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Monday 23 April 2018 - Ypres to the Somme

Today the tour group visited the location of the Battle of Bullecourt where Australia lost 10,000 soldiers over two great battles in 1917. After paying their respects at the Australian Memorial Park the group spent time exploring Amiens, the capital of Picardy, a town rich of art and history. This included a tour of the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral.

In the evening the students were guests of the mayor of Amiens at a special 'Proclamation of Friendship' event held at the Amiens Town Hall, acknowledging the links between the towns of Amiens in France and Queensland.

Photos of the students' tour of the Somme battlefields have been added to the photo gallery.

Student views

Exploring the Battlefields

Today began with a trip through the French and Belgium countryside to the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery. We commemorated four soldiers, which got quite emotional for many of us. We then moved on to the Bullecourt Digger Memorial for two more very moving commemorations by Tyla and Jack. After spending some time reflecting at the memorial, we visited to the Noreuil Australian Cemetery where we enjoyed a packed lunch with a view of beautiful French farmland.

After lunch, we continued our journey to Amiens. The bus trip was not too long but we really enjoyed the time to reflect. We soon arrived in the city of Amiens. After a quick dinner, we headed to the Town Hall to participate in the 'Proclamation of Friendship' signing event between the cities of Amiens in France and Queensland, Australia. Here we met Madame Brigitte Foure, Mayor of Amiens, France. Tyla, being able to speak French, helped to translate for the rest of the group. We met some local people from both the French and Australian Amiens towns. Learning about the connection between these two towns from the locals' perspectives was amazing. After the signing of the Proclamation concluded, we departed Amiens and travelled to our hotel in Albert.

By Shana Coyle and Tyla Craven-Griffiths

Student and chaperone commemorations

Each member of the tour group researched three service personnel. This information has been captured in a State Library of Queensland Historypin.

Commemorations were held today for:

Bullecourt Digger Memorial

Lance Corporal Earnest Norman Craven-Griffiths
(Commemorated by Tyla Craven-Griffiths)

Earnest Norman Craven-Griffiths, born on the 2nd December 1895 in Albany, Western Australia. At 19, Earnest enlisted as a Private and became a member of the 11th Reinforcement to the 16th Battalion. Earnest departed from Australia on the 1 November 1915. The 16th Battalion participated in the First Battle of Bullecourt, which started on the 11th April 1917. On the 14th January 1919, after the war, Earnest Norman Griffiths was promoted to Lance Corporal and returned to Australia in April 1919.

Sergeant Henry Buchannan
(Commemorated by Jack Frey)

Henry Buchanan was born on the 14th July 1889 in Gympie, Queensland. He was a miner but when war was declared he enlisted on the 27th August 1914. On the 2nd May 1915 he was wounded for the first time in Gallipoli. He was wounded a second time in October. After being promoted to Corporal, Henry took part in the first battle at Pozieres and was wounded in action again. He re-joined his unit on the 17th September 1916 and was promoted to Sergeant the same day. He was awarded the Military Medal on the 25th October 1916 for his actions at Mouquot Farm.

Noreuil Australian Cemetery

Private Percival Frederick Ware
(Commemorated by Lillian Ward)

Percival Frederick Ware was born in 1891 in Maryborough Queensland. On the 11th of October 1915, Percival enlisted in the army to become a Private at just 24 years old. He was accepted into the 26th Battalion 11th Reinforcement and embarked from Brisbane. Percival first went to Egypt to train and then joined the 26th Battalion later. At the age of just 26, on the 22nd of April 1917, Percival died of wounds in Bullecourt, France. He is now buried here at the Noreuil Australian Cemetery.

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