Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk46_Courcelette

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-46

Courcelette, Warlencourt-Eaucourt
France

Probably the driving force behind my trip to France

and the Western Front Battlefields of World War I

was to visit the village of Courcelette, however briefly.

It was near Courcelette that my Grandfather’s

superior officer had mentioned Bill’s bravery,

under fire, in his diary.

 

This diary extract,  is one the only things I have

of my Grandfathers possessions.

And then it is probably a copy of a copy.

Even though I had found Courcelette on Google…

I was still surprised at it’s size.

With a population of 142 in the 2007 census,

Courcelette was about the same size as my home town. 

However, narrow roads and shoulder to shoulder

housing made it seem much smaller. 

Courcelette appears to be suffering the same fate

as many rural towns in Australia. 

In 1968 its population was 180;

1982…150;

1999…133 and in

2007…142 in

  Clicking anywhere on this link will take you

to the source of this information.

Therefore our visit was a drive through and…

 

we were soon on the other side of town…

 

heading for the Courcelette British Cemetery.

This must have been another drive by or mini-stop.

I am not sure if this is Courcelette as we returned

or another town altogether.

It did not take long before we were in the midst

of more farm land…

heading for Warlencourt-Eaucourt.

This memorial appears to recognise children

who died in France during World War I.

And I have only just noticed a crucified Jesus…

behind and below the French flag.

However, just out of town was our first stop

at a munitions dump.

According to Guide Phil, quality control was reduced

on the manufacture of munitions during WW I.

As a result of lowering standards one in three bombs

did not explode.

 All very interesting until Phil happened to mention

that if these old bombs decided to explode there

was enough explosive to kill all us.

I took a step or two back after that comment!!

Apparently farmers are still digging up these

old munitions and dropping them at

collection points like this one,

all over France.

Once a month authorities come and clear these sites.

This was about two weeks worth of collected ammunition.

And yes, sometimes the bombs explode.

Just ask the farmer whose plough hit  one.

The explosion went side ways and fortunately

did not kill the farmer.

The plough…well, that’s another story.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

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Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk45_Polygon-Wood-Cemetery-2

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-45

Polygon Wood Cemetery-2
Belgium

Click here for part 1

This week we visit the…

 Australian 5th Division Memorial

and Cemetery at Polygon Woods.

Part 1 showed the Memorial Plaque,

in close up on the obelisk….

which is upon the Butte and

overlooking the Cemetery.

Throughout this journey it was small things

like the cross, bottom left hand….

 and its message which made me realise

how much people half a world away

appreciate the sacrifices Down Under

made for  their country.

 

As with every Cemetery we visited

there was always a great proportion

of headstones for unknown soldiers.

As we were leaving…

 

 I thought the surrounding woods…

 were worthy of a few photos.

All cemeteries had a beautiful serenity

about them which I thought hammered home

the total and utter waste of life because

people cannot get along with each other.

 One final look at he obelisk and

we were on our way again.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk44_Polygon-Wood-Cemetery

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-44

Polygon Wood Cemetery
Belgium

This week we visit the…

 Australian 5th Division Memorial and Cemetery

at Polygon Woods.

If you have good eyesight you may just make out

the obelisk which is

the 5th Division Memorial

overlooking the cemetery.

 What was more difficult to see was

this flight of steps up to the Butte

where the obelisk is located.

 The next few photos are of…

 the cemetery below.

The Australian Fifth Division Memorial.

The Australian Rising Sun.

 

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The balance of these photos will be posted early next week.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk43_Gibraltar-Bunker

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-43

Gibraltar Bunker
France 

This week a quick visit to the…

Gibraltar Bunker and

the Australian  First Division Memorial.

As indicated this was a World War I bunker…

or at least the…

remains of it.

It is hard to imagine anyone wanting to go

down those stairs and into the

confined conditions of the bunker  proper.

 

Nearby is the Australian First Division Memorial.

As usual I was bringing up the rear and missed

some of the information Phil was telling us.

In this shot it does appear that he has been on

an unsuccessful fishing trip.

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Surrounding many of the Memorials we visited

was farm land which supported various crops

and all at various stage of growth.

Although this photo is not anywhere near in focus,

it was the first time we saw shrapnel

from  two World Wars.

Though this appears to be gravel, there were

recognisable pieces of shells and other

metal objects easily found in these fields.

Phil handed me a lump of metal which was

probably part of a shell, with the words..

