The Australians in the Somme

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Parc Des Cygness

Flag of France  , Picardy,
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It was time to leave Paris and move on to our next destination. Moving on to Amiens with a visit to Villers Bretonneux on our way there to visit the Australian National Memorial there. We did not have too far to go so could spend plenty of time there looking at and remembering the battles fought there during WW1. It is a rather awesome sight to see and it has been so very well set up and beautifully maintained. It is very hard to describe the emotions you feel once you get there. The area around is very flat and would have been a terrible place to be during that time. Once you climb the stairs leading up the memorial grounds you cannot help but feel sad looking at all those head stones. You find yourself reading one after the other and suddenly it hits you how young these lads were when they died there and how terrified they must have felt.Also it was windy and a very cold place to be this morning .  Slowly we walked our way up to the memorial wall which has all the names of the soldiers that went missing presumed dead on it. It is enormous and the names jjust go on and on. According to the stats 331,000 men served overseas, casualties reached 215,000 including 59,000 dead. Such a waste of those young lives. You can actually climb the steps of the tower situated between the walls which gives you a panoramic view of the whole thing including the battle fields.
Lots of Australians were there as well. the most amazing thing was that everybody was so quiet while they were there, including the children. Of course small Aussie flags were everywhere and lots of poppies fixed to names on the wall. The main tower also displays bullet holes and marks where the bullets hit, however this was done during the second world war. Why anyone would want to shoot at this is beyond me but nevertheless it happened. Lets hope this will be it. It was a very interesting visit and also very emotional . Before we left we could not help but turn around and softly say " Thank You " for giving us the freedom to be able to visit the Memorial.
The whole Somme area is littered with Australian soldiers landmarks and you could spend all day just looking at different ones. We decided to move on and settle ourselves in Amiens for the night and have a drink to make us feel light hearted again. Met some Pommies at the caravan park, chatted for a while and locked ourselves in the van. 6 degrees outside tonight but dry. Tomorrow we will visit Amiens.
A very rewarding day today.
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goonermarch on

A very poignant blog beautifully written with photographs which illustrate how many young men gave their lives so that we can be free today.

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