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Monday 24 April 2017 - The Somme

The group toured more of the Somme including the inspiring Australian 2nd Division Memorial and the trenches of Mont St Quentin. The group then headed east out of the Somme battlefields and into the area that was the scene of a series of great Australian victories in late-1918: the Aisne. Sites visited here included the 4th Australian Division Memorial at Bellenglise and the village of Montbrehain - Australia's last battlefield of the war. Adelaide Cemetery, where Australia's Unknown Soldier laid for 75 years, was also a morning stop.

Photos

Photos of the students' tour of Amiens have been added to the gallery.

Student views

The Somme

Another packed day within the Somme, the end of our tour is quite near and we are certainly excited for the Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux tomorrow morning. On the bus we began our journey by exploring Adelaide Cemetery, the home of the Unknown Soldier that lies within the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. We discovered that the Unknown Soldier was chosen through soldiers that did not have any information on them.

Afterwards we drove to Le Hamel, where we visited the Australian Corp Memorial Park. We were in awe of the beautiful view of the Canola fields and hillside. Peter also guided us through John Monash's great success in the battle of Le Hamel within the last 100 days of the war. We found it interesting as to why such an important figure in Australia's history is unrecognised in the school curriculum and amongst modern society. Looking through small trenches, we were successful in finding small pieces of shrapnel. We then headed towards Heath Cemetery, a Commonwealth Cemetery which was significant to the tour due to the involvement of Indigenous Australians in the war; Private W.R Rawlings who received the Military Medal in the 29th Battalion was especially interesting.

Arriving at the Australian 2nd Division Memorial, it was instantly pointed out the differences of this memorial in comparison to the other Division Memorials. Originally the Memorial was a statue of an Australian Soldier killing an Eagle and it was often despised by famous historians, including C.E.W Bean. After World War Two begun, the Germans destroyed the memorial and the replacement figure was built in 1971, a more reflective statue of an Australian soldier after battle.

Before lunch, we headed to the Historial de la Grande Guerre - also known as the History of the Great War Museum. We observed a variety of artwork, magazine and newspaper articles as well as a variety of uniforms and their belongings. Upstairs we saw the work of Otto Dix, a German Artist who went to war and became anti-militarist. After the war, he created a series of 50 photos which in graphic detail, described his events during war.

Afterwards, Sean commemorated two gentlemen - Charlie Williams, his second cousin and Douglas Handford, a BSM in his Grandfather's Battery - in Bellenglise at the Australian 4th Division Memorial. A quick stop to one of the most famous and photographed places during World War One, the Riqueval Bridge and Bellicourt Tunnel, which was built by Napoleon and used when Australians were attacking the German Line.

Our last eulogy was at the Calvaire Cemetery at Montbrehain, where Bella commemorated Douglas Barrett-Lennard, a Driver of the 1st Battalion in Gallipoli. The Calvaire Cemetery was extremely peaceful yet had an extraordinary view of the fields. It would also be the last cemetery we visit before Villers-Bretonneux tomorrow. It was special to stop at the cemetery that holds the last soldiers to die at the end of the war. We started at Fromelles 15 days ago, and now finish at the end of 1918.

As we returned to Amiens, we went out for our last chance of French cuisine along the canal before heading off for last minute packing and an early night as we have to be ready to leave at 1.15am.

By Hannah Taylor and Bella Clarke

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This page was last reviewed on 24 Apr 2017

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