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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Back & Forth Tour 2019 - Day Three, Somme (North)

Day three was given over to touring the remaining Somme sites on the northern part of the battlefield.

Once again the weather was kind to us making the rough tracks that link many of the sites passable to normal road cars.

There was a distinct lack of fellow tourists all week, something we've put down to Brexit uncertainties like health cover, driving licences, ferry delays etc. A shame, but it made for easy touring for our little party.

Our plan for the day looked like this;-

And here are the pictures; -

The Ulster Tower, near Thiepval Wood

Excavated Frontline Trenches (Whitchurch Street) in Thiepval Woods

The Ulster Tower's Custodian delivered a fantastic lecture on the Woods and the battles of the Irish Regiments
Communication Trench passing an underground bunker

A Toffee Apple Mortar position

Toffee Apple Mortar on display inside the small museum alongside the Ulster Tower's tea-rooms

The infamous Pope's Nose position which covers the Woods down as far as the River Ancre

A sample section from the mural that decorates the new Thiepval Museum - telling the story of July 1916. An excellent addition to the experience.

French Bi-Plane also inside the museum

The Thiepval Memorial

British Observation Post at Hebuterne and overlooking Gommecourt Park - dates from 1918

Sheffield Park - I always find this area a little spooky - I believe locals say it is haunted.

The ridge is the German Frontline on 1st July 1916 and the Northern battalions attacked it from these woods 

A newer memorial - new since our last visit anyway.

The afternoon sun helps to high-light the many shell craters in front of Railway Hollow Cemetery. On our drive back to Serre we encountered a most obnoxious French Farmer who appears to have made it his mission to stop anyone visiting the place. The CWGC website offers advice about how to deal with him....all I will say is take care and if he kicks off make sure you involve the local police.

Pte. James Crozier - shot at dawn for desertion 27th February 1916 buried in the Sucerie CWGC Cemetery

The church in Mailly Maillet - the carvings were protected by sand-bagging throughout the war

Evidence of past visitors!

Mailly Maillet Chateau - James Crozier was executed against the wall just through the main gate, while the rest of his battalion were paraded in the road outside - so they could hear it all!

Beaumont Hamel - the Hawthorn ridge crater (surrounded by trees) on the right of the picture

Beaumont Hamel CWGC Cemetery with the Hawthorn Ridge crater on the horizon
Another good (though busy) day. Tomorrow, something new.....

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