a rather large hole in the ground…

now known as Lochnagar Crater.

 

Lochnagar is lucky to be the hole in the ground that it is today.

When Richard Dunning purchased his hole in the ground,

the farmer who owned the land…

 

was seeking permission to fill it in as had been done

with its sister mine Y Sap two years earlier.

The best part about Lochnagar Crater is that the surrounding

area/battlefields are as they were over 100 years ago, and…

not only does Lochagar memorialize those who perished,

there are also several other memorials within the grounds.

And finally, there is a way in which I now have a link

to the Lochnagar Crater Memorial.

 I would love to return to view, in person,

my memorial to my Grandfather.

However, I may be well into my seventies

before this dream comes true.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk30_Beaumont-Hamel-Pt-2

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-30

Royal Newfoundland Regiment

Beaumont-Hamel

Memorial site

 Part 2

If you wish to read the first Beaumont-Hamel post click here.

The Beaumont-Hamel battlefield site

is also the site of the…

 Newfoundland Regiment’s

World War I Memorial.

As we walked through original trenches I still felt exposed.

It may have had something to do with the board walk,

now inserted for our comfort,

raising us up an extra few inches.

 However, this trench seems even shallower

and there is no boardwalk.

 Today the Beaumont-Hamel battlefield is marked

by one of five Caribou (the Regiment’s emblem)

memorializing World War I

in France and Belgium.

Four are located at: Beaumont-Hamel, Gueudecourt

Monchy-le-Preux,  Masnieres, in France 

with the fifth caribou located at 

Courtrai (Kortrik) in Belgium.  

 

 Newfoundland is the home of

the sixth and seventh

Caribou Memorials.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk29_Beaumont-Hamel-Pt-1

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-29

Beaumont-Hamel

 Part 1

Beaumont-Hamel is a 74 acre site where the…
Royal Newfoundland Regiment fought 

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.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk27_Serre-Rd_No-2_Cemetery-Pt2

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-26

Serre Road Cemetery No-2

 Part 2

If you wish to read the first Serre Road Cemetery post click here.

I have deliberately left this first image…

at the top of my post as it contains much of the information,

and more, about Serre Road Cemetery No.2.

 

Serre Road Cemetery is now the resting place

of over 7,100 serviceman…

of which nearly 5,000 are unidentified…

 

and have inscribed on their headstone

A Soldier of The Great War

with Rudyard Kipling’s line

Known Unto God

where the family inscription should be,

at the base.

These headstones appear discoloured,

This occurred because the sun ‘beat’ me

and overexposed the image.

The only way to read the text was to darken the image.

You may have noticed that the headstones on previous image,

above and below are closer together

than the rest of the graves.

This layout indicates that all these soldiers died on the same day.

If you did not notice, the two dark headstones

are the resting of place of soldiers who died

on July, 1, 1916.

 

Many of those buried here were gathered from

makeshift cemeteries during an armistice

and during 1917 when the British V Corps

began clearing the area and recovering the dead,

many of whom served in the 2nd and 4th divisions

and saw action between

Serre and Beaumont-Hammel

and the nearby Quadrilateral.

 

After many Somme Cemeteries had closed,

Serre Road No. 2 continued to expand

with the last burials being made in 1934.

Due to the concentration of burials in Serre Road,

soldiers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand

and South Africa were interred here.

Serre Road Cemetery no. 2 is the largest cemetery

on the Somme, and the fourth largest

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

cemetery in France.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk27_Serre-Rd_No-2_Cemetery

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-26

Serre Road Cemetery No-2

 Part 1

Serre Road Cemetery is another one

of our first visited cemeteries. 

The site of this Cemetery was on one of the

most heavily defended sections of

the German Front Line.

 

I was stunned by the entrance to this cemetery.

It seems that no Nation has spared any expense

in remembering those who gave their lives

during The Great War.

I have previously mentioned how easy it is

to locate a grave in these cemeteries.

In the entrance to each and every cemetery we visited

you will find this sight.

 Behind each door is a register with

rows and graves identified.

So, if yo know which cemetery are person is buried in

finding their grave is very easy.

The saddest part of visiting this cemetery is the fact

that such a large proportion of those who….

gave up their life during  the Great War remain,

in this cemetery, remain unidentified.


Many headstones are simply engraved

‘A soldier of The Great War’

with Rudyard Kipling’s inscription

‘Known Unto God’

at the base.

Because there were enough remains to identify

the Soldier in the left grave as being a member of

the ‘London Rifle Brigade’,

the Brigade’s crest/motto is

also included on the headstone.

 

Private Rowe was lucky in as much as

he was able to be identified.

 

I am not sure if the middle grave belongs to a

German National who was fighting for he British Army,

or was simply an unidentifiable German soldier

who was interred in Sere Road Cemetery.

My guess is the latter.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk26

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-26

Ayette,

Indian and Chinese Cemetery

Our first stop of our

Somme Battlefields tour was

at the Ayette,

Indian and Chinese Cemetery.

After our first shock at India and China being involved

we all came to the conclusion that India was logical

as it was part of the Commonwealth.

However, China was a mystery.

In all my lifetime I had never heard of

either country being involved in WW I.

 

And according to the first photo China was a neutral country.

However with allied armies requiring supplies…

 the British War Office approached authorities

in both countries asking for a labour force

to transport supplies to the front lines.

 

While a relatively ‘safe’ job, both countries lost men

to long range artillery, air raids and illness.

A total of 2,000 Chinese and 1,500 Indian labourers

died while serving on the Western Front.

 

This was the first cemetery we visited and it was

here that we noticed the serenity and

immaculately kept surrounds.

Also the fact that this cemetery was alongside a road,

which may sound silly.

However, many country cemeteries,

that I have visited in Victoria,

are in a secluded plot of land with is

only accessible via a narrow track or road.

I should also add that any headstone which appears a dirty brown colour is,

in all likelihood, due to the photo being over exposed and my attempts 

at darkening the image to reveal text…particularly on headstones.  

Also there are some photos where the colour does not quite match,

on this post photo 2.  

Also the result of extremes of sun and shadow which I have endeavoured

to correct in photo shop.  

My skills with Photoshop are lacking…quite a bit.

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Jo’s Monday Walk