Vacances en France – 2018 – Carrière Wellington


On our last day stopping with the rellies, we headed out to Arras. On previous visits we had only ever dipped our toes into what this town has to offer and we had passed by on many occasions.

One thing we did know was that Arras is sitting on a maze of tunnels, and therefore felt it was way past time for us to find out more.

So of we went to Carrière Wellington.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say…


The Carrière Wellington is a museum in Arras, northern France. It is named after a former underground quarry which was part of a network of tunnels used by forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the First World War. Opened in March 2008, the museum commemorates the soldiers who built the tunnels and fought in the Battle of Arras in 1917.

500 miners from the New Zealand Tunnelling Company, including Māori and Pacific Islanders, recruited from the gold and coal mining districts of the country, were brought in to dig 20 kilometres (12 mi) of tunnels. They worked alongside Royal Engineer tunnelling companies, made up by now of British coal miners and expert tunnellers who had built the London Underground. Many of them were “Bantams“, soldiers of below average height who had been rejected from regular units because they did not meet the height requirements; others had been initially rejected as too old, but their specialist mining experience made them essential for the tunnelling operation.

Thousands of soldiers were billeted in the tunnels for eight days prior to the start of the Arras offensive on 9 April 1917. At 05:30 that morning, exits were dynamited to enable the troops to storm the German trenches. The Germans were taken by surprise and were pushed back 11 km (6.8 mi). This counted as an extraordinary success by the standards of the time. However, the offensive soon bogged down and it was eventually called off after casualties reached 4,000 a day.


From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carri%C3%A8re_Wellington>
Ready for the tour

Hopefully, the following pictures, will give a sense of the conditions under which the men of the New Zealand Tunelling Company worked and also the cramped space that thousands of men endured prior to beginning the attack.

The following image shows just one of the many stairways, to be used by the men as they exited the tunnels. They would have climbed in single file, popping out above ground to confront the German soldiers. I wonder if the first man up was a volunteer ?

With all the men inhabiting the tunnels a fair amount of drinking water would be required. They had their own water supply. The following image shows a water trough to the left. The trough is full of water, showing just how clean the water was. Center of the image is a mirror whose reflection shows the well from which the water comes.

Also from Wikipedia …..


The Carrière Wellington museum consists of a visitor centre displaying historic artifacts and presenting the historical context of the Battle of Arras, including the work of the tunnelers and the military strategy that underlay the tunnels’ construction. It was opened to the public on 1 March 2008.
The tunnels are accessed via a lift shaft that takes visitors approximately 22 m (70 ft) under the ground inside the galleries of the underground quarry. The tour consists of both guided and audio-guided tours on a planned path accessible for wheelchairs. The visitors discover the development of the strategy of the Battle of Arras, and also the daily life of the tunnelers of New-Zealand and the soldiers of the British Expeditionary Forces sent in these tunnels to prepare this battle.




The site is also a memorial dedicated to the battle of Arras, with a memorial wall remembering all the regiments involved in the battle of Arras. Since the Hundred Years of the battle in 2017, a second memorial wall is dedicated to portraits of NZ Tunnelers, and a statue was installed in the park for the remembrance of these tunnelers. Each year, a ceremony is organised at 6.30 am on April 9th.

An interesting and enlightening day. I am ever amazed at the amount of effort, the soldiers of the First World War, expended for so little gain.

As this was to be our last day, before heading back to good ol’ Blighty, we all went out for a family meal. And so, after a good meal at Beers & Co., it was back to Achiete and bag packing.

Shit Shambles


brexit

I am embarrassed by the way in which the elected representatives from all parties are scrabbling over   just to score points.

Once the referendum results were in the act of leaving the EU became a non political issue.

All parties should be working together to ensure that the UK came out of this cleanly.

Instead all the MPs seem to be dancing gleefully, denouncing Theresa Mays efforts, pushing for a general election.

It’s like they are on an express train heading down the mountainside, they are all fighting to be the engine driver but not one of them actually knows how to drive the train.

Brexit was always going to be a complicated and difficult issue.

The EU were always going to make it difficult for us to leave.

They will exact their pound of flesh from the UK, just because we had the temerity to vote leave.

The rest of the world is watching from the side lines. Like neighbours watching a husband and wife brawl in the street.

Now is the time to pull together, stop the infighting, and put on a united front. Show the world what makes Britain Great.

Stop this shit shambles now.

 

Vacances en France – 2018 – Lochnagar, Australian National Memorial and Amiens


Having travelled up from Troyes to Achiete le Grand, we settled in to spend time with Gerry’s brother and family who live in France.

