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Day 1-3 (Paris) Day 4        5       6 (France) Day 7     8      9 (Belgium)    Day 10         11       12 (Nether.)
C.O.'s Intro | Itinerary

June 1-3

Dieppe | Juno | Clair Tison Ypres | Vimy | Low Tempo Walcheren | Arnhem | Groningen

2010 Centennial Battlefield Pilgrimage - Day 7

June 7th was a dramatic shifting of gears, from the wide open spaces of France and the Second World War battlefields, to the concentrated killing fields of the Somme. One is immediately struck by how close together all the major monuments in the area are to one another, and how many well-tended cemeteries there are; one can scarcely get out of eyesight of one before spotting two more.

Under the direction of the two tour guides, Jim Henderson and Sergeant Denny Russell, the buses made their way back in time to the summer of 1916, eventually setting foot on the ground at several monuments, including the Thiepval Memorial, the Piper's Memorial, the Courcellette Memorial, and a guided tour at Newfoundland Park at Beaumont Hamel. An arranged lunch at the Tommy Cafe permitted a walk-through of the outdoor trench exhibit there.

Greetings from a friendly face at the Tommy Cafe in Belgium.

Members of the Regimental Pipes and Drums pose by a monument to military pipers on the Somme.
Photo by Nancy Desilets

Thiepval Memorial catalogues the names of the thousands of Commonwealth soldiers who went missing in action on the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme.
Photo by Nancy Desilets

The Golden Virgin of Albert, snapped from the bus window. Many legends sprang from this statue during the First World War after a shell hit it on January 15, 1915, and it keeled over but did not topple from the steeple. At that time, just three miles from the front, soldiers gazed on the precariously perched statue - left dangly nearly horizontal - and told each other the statue's fate would determine the outcome of the war. In March 1918, the Germans took Albert, and the statue finally fell in April. Albert was recaptured in August. After the war, the town and the basilica were rebuilt, and a replica statue restored to its place of honour.
Photo by Michael Dorosh

Point of attack for the Newfoundland Regiment on 1 July 1916. The trenches have been preserved at Newfoundland Park. In the distance, sheep graze on the grounds of the park - unexploded ordnance still comes to the surface 90 years later; it's safer to graze than to mow.
Photo by Michael Dorosh


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