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Old 07-01-2018, 12:09 PM   #46
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Sobering and beautiful.
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Old 07-01-2018, 12:16 PM   #47
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I do like how they have actually planted flowers at the headstones. That ensures that they will always have flowers there. It really adds to the honor bestowed on these lives that were sacrificed.
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:16 PM   #48
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A beautiful memorial, so many names for just one battle it’s very sad.
It is exceptionally sad and so hard to comprehend.
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:16 PM   #49
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It's beautifully done. And the flowers seem to make it that much more peaceful.
I kept noticing the flowers at every cemetery we went to. They were so beautifully done.
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:19 PM   #50
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Saturday 9 June – part five: the reason for the whole trip

We made our way out on our coach and through a little village. We saw so many similar to this…




I think it was here that our guide told us about a place we went through that celebrates the Australians and what they did for the village in World War I. However, it was interesting, because as he spoke, he was talking about how many Australians died here and compared to the British, it was a tiny number, perhaps 0.1%. However, obviously there’s a link, because he said it’s not uncommon for the little bed and breakfast places here to book people in and then if an Australian wants to visit, you’ll get bumped out, with various excuses, so they can accommodate the Australian instead. Not somewhere I think I’d voluntarily come… unless I was Australian of course!

The next cemetery we visited was called Fins New British Cemetery, final resting place to 1,273 souls. It was captured from the Germans in April 1917, but lost a year later and was then finally recaptured in August 1918. Doesn’t that just highlight the sad futility of this war? So many years spent fighting over so little land. Again, the majority in here are British, although there are also Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans and even 233 German soldiers.




















Now this cemetery is the reason for this entire trip, although we didn’t know it until we got on the coach earlier. It turns out that one of the members of the club had been on an earlier trip to Ypres in Belgium. They were trying to find the grave of their relative, but with no joy. Our guide took the challenge on and discovered the wrong name had been put down in the book the family had originally found in Stirling Castle. He eventually found the grave here and the family had travelled here to finally see the grave and lay a wreath. Even more amazing, for the first time in something like 100 years, Stirling Castle amended their entry as a result of the research our guide did. Wow, he really is quite something. ;yes:

In the distance, Mark pointed out these guys…



Every time we’re in this part of the world, I can’t help but wonder whether the farm animals roaming around feel any differently somewhere that’s home to potentially thousands of bodies. Probably not. They seem so peaceful, but it is such a melancholy place and I know animals sometimes have a sense for these things….

Once again, there were poppies here:



However, in the distance, there were signs that life still goes on here as normal, despite its morbid history…



Next: where the tanks first trundled into battle…
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:49 PM   #51
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That’s some dedicated sleuthing done by the guide. Glad it paid off for the family to know where their family member’s final resting place is.
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:54 PM   #52
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Such a somber site, especially the unknown graves, so sad for the families.
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Old 07-02-2018, 03:26 PM   #53
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That’s some dedicated sleuthing done by the guide. Glad it paid off for the family to know where their family member’s final resting place is.
Oh my goodness, our guide was just amazing. We were blown away by his dedication and I was glad it paid off for the family, but also for him, after all the work he'd done on it.
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Old 07-02-2018, 03:27 PM   #54
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Such a somber site, especially the unknown graves, so sad for the families.
That's the thing that always strikes me about these cemeteries, the number of unknown soldiers and, in some cases. sailors. So sad that no-one will ever know their identity.
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Old 07-02-2018, 07:11 PM   #55
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Both of the cemeteries are quite special and so well done with so much detail! They are well laid out and kept up so well. Pretty amazing with your guide and the detective work he accomplished successfully for that family! So many losses for one battle but it pales in comparison to those who were lost during WW II with the D-Day invasion! That's quite odd with the B&B's policy regarding Australian visitors.
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Old 07-02-2018, 10:02 PM   #56
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Such a beautiful tribute to honor the fallen! Awesome work by the guide to find the grave for the family!
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:48 AM   #57
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Both of the cemeteries are quite special and so well done with so much detail! They are well laid out and kept up so well. Pretty amazing with your guide and the detective work he accomplished successfully for that family! So many losses for one battle but it pales in comparison to those who were lost during WW II with the D-Day invasion!
If you take just these cemeteries then but the casualties really weren't as high as you might think during D-Day, an estimated 4,000 Allied and between 4,000 and 9,000 for Nazi Germany. Given what happened that day, it could've been so much worse.
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:52 AM   #58
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Saturday 9 June – part six: where the tanks first trundled into battle…

We headed to our next stop. This is Ribecourt Road cemetery with just 254 graves here. Yet again, just as with the previous cemetery, this changed hands during the war – captured first by the British in November 1917, lost in March 2018 and poetically, five months on again, recaptured.

The wood you can see in the distance is where the tanks first emerged when they were used during World War I. It was November 1917, when the British launched an attack towards Cambrai, using a large number of tanks in significant force for the first time in history. It was successful… to begin with anyway, with the British taking huge amounts of land, but the Germans launched a counter attack and took back much of the ground the British originally gained.

I can’t even begin to imagine what a sight that was when these machines suddenly came into view out of this peaceful place. Today the most action you’ll see here are some deer, or so our guide told us. We didn’t see any on our visit.












And once again, this poignant symbol was everywhere around…



Once again, we headed out in the coach.





Our next stop was the Monument to the Nations of the Battles of Cambrai. This monument is very recent and all started when a tank was found in 1998… but more of that later. It was decided to create a lasting memorial to honour all those who fought in the battle of Cambrai in World War I. Unveiled to mark the 90th anniversary of the battle back in 2007, it represents the soldiers of all nations who fought here. The ground is laid out as the Union Jack, the British flag, with each arm of it pointing to a significant place in the battlefield. In the centre of it, you see tank tracks and footprints alongside it. Our guide told us that something was wrong with it and they only found out when it was finished. After some searching, someone worked out that the tank tracks are going the wrong way – away from the battlefield. Oops! At the rear of the site are the flags of those countries that took part in the 1917 and 1918 battles.





And again, the surrounding countryside looked so peaceful, but goodness knows what horrors it had seen over the years….







Next: meeting Deborah… a very special old lady
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:41 AM   #59
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If that land could speak.... It is so peaceful right now.
Oops, the tracks going the wrong way! That's Ok, we get the meaning of it.
Again with those flowers.
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Old 07-03-2018, 12:07 PM   #60
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If that land could speak....
Oh my goodness We were at Eltham Palace on Sunday, which dates back to King Henry VIII's day and I was saying the same thing about the trees there. I bet they've seen some things over the years.

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It is so peaceful right now.
Oops, the tracks going the wrong way! That's Ok, we get the meaning of it.
Again with those flowers.
They were just everywhere.
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