‘…here, this may have been fired

by your Grandfather…’

 I was always concerned how I was

going to get this metal back home.

My concerns, however, were short lived.

Eurostar Security, at Lille, solved that problem.

That  fact that I was traveling the morning of,

or after, the London Bridge attack,

may, or may not, have had

some bearing on the decision.

I usually do some Google research to  help with some information

with my posts.  My apologies this week, for not .

On Wednesday, after my GP used ‘aggressive’ and ‘cancer’ in one short

sentence, I had a chunk of my scalp removed.

Never knew one’s scalp moved so much every day…

especially when laughing.

Cannot wait to have the dressing removed.

When visiting the Specialist he also tapped the back of my head

and I have another appointment in mid December for an encore.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk42_Windmill-Site

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-42

Australian Windmill Site
Bapaume  Rd, near Pozières, France 

opposite

The Tank Corps Memorial

is the

Australian Windmill Memorial Site

Last week I finished up with a glance

across the road from the Tank Memorial

to the Australian Windmill Memorial.

 

At this site, in seven weeks of fighting

there were 23,000 Australian casualties

of which nearly 7,000 died.

On this bench seat Charles Bean, who recommended

the  Australian War Memorial acquire the site,

states that the Windmill Site

marks a ridge more densely sown

with Australian sacrifice than

any other place on earth.

 

Today it is just a small ridge where a windmill once stood.

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in the middle of farming land.

However it will, is, being developed as a memorial site.

The Windmill Memorial is also…

 within site of Pozières, to the left and

Courcelette to the right.

I make mention of these two towns as they are

linked to my Grandfather’s World War I exploits.

The diary extract, posted here, relates what

could be described as bravery, foolishness or

not following orders occurred around here.

 

 As mentioned earlier this site is still being developed.

Just below the horizon you can just make out

a series of crosses in the ground.

These crosses roughly point towards the

Courcelette British Cemetery

 A little more obvious in this picture these crosses

are laid out in the shape of the Rising Sun.

The Courcelette Cemetery is also slightly

more discernible in this shot.

Find the long row of trees near the right horizon,

then just below, in front of the left end of this row

are a few more trees, which , I believe, is

the Courcelette British Cemetery

based on an image on this site Great War.uk site.

 That is the Australian Rising sun

depicted in relief here…

 an again on this water tower.

The Rising Sun badge is used to hold up

the side of the slouch hats which all

Australians Soldiers wear.

Will fix links in the morning Jo

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk41_Tank-Monument

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-41

Tank Monument
On the road to Bapaume, near Pozières, France 

is

The Tank Corps Memorial

This Memorial  commemorates…

 

the first time tanks were used in battle in World War I.

Again surrounded by peaceful farm land it is difficult

to imagine the many sacrifices made on this battle field.

The memorial covers 1916 to 1918 inclusive…

and depicts various types of tanks…

used during…

The Great War.

A quick  look on Google…

appears to reveal that…

these tanks were all British Army tanks.

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One final photo and noting that…

 

the surrounding fence was made from tank parts,

then we were off across the road to

the Windmill Memorial.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk40_Le-Hamel_Australian-Memorial-2

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-40

Australian Memorial-2

Le Hamel, France

Last week we commenced a walk around…. 

the Australian Corps Memorial

at Le Hamel in France.

Along the walk to the Memorial is information…

relating to the battle and the tactics used by

General Monash to overcome German forces.

 

I was still not used to seeing people tending

these sites keeping them neat and tidy.

A surprise…but a very pleasant one…knowing that

our war Memorials in Europe are in

pristine condition all the time and not just

for a professional film crew, or photographer,

who happens to  be in the vicinity.

 

However, we eventually made it…

and noted that it sat silently overlooking

the village of Le Hamel.

 

This may be a politician speaking however,

it was tributes like this one,

to Australian soldiers,

which I found quite moving.

 

Had I not known we were in France,

this shot could have been taken

on a spring day in Australia,

or for that matter any rural area

throughout the world.

It is difficult to imagine the bloodshed

on these battlegrounds.

 

A short walk down this path and we came upon…

some of the trenches used during that battle.

 

None of them appeared to give as much cover

as I would like if someone had a rifle

or field artillery aimed at them.

 

Back for a final quick photo…yes, I was there…

 

 and then back to our vehicle and shade…

 

and off we drove through a sea of blood-red poppies

which grow wild in the region constantly

reminding all of the blood that was shed

on these fields/paddocks.

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Jo’s Monday Walk