Military History Tours Armistice Day Centenary Tour 10 November 2018
Today it rained almost incessantly all morning, it was cold too.
We followed the course of the battles that in August to October 1918 shortened the war. Our first stop was Heath Cemetery at Harbonieres, the final objective for day 1 of the Battle of Amiens. We considered what happened in detail. Then on to Suzanne Cemetery No 3 where we commemorated the ultimate sacrifice of Private Stanley Armstrong.
At Mt St Quentin we marvelled at the 2 Div Memorial whilst lamenting that the original design was destroyed in 1941. Nearby we braved light rain to hear John Lee describe the battle.
On to Maissemy Soldatenfriedhof where we solemnly inspected the site made sacred by the sacrifice of so many young German men. The graves sporting a Star of David were particularly poignant given the subsequent treatment of loyal Jewish Germans.
At Bellenglise the road to the 4 Division Memorial had been made impassable by rain. We thus stopped near the St Quentin Canal with a distant view of the Memorial and discussed the breaching of the Hindenburg Outpost Line.
Via a coffee shop where a warm but small espresso could be purchased for 1.5 € we then drove on to where the canal enters a 6 km tunnel at Riqueval. There we discussed the American tragedy at the Hindenburg line, had our picnic lunch and as the rain had cleared, inspected the canal entrance.
Our last stop was Montbrehain where John Lee gave a detailed presentation on the last of Australia's battles in World War 1 and we visited the cemetery where Private Taylor has the easternmost grave of All Australians who died in France 1916-1918. He died on 5 October 1918, the day Australia's war ended.
An early night, tomorrow is our big day, and it is predicted to be cold and wet.