Military History Tours Battle of Bullecourt Centenary Tour 30 April 2017
A great day. The weather report did not look good, cold winds and rain. ‘Till lunchtime the cold winds blew with a fair bit of sun; the afternoon was cloudy.
First we headed for the British front line in July 1916 to see where it started then to the nearby Lochnagar Crater to understand mining and the use of mines in World War 1.
Up the old Roman Road we found the Village of Pozières where we visited the 1st Australian Division Memorial and what is left of the German Gibraltar emplacement that caused so many casualties. In 1915-1916 the Germans turned the high ground around Pozieres in to an extremely strong defensive area. From their vantage points they could see any possible allied advancement. The Australian 1st Division attacked here in the early hours of 23 July 1916. During the next few days, progress would be measured in a few yards of ground gained at the cost of thousands of casualties. However, the village was captured. After three days and 5,000 casualties mostly due to enemy bombardment, the 1st Division was exhausted.
Up the road further we visited the Windmill position. The 2nd Division moved in and relieved the 1st on 26 of July and fought to consolidate the ground taken and to extend toward further objectives beyond the Pozières. It attacked twice, pushing the Australian line beyond the village and on 4 August the dominating feature of the windmill was taken during a night attack. We spoke to the volunteers working to turn the ground behind the current memorial into a park of remembrance. We paused at the Tank Corps memorial, and discussed the types.
Then onto the site of Moquet Farm, where after seven attacks by the 1st 2nd Divisions the feature could not be taken.
Lunch was had at the Thiepval British Memorial, where the group paused to stock up on literature and marvel at the Memorial.
After lunch we headed for Beaumont Hamel where the group were most impressed with the Canadian Memorial and were able to discuss how the Newfoundland Battalion was annihilated. This was followed by a visit to Flers where we discussed the first deployment of Tanks and the later Australian action at the same site.
Then to Grevillers Britt Cemetery, where Catorina’s great uncle Edward Dann is buried. Catorina decorated his grave and spent some time in contemplation. After that we visited Grevillers and Baupame, sites significant to Catorina’s Grandpa.