Military History Tours Polygon Wood and Passchendaele Centenary Tour 3 October 2017
Today we visited Bullecourt, site of an Australian tragedy, the South African Memorial, then followed key battles on the march to victory in 1918.
At Bullecourt we inspected the digger statue monument at the battle site where the battle was explained, and we contemplated the futile and tragic loss of so many young Australian lives. They were knocking at the door of the Hindenburg Line, the last major German defensive position; it was not opened.
We marvelled at the splendour of the South African Memorial and noted it has now been expanded to cover all South African conflicts, not just World War 1.
The march to victory battles we covered were: Mt St Quentin, Bellenglise, Riqueval and Montbrehain. At Mt St Quentin we inspected the 2 Div Memorial and pondered the splendour of the memorial the Australian digger statue after the original was destroyed by the NAZI army in WW2. A deep description of the battle gave is all an insight into the valour shown by our soldiers as the war moved to its conclusion. At Bellenglise we inspected the memorial to the Australian 4th Division, and pondered the tactics Monash’s troops used to breach the Hindenburg Outpost Line. At Riqueval we inspected the magnificent canal and tunnel started by Louis XIV then opened by Napoleon 1. Fortified, this formed part of the German Hindenburg line. With the aid of a pillbox that still stands, we were able to see how the German defence worked, and thought about the tragedy of the two American divisions placed under Australian command for this battle and suffered heavy losses.
On our way back to our hotel, we stopped by again at Bullecourt to visit their impressive museum.