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

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk32_Lochnagar-Crater-Pt-3

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Jo’s Monday Walk

Week-32

Lochnagar Crater

 Part 3…Women

Part 1: Lochnagar Crater

 Part 2 The Moles of Lochnagar

Part 3: The Women of The Great War

Part 4: Being Involved

This week is dedicated to all the women who

served during World War War I

Among the foxholes surrounding

Lochnagar Crater…

is perhaps the only

Western Front memorial

dedicated to…

the women who served in

the Great War.

The meorial was donated by

  Wenches in trenches

Click above or below for their website or

their Facebook Page

A simple…

 

but powerful memorial…

which describes the feelings of all who…

 

came in contact with the women…

 

of The Great War.

My Grandfather was one of those soldiers

who was thankful for skilled nursing staff

helping him back to good health

after being gassed on the Western Front.

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Jo’s Monday Walk

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: Lochnagar Crater

Part 2 The Moles of Lochnagar

Part 3: The Women of The Great War

Part 4: Being Involved

 

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: Lochnagar Crater

Part 2 The Moles of Lochnagar

Part 3: The Women of The Great War

Part 4: Being Involved

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