Military History Tours Le Hamel Centenary Tour 5 July 2018
Tour one guests were given the opportunity to visit the Glade of the Armistice en route to Paris. Visiting the place where the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918 was regarded by all as a great way to end the tour.
Tour 2 departed the beautiful town of Peronne and headed north into the Flanders area and the town of Kortrijk in Belgium. On the way, we stop at the Martinsart Cemetery where Chris Kelly visited the grave of Frederick Septimus Kelly (1881-1916), oarsman, musician and soldier. He had a rare combination of outstanding sporting and musical ability. He was killed in action on 13 November 1916.
Next, we visited Pheasant Wood cemetery at Fromelles where Chris visited the grave of friend of his in Geelong who has a descendent (Pte William Cullen, 31st Battalion) now recognised at Fromelles following the identification of his remains in 2010 and was interred in an individual grave in the cemetery.
Whilst at Pheasant Wood cemetery we took time visit the Information Centre and Museum.
Just around the corner we stop at the Cobber Statue were the battel of Fromelles happened.
Fromelles was the first major battle fought by Australian troops on the Western Front. Directed against a strong German position known as the Sugar Loaf salient, the attack was intended primarily as a feint to draw German troops away from the Somme offensive then being pursued further to the south. The 5th Australian Division suffered 5,533 casualties, rendering it incapable of offensive action for many months. The attack was a complete failure as the Germans realised within a few hours it was merely a feint. It therefore had no impact whatsoever upon the progress of the Somme offensive.
Next we headed to Kortrijk and checked into the Park Hotel and freshened up to attend the Last post ceremony at Menin Gate in Ypres. The ceremony was attended by a number of Australian politicians, the Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, The Hon Darren Chester MP and The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, and the Royal military band. The band play music during the wreath laying ceremony and played the British, French and Australian National Anthems