Military History Tours On Tour - Delville Wood Centenary 16 July 2016
After leaving Peronne we drove north to Vimy Ridge. The weather was fine, but overcast and hazy. Arriving at Vimy Ridge, some of the group were very interested in the self propelled lawn mowers used by the Canadians to keep the grass down the dangerous area.
There were no flags flying at the entrance when we arrived, but had been put up before we left.
At the information area, the car park has gone and a new building is under construction for the centenary next year. Three bus loads of Canadian troops who were escorted by heavily armed police arrived at the same time as we did. A new car park is situated on the way into the site. The staff think that the new building will be opened next April, but are not sure by whom.
We headed north to Fromelles. The Pheasant Wood Cemetery was closed due to the construction/destruction work being carried out by the DVA for next week’s ceremony. We went to Cobbers for a very brief presentation on the old German line.
We strolled along the narrow road to VC Corner Cemetery. It is being set up for the second ceremony next week. There was cable laid beside the road from the Pheasant Wood Cemetery to VC Corner Cemetery.
As we left VC Cemetery, a small group or re-enactors came marching down the road; they were two poilu, one nurse, a staff sergeant of the Rifle Brigade and a French peasant who was being drafted. Back at Cobbers a number of group photos were taken. John spoke with a couple of Australian Federal Police who were there for next week. We visited the Fromelles Museum.
As international travellers we crossed into Belgium. At Hyde Park Corner we stopped and visited the memorial and the two cemeteries. The locals were transporting their manure piles past the site to fertilise the paddocks. There is a new Museum, the Plug Street Museum.
At the Island of Ireland Peace Park we had our late lunch, while John gave a brief talk about the battle of Messines.
We then drove into Ypres and checked into the hotel, before visiting the ‘In Flanders’ Fields Museum’, the chocolate shops and the specialised book shops. The hotel now has bar service from 6 am to 12 midnight. It also serves ‘gluten free’ beer.
A military bookshop with a genuine Vickers and a genuine Lewis gun in the front windows.
We attended the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate before having a late evening meal.