Military History Tours On Tour - Fromelles and Pozières Centenary 24 July 2016
Our last day together today.
The first stop was the Windmill feature fought over during the Pozières campaign. The display of small white crosses to simulate the sails of the windmill that had adorned the site before 1914 was very moving, as was the nearby memorial to the Tank Corps.
After thius we visited Theipval, site of the British memorial to the great war. A truly monumental structure with an excellent museum and souvenir shop. An inspection of the Lochnager Crater, largest crater left over from the Western Front and created on the first day of the Somme offensive in 1916 followed.
Then to Albert where we inspected the cathedral and strolled through the town.
Dernacourt was our last battlefield visit. John described in detail this heroic Australian action that helped arrest the German offensive in April 1918.
Thereafter we travelled to Warloy Ballion for a cemetery visit at the request of one of our Pipers.
As the day closed, our coach drove to Amiens for us to inspect the cathedral and have dinner.
While our coaches were the last day of the tour in the Somme, our support vehicle had a couple of visits to cemeteries well to the north. Therefore at 0900 that group, including pipers Ian and Frank left Lens and headed to Bailleul. It was our hope that our first visit would be to the Bailleul community cemetery extension to find and visit the grave of Private George Wood, a Gallipoli veteran mortally wounded at Fromelles on 20 July 1916 who died next day at Casualty Clearing Station No 2. Dorothy and Barry were relatives of Private Wood, and Dorothy’s cousin had visited the site a few days earlier, 100 years to the day after George died. It was a very moving moment when Dorothy laid a knitted poppy in his grave while Ian and Frank were playing a piper’s lament.
Our next stop was to visit the grave of another casualty of that Fromelles action, Private Walter Sinclair, killed on 20 July 1916. Walter is buried in ANZAC Cemetery, Sailly-sur-lalys. His relatives, Frana and John were able to lay a poppy again while Ian and Frank were playing a piper’s lament.
The Pipers led us from the cemetery and the music attracted a local couple who requested a couple of times, Ian and Frank obliged. The gentleman’s grandfather donated the land for the ANZAC cemetery and a Canadian one across the road; his farm still surrounds the cemeteries.
Following our visits as those involved made their way to Amiens via the Windmill, Lochnager Crater and Dernacourt.