Living as they do in the middle of the Somme department, they are surrounded by many memorials and graveyards dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives during the 1st World War.

Our first trip out took us to the crater formed by the Lochnagar Mine


The Lochnagar mine south of the village of La Boisselle in the Somme département was an underground explosive charge, secretly planted by the British during the First World War, ready for 1 July 1916, the first day on the Somme. The mine was dug by the Tunnelling Companies of the Royal Engineers under a German field fortification known as Schwabenhöhe (Swabian Height).
The British named the mine after Lochnagar Street, the British trench from which the gallery was driven. The charge at Lochnagar was one of 19 mines that were placed beneath the German lines on the British section of the Somme front, to assist the infantry advance at the start of the battle.
The mine was sprung at 7:28 a.m. on 1 July 1916 and left a crater 98 ft (30 m) deep and 330 ft (100 m) wide, which was captured and held by British troops. The attack on either flank was defeated by German small-arms and artillery fire, except on the extreme right flank and just south of La Boisselle, north of the Lochnagar Crater. The crater has been preserved as a memorial and a religious service is held each 1 July.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lochnagar_mine

Amongst the many memorialised, at the crater site, is Cecil Arthur Lewis (29 March 1898 – 27 January 1997). He was a British fighter pilot who flew in WW1, went on to be a founding executive of the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) and also enjoyed a long career as a writer.

Lieut. Cecil Arthur Lewis

From the crater we made our way over to the Australian National Memorial & Sir John Monash Centre, about 30 kilometers away, at Villers-Bretonneux.


The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is the main memorial to Australian military personnel killed on theWestern Front during World War 1. It is located on the Route Villiers-Bretonneux (D 23), between the towns of Fouilloy and Villers-Bretonneux, in the Somme départementFrance. The memorial lists 10,773 names of soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force with no known grave who were killed between 1916, when Australian forces arrived in France and Belgium, and the end of the war. The location was chosen to commemorate the role played by Australian soldiers in the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux (24–27 April 1918).
Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial consists of a tower within the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, which also includes a Cross of Sacrifice. The tower is surrounded by walls and panels on which the names of the missing dead are listed. The main inscription is in both French and English, on either side of the entrance to the tower. The memorial and cemetery are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villers%E2%80%93Bretonneux_Australian_National_Memorial

Touring this site was very emotional and the Sir John Monash Centre provides huge amounts of historical information as well as an intense audio/visual experience.

These are some of the signs along the entrance way ……

And then it was time for lunch which was at the Leon de Bruxelles restaurant, Glisy. Here we had Fish and Chips and moules. Yuuumy!!

The afternoon was spent in Amiens, walking the streets and touring The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens, or simply Amiens Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church and the seat of the Bishop of Amiens.

Suitably filled with history and architecture we headed back to Achiete, for cheese, meats and alcohol.

Cafe on the Dam


Took a trip out to Serpentine Dam and had lunch at the Cafe on the Dam. Here are a few of the locals who joined us for lunch ……

Bin Chicken / Tip Turkey


Bin Chicken / Tip Turkey / Dump Duck. These are all local names for the ubiquitous Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca) 

Apparently the Bin Chicken is widespread across much of Australia. It has predominantly white plumage with a bare, black head, long down curved bill and black legs.

These birds are the subject of a “Planet Earth” documentary ….

And even their own animated series ….

Although they are seen in the wild, they have become a feature of the suburbs in WA.

The picture at the beginning of this post was taken behind the Divers Tavern, Broome.

One can only begin to imagine what kind of “bin juice” this Bin Chicken has been drinking

BBC News: IS brides: Two more mothers ‘stripped of UK citizenship’


BBC News – IS brides: Two more mothers ‘stripped of UK citizenship’
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47512659

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the child had died as a result of the “callous and inhumane” decision to strip Ms Begum of her citizenship while Tory MP and former justice minister Phillip Lee urged the government to “reflect” on its “moral responsibility” for the tragedy.

No Diane Abbott, the decision to strip Ms Begum of her citizenship is not “callous and inhumane”.

What is “callous and inhumane” is the support that women, like Ms Begum, give to terrorists.

The death of Ms Begum’s child is entirely down to her own personal life choices. The British Government does not need to “reflect” on its “moral responsibility” since these terrorist supporters have shown no moral responsibility.

I am fed up with the constant carping on about how the UK is mistreating or being unfair to wrong doers in general and terrorists and terrorist supporters in general.

As far as I am concerned these people stepped outside the law and, at that time, they relinquished all human rights, in the same way that they denied their innocent victims their human rights.

I have no sympathy for these women and they should not be allowed back into the UK.