Monday, August 01, 2011

The Somme Today

As motorway food is deplorable even in France we like to get off the motorway for lunch.  The Somme is conveniently located halfway between Brugge to Paris so we squeezed in a quick visit.  I'd been there before 3 years ago, but it was worth going back to see some of it in the sunshine and show Carmel where her grandfather was wounded in 1916 (as was mine).

We went to Pozieres for lunch stopping at the memorials to the 1st Australian Division (my GD's) and the 2nd (Carm's GD's) to look out over the battlefield.  It's gently rolling countryside, pretty as a picture in the sunshine (the sun appeared soon after we left Belgium).  It's hard to imagine it as a morass.

Like Ypres, the area was got back into farming production asap and there are only limited remains - the odd delict bunker or crater hole in a field or next to a monument.  And of course cemetaries and monuments everywhere.  But the area is better signposted than Belgium.  Since I was last there signs noting where the front was a certain dates have been placed beside the Albert Road.  These are a great help in getting a feel for the scale of the action and the speed of the advance (slow).

The 1st pic is the 2nd Div monument, the 2nd, the 1st Div's, the 3rd, the view north from the 2nd Div monument just north of Pozieres.  This the direction of the Australian attack from here.  I could have made a panorama, but it's much the same for 360 degrees.

We did lunch at "Le Tommy" Restaurant & Museum in Pozieres - a shameless piece of kitch aimed at  commonwealth visitors, but it was actually entertaining and not bad food.  We wondered if our grandfathers lived it up here in 1916 before being wounded & sent to Britain to recover.  Fortunately both our grandfathers missed out on the 1917 madness.  Mine got a cushy job training new recruits in Britain.  By the time Carm's pop had recovered, deserted, been caught & seerved his time in jail Paschendaale was all over.  They both must have been so disappointed.  But they were both back in it in 1918 doing their bit in Monash's victories further south. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

doest look like you at all jim