northern France July 2018

Dec 5th, 2018, 08:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 151
Sugar maple, I'm probably not the best one to answer that question. Even through it is only about an hours drive between Ypres and Vimy ridge, personally I liked the idea of a base in Belgium for touring that area and another in France for the Vimy Ridge area battlefields. Lille is in between and worked for us as a landing point but I would rather a smaller city/town for a touring base, assuming using a rental car.

Bilboburgler yes makes sense that the armour would,have been pillaged. Also I read that for archaeology purposes you would have to dig down about a meter to reach that era, so I guess farmers are unlikely to find anything today. I guess its a news story for the future when someone digs for a foundation and unearths a mass of artifacts.
Jim143 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2018, 09:38 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Right now most farmers are scared of ploughing too deep as they end up with un-exploded bombs.
bilboburgler is offline  
Dec 6th, 2018, 07:01 AM
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Hi there Jim
I enjoyed reading your report as it brought back so many memories of a similar trip I did in October 2012. I can't seem to drag up my trip report, if I even did one but you may be interested in my blog entries on the topic - 2012 in the archives Rockin' Ryoko: 2012

I'm from Australia so my areas of interest were slightly different but the experiences of all soldiers were similar. Our boys were so far from home and fighting for a very new nation. It started for me when I treated myself to a trip to Paris for a special birthday which coincided with a great deal on airfares. I'd always wanted to visit Bruges and on realising that I'd be near so many WW1 sites, I decided to research my relatives who had served.

All my great uncles and my grandfather who served had survived, some in better condition than others and I got right into researching the topic on an excellent site from the Australian War Memorial. I decided to adopt the "boys" whose names were on the same memorial as my uncle who died during WW2. Many of them has joined together and sailed on the same ship so I had my "Subi" boys and my "Suevic" boys. I researched all their war records and final resting places and included many of them in my planning. I told myself that as their mothers most likely never had the opportunity to visit their graves or memorials that I would.

I totally had the same experience trying to exit the parking garage at Lille, then driving too close to the ticket machine and having trouble opening the window and inserting the ticket (Australia drive on the opposite side as in UK) then getting on the freeway and not being able to fire up the GPS. My little Renault Twingo was tiny among all the trucks!I stayed right in Ypres and visited the excellent Flanders Field Museum and a very moving ceremony at Menin gate, minus football spectators.

I visited Fleurbaix, Fromelles and Poperinghe and Talbot House the first day and next day a loop including Passchendale, Essex Farm Cemetery and the nearby dressing station along the canal, notable for being the location where the Canadian John McCrae who wrote the famous poem worked as a medico. Tyne Cot, Hill 60, the Hooge crater and Polygon Wood then via Messines to my next stop at Amiens. Like you I found it had to reconcile the peace and serenity of these rural locations with the horror and devastation of the past.

I then explored the sites of the Somme, many of which are of particular interest for Australians. It was a quick trip but I covered a lot of ground and managed to check off many on my list.

On a later trip I had another opportunity to visit Ypres and once more attend the Menin gate ceremony but being July, it was much more crowded. On that trip I visited Vimy Ridge and even though it was July, there was a freezing strong wind which curtained my visit somewhat. It's so moving and yet shocking to consider the slaughter of young men in their prime in that supposed War to End all Wars and so upsetting to think that of course, it hasn't turned out that way at all.
eigasuki is offline  
Dec 6th, 2018, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,220
I have not seen many South Africans on this site looking for their own memorials, but I would like to say that the South African memorial is most definitely worth a visit if you are anywhere in the area. You don't need to be South African to appreciate it. I certainly am not...

South African WW1 Memorial at Bois Delville | Any Port in a Storm
kerouac is offline  
Dec 6th, 2018, 03:45 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 151

Enjoyed your blog and the humour. I can appreciate the misfortunes... guess its all part of the experience. I would liked to have visited Bruges and we considered that off and on during our planning but decided against it. As I recall the train required some changes and the drive was a bit long. Anyway, a destination for some future trip.
Jim143 is offline  

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