Military History Tours On Tour - Delville Wood Centenary 13 July 2016
This morning our coach arrived and we embussed and headed north to ‘The Forest Clearing of the Armistice – Foret de Compiegne’. On the way there, wild deer were seen in the fields and bushes besides the road.
At Compiegne after looking around the rail track site, we visited the Railway carriage museum. The museum was very informative. In a conciliatory way to the Germans, the story of the original railway carriage’s destruction by fire now suggests that it was accidental. Previous stories indicated that it was deliberately destroyed by the SS in April 1945 near Thuringa and the remains buried. In the 1990s local found some remains, mainly brass items, and have returned them to France.
Then we headed off to Peronne. As our hotel was not ready, we visited the ‘Historial de la Grande Guerre’. John received a very warm welcome by Dominique Frere who is the face of the museum to visiting Australians. The museum has been almost completely rearranged.
In the Mont St Quentin room, the model of the original 2nd Division Memorial is now on display. In 2005, it was presented to the Mayor of Peronne by the GOC 2nd Australian Division, Major General P. Irving. Later it was displayed near the entrance to the book shop in the museum. The new site is the most appropriate.
After checking in to the hotel, we looked around the shops in Peronne. A large section of the car park has been turned into a large sand pit for the children. We do not know if it is a permanent change or a summer arrangement.
For most of the day, there has been some rain on and off.
Tonight we are having a quiet evening in our hotel as tomorrow is the big day to commemorate the heroism of the 1st South African Brigade.