Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk39_Le-Hamel_Australian-Memorial

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-39

Australian Memorial-1

Le Hamel, France

 Back in the Somme Battlefields this week.

There is a Sunday radio program which is

giving this area quite a bit of publicity as

100 year commemorations pass by.

Hence my return to The Western Front I am not exactly sure which way we turned here, however,

I suspect it was left as we had already visited

Villers Bretonneux.

On we drove until we came upon…

 

the small village of…

Le Hamel.

A right turn here had us heading through…

 

more peaceful farm land, until we  arrived…

 

at Le Hamel’s

Australia Corps Memorial Park.

 

Officially rededicated in 2008,

the parking area is…

 

several hundred metres from the memorial.

However, it is a slow walk as there is

plenty of information to be gleaned along the way.

 

I have included this photo for three reasons. 

First, I was based in Arras for the duration of my visit. 

Second, I had no idea these towns were all so close.

Third, my Grandfather was always associaated with:

Villers-Bretonneux, Amiens, Pozieres, Bullecourt,

Paschendale and Menin Road

 

General Sir John Monash was spoken of

with a great deal of reverence by our guide. 

Our guide claimed it was his tactics which

won the First Wold War.

 

During my lifetime I have often heard

how soldiers of both sides could hear 

conversations in the opposition trenches. 

This image shows the

Australian/British trench in blue while

the German trenches are in red. 

Note how close they near the words Villers-Bretonneux.

 

Now, note the scale of this map.

The trenches would have been

barely 150 meres apart at their closest points.

Still we were to visit trenches

which were much closer.

And all among what is now peaceful farming land. 

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Jo’s Monday Walk

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Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk38_Balyang-Sanctuary

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-38

Balyang Sanctuary

 I have often posted random images taken at

Balyang Sanctuary in Geelong.

This week I thought of revisiting…

 

some of the images I have taken at Balyang.

It is home to many species of birds

such as this Mudlark.

There are also plenty of wild ducks…

to photograph.

Once I thought that I had

photographed some ducklings…

Then the wind pushed them in the opposite direction.

I felt a bit silly.

 

The most difficult to photograph are the

Lorikeets which call Balyang home.

Usually high up in the trees and moving

before one can focus the camera.

However at breeding time they slow down a bit…

 

and literally hang around their nests…

 

or sit outside for some peace and quiet…

and groom themselves.

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Finally, there are also Australian White Ibises

which frequent the sanctuary in small numbers,

but make great subjects, in my opinion.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk37_Surf-Coast

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-37

Surf Coast

 Every week or two I hop in the car

and head off somewhere to capture images

for my blog and Facebook.

This particular morning I was on my way home

via Barwon Heads..where the Barwon River

empties into Bass Strait.

This side is Barwon Heads

cross the bridge and

one is in Ocean Grove.

 

I may have darkened this image a tad, however,

you still get the idea of the sun reflecting

on little jewels in the water.

 

Also coastlines are fabulous for

gnarled twisted trees like this one.

 

Like many of our natives trees they manage to

sprout new life from anywhere along the trunk.

 

Moving on to see if there were any surfers

at Torquay’s Beaches.

They didn’t let me down.

 

Waves may not have been huge but I think this

would give anyone an adrenaline rush.

Endeavouring to out run Mother Nature…

 

but succumbing or being over taken.


Still not a bad place to enjoy some morning exercise.

And that’s my Monday morning drive for this week.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk36_Thiepval-2

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-36

Thiepval Memorial-1

Authuille, France

 Last week I left the Thiepval Memorial…

with this shot.

 

 a view of the Anglo-French Cemetery at the Memorial.

300 French soldiers’ graves…

and 300 British Army graves.

In that era the term ‘British Army’ covered

all member nations of the British Commonwealth.

Most of the bodies interred at Thiepval

have been reburied here

after discovery on Somme Battlefields

between December 1931 and March 1932

South Africa, as a British Empire member nation

was mentioned in several sources during

my research into this post.

High up on the walls of the memorial

these wreaths may be found.

This one refers to the Battle of Ginchy

which occurred on September 9, 1916.

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 Maybe this doorway lead to a stairway

to the top of the Memorial.

 

As mentioned last week,

the Thiepval Memorial

was the first of its kind we visited.

Prior to this we had visited cemeteries

with ornate, at times, entrances,

but nothing to compare with Thiepval.

I was still coming to terms with this type

of memorial left by relatives or visitors.

From a distance I thought they were something

someone had dropped, however upon closer

inspection each and everyone contained

the name of a soldier…

 

and a brief message from a visiting relative…

community member or organisation.

