Military History Tours On Tour - Fromelles and Pozières Centenary 22 July 2016
A good day of touring.
We started out at the Australian Memorial, Villers-Brettoneux, John had described the battle and significance of the memorial en-route. A quick tune of the pipes and the pipes and drums marched up to the memorial, a short service was held, wreaths laid, then the pipes and drums marched out of the memorial precinct. A further short service was held at Peter’s relative, Private Valentine Rochfort’s grave. The ode was said, and Margaret laid a poppy for Peter (he was feeling poorly).
Then into Villers-Brettoneux town where we visited the Victoria School and Museum. All were impressed even though the Museum collection is truncated during the refurbishment of the Museum building.
On then to the vicinity of Cachy where the site of Cliff Sadlier and Charlie Stokes gallantry that won them the Victory Cross and Military Medal respectively was visited. The first tank versus tank battle was discussed. And crucifix corner cemetery visited. At crucifix corner cemetery we held a small service for Margaret’s grandmother’s brother with the ode being said, a poppy laid on the grave and a piper’s tribute.
Le Hamel, the site of General Monash’s triumph was the final visit of the day. We took-in the memorial, discussed the conduct of the battle, and inspected the re-created trenches.
One of our special cemetery visits was to Thistle Dump Cemetery near Longueval, off a country road 800 metres down and around some paddocks growing canola, wheat and broadbeans. The road was not a road, it was a two wheel track. This was the beautiful location that had at rest Private Albert Headley Loretta’s great uncle who was killed in February 1917. We conducted a small remembrance service supported by pipers Ian and Bert. The sound of the pipes echoed down this beautiful valley. As we noticed that lying in rest here were many from Scottish Regiments; Royal Scotts, Cameroons and more who would not have heard the sound of pipes since 1917; our pipers changed that by playing many tunes that the men would have known.
On the way back to our hotel, we passed near where Rittmeister Von Richthofen crashed his red Fokker triplane, and drove through the town of Albert.