We had booked a one day tour of the Somme Battlefields. Pick up was in the centre of Amiens, about 10 min walk from where we were staying at Rue de Dijon. We had a nice group, 3 Aussie including us and 2 Irishmen.
The tour leader and driver was Lea, 30 something year old who was a wealth of knowledge on WW1. She had studied English and then did a year in an English speaking country, North Ireland!
First location was the Adelaide Cemetery at Villiers Brettoneaux. This was where the body of the unknown soldier was taken to be interred at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Villiers Brettoneaux is the village that was recaptured by the Australian soldiers on the 25 April 1918. The village including the primary school had been destroyed by artillery fire. School children in Victoria raised the money to rebuild the school. As a result there is widespread acknowledgement in the village of Australia. There is a Victoria cafe, a Melbourne street, kangaroos motifs, everywhere including the village offices, and a special museum at the school.
This shot was taken from the museum of the playground, note the sign.
It is an excellent museum and I wish I could have spent more time there.
Just outside of the village is the Australian War Memorial. A few shots
This one from the top of the tower.
After VB we went to Lochnagar Crater, a site of tunneling work and subsequent explosion during the war. It is privately owned and well preserved. There was a bus load of Germans there at the same time as us!
At the entrance there is a sign that due to the risk of ground subsistence you enter at your own risk. Our “nanny state” would not allow access if this were in Australia!
These memorials are all over the battlefield sites, you look from a memorial or crater and behind is field full of sugar beet, potatoes or recently ploughed.
Lunch was a Albert and then we went to the British Memorial at Thiepval
This one is massive but both Rosie and I thought the Australian one at VB was the better. Not as grand, simpler but more dignified.
We went to a few more sites including one with old trenches which are now grassed in and not much of a photo.
After the tour we returned to Amiens got the car and headed to Ieper (Ypres as the French spell it). The whole Somme region is very fertile and agriculture a major industry. Farm machinery is frequently on the road. This is a load of spuds being towed behind a tractor at 40 kph. We passed as quickly as possible!