The Thiepval Memorial stands on one of the strongest

parts of the German front line, which was attacked

by 32nd Division on 1 July 1916 and held by 99th Reserve Infantry Regiment.

Thiepval was eventually taken by 18th Division

on 26 September 1916 in a well-planned operation

commanded by Major General Ivor Maxse.

The Thiepval Memorial is approximately 150 feet high

and was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and is the

largest of the Memorials built by the

Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk35_Thiepval-1

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-35

Thiepval Memorial-1

Authuille, France

 The Thiepval Memorial is dedicated to the

Missing of the Somme Battles.

It is an Anglo-French Memorial

dedicated to a total between 72,000 and 73,000

missing servicemen.

 

The number varies as some remains are identified.

The Thiepval Memorial is an Anglo-French battle memorial

to commemorate the joint 1916 offensive.

The British flag flies on the north side of the monument

while the French flag flies on the south side.

Although I confess that the flags could be

on the opposite sides to those stated.

I have read which sides the flags fly.

Naturally cannot find my source today.

In Australia the south side of anything is nearly always shaded,

logic tells me this should be reversed for the northern hemisphere.

This was our first encounter with tributes…

 such as these.

Whether students of  history…

or the mouths of babes,

the sentiments are the same.

 

Some of the 72,000 plus names listed on the  memorial.

I think I was in awe of this memorial and I/we

did not venture into the cemetery.

However, on the left are 300 French Graves,

 with all but 47 of them containing unknown solders.

While on the right are 300 British Empire graves.

Only 61 of these graves are named.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk34-Logans-Beach-Whale-Nursery

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-33

Logan’s Beach Whale Nursery

 

 Decided to have a short break from the sombre

Battlefields of World War I this week.

Friday, August 25, saw me heading off at 0630 to drive

over 180 kilometres back

to Warrnambool and Logan’s Beach Whale Nursery

where Southern Right Whales

come to breed each year.

Thought that I may have captured a decent sunrise

along the way, but no luck there.

The day was not looking too promising.

 

After my planned breakfast stop about 150 km along the way,

I eventually arrived at a sparsely populated

whale watching platform…

 

and either west or east not a whale in sight.

Just an interesting sign.

 

All the questions I have about the sign were answered

when the drone touched down.

The operators were able to tell me there were

two whales 1700 metres out to sea

and a cow and calf about 500 metres east…over the UAV sign.

Not a promising start indeed.

The cow and calf soon appeared much to my delight…

and swam along past the whale watching platform…

 

taking about half an hour from first sighting to

its cold and windy, lets get out of here.

I heard one of the wildlife officers comment

that the cow would be around 15 – 18 metres long.

 

I think it was the calf was most active.

 

However, this was the highest either one rose out of the water.

 

All of this…

took place less than…

one hundred metres from the sand.

Enlarge this image and you will see

a whale under the text on the photo.

The person on the right is at the foot of

the whale watching platform.

I drove home happy with my day out,

even though I heard that there had been eleven whales

visible the day before.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk33_Lochnagar-Crater-Pt-4

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-33

Lochnagar Crater

 Part 1: Lochnagar Crater

 Part 2 The Moles of Lochnagar

Part 3: The Women of The Great War

Part 4: Being Involved

Approaching Lochnagar Crater,

the first thing to catch you eye is

a giant cross which overlooks the Crater.

DC Photography

Originally donated and erected in 1986 it suffered from lightning strikes and storm damage and yielded to the elements in August 2010.  Over 20 feet in length the original Cross was made from wood from ‘…a deconsecrated Northumberland church…’, with 6 feet of it being below ground level.

A new Cross made of ‘…new green English oak…’ wand was erected in 2011.

 

Click here for more information about the Cross.

As visitors commenced their walk around the Crater it is hard…

not to notice these plaques along the boardwalk.

My initial thought was that they were dedicated

to soldiers who fought in and around…

Lochnagar and the Ovillers-la-Boisselle area of France.

However, I began to notice these plaques

and signs as well and another thought 

began to take shape in my mind.  

A few emails and the exchange of some

Aussie dollars for British Pounds…

 and this photo arrived in my email.

Now I must point out that my Grandfather

was one of a dozen soldiers required to fire that shot.

He did not give the order to fire and as far as I know

he did not pull he trigger (so to speak),

but he was part of the crew that fired

the first allied shot in anger

a less than 4 hours after War had been declared

in London.

Now I have an excuse to revisit France one day.

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More information can be found at the below links,

or by Googling First Shot World War I

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-05/thousands-commemorate-first-shot-of-wwi-in-portsea-victoria/5647724

http://blogs.slv.vic.gov.au/such-was-life/first-shot-fired/

Next week we move on!

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Jo’s Monday Walk