Military History Tours Polygon Wood and Passchendaele Centenary Tour 27 September 2017
A really great day of touring.
We headed out soon after 0800, Don speaking at length on the actions at Hill 60 where this piece of vital ground was fought over and mined three times between 1914 and 1918. The pock marked terrain that was once the spoil from a railway cutting providing an interesting insight into warfare in the early 20th century. Having walked through the glades that were once desolate, we paused at the memorial to the 1st Australian Tunnelling company and pondered the challenges these underground soldiers faced.
Thence to the village of Messines. En route Don detailed the battle fought by the nominally victorious Australians. Then on arrival we inspected the statue of the New Zealand soldier, the monument to the Christmas 1914 truce, visited the small Museum; and had a welcome cup of coffee. Thereafter we visited the site of the Irish Tower where John showed our group the ground the Australian 3rd and 4th Divisions crossed. The first action by the Division commanded by our future Corps Commander, General Monash. Our box lunches were then enjoyed in the grounds of the Isle of Ireland adjacent the tower.
Then on to the Hooge crater and nearby cemetery. Followed soon after by a visit to Polygon Wood where we were able to see in the full light of day where yesterday’s commemoration had taken place. The more adventurous of our party walking again the reflective trail that had so impressed us yesterday morning.
After such a full day we were all in good spirits as we returned to our hotel.