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The Western Front France & Belgium 2016


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Last Summer I was lucky enough to visit France and Belgium, travelling to many cemeteries, memorials to the missing and battle locations. This was made all the better due to my Brothers extensive knowledge of The Great War. taking me to many places and especially to the locations were my Grandfather served.

I'm also making plans for another visit in July. This time I'll be riding over on my Lambretta from Belfast.  Anyway, I was contacted by a Scottish bloke who asked if I was going again. I told him I was and he asked me if I could get a photograph of his Uncles grave.   

This gave me an idea. Part of my Journey is going to include me riding to Cherbourg in France for the Ferry to England.But I'm going to stay so I can visit the Normandy beaches and cemeteries. 

My point is. Is there anyone here who has somebody buried at Normandy and would like a photograph of their headstone? 

Here's the first wee batch of photos. If anyone's interested I'll add more. 

 

France & Belgium 2016 No.1

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Those are some wonderful photos Rob! I myself don't have any family members buried in any of the Normandy Cemeteries. My uncles all fought in the Pacific, and luckily survived the war.

Sure would love to be able to go there someday. Would be a dream trip for me, to visit many of the sites from both World Wars.

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Thank you.

 

I'll upload more on my Flickr page shortly. I need to add descriptions to many as nearly every photograph tells a story. 

This photo I took is in the Sunken lane at Beaumont Hammel on the Somme. There are many accounts of this spot as it lies in No Man's Land and was fought over many times. With this photograph I overlaid an original from the morning of the 1st of July taken of Soldiers with fixed bayonets about to go over the top, most were killed and wounded.

fra-a-147-2-1s

 

This photograph I took from the spot where the huge mine was blown on Hawthorn Ridge just before the Battle of The Somme started. Again, I've overlaid a still from the original footage which can be seen here. 

 

fra-a-93-a-1c

 

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One of the most incredible things is the amount of Munitions, Shrapnel, shell casings, etc that is still in the earth rising to the surface. I brought back some artifacts that I found in the fields surrounding the cemeteries and memorials. You just go for a wee stroll and it's almost impossible not to find anything.

I took this photo when I was looking for things and if you look, you'll see what I found...

 

fra-b-167-6s

 

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Bilko!  How have you been, mate?

Sounds like a marvelous trip, especially on the Lambretta.

My great-uncle, Pvt. Owen B. Sullivan, served on the Western Front in autumn 1918.  He was in a field-remount squadron, supporting the cavalry,  His dogtags and paybook have come down to me.  I'll post photos as we roll into the centennial of his deployment.

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Fabulous pics, RB!

I've been looking at the Facebook videos of The Battle of the Somme with overlays by another guy, and they give you a really creepy feeling when you see men marching and dying in the exact same locations, but 100yrs ago!

There's even one of the Mine exploding with sound and everything, that is really scary!

Here's the URL of it.

 

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4 hours ago, Joker said:

Bilko!  How have you been, mate?

Sounds like a marvelous trip, especially on the Lambretta.

My great-uncle, Pvt. Owen B. Sullivan, served on the Western Front in autumn 1918.  He was in a field-remount squadron, supporting the cavalry,  His dogtags and paybook have come down to me.  I'll post photos as we roll into the centennial of his deployment.

Hello Lee, 

Great info on your Great Uncle. Look forward to hearing about him.

Since I got back from France last July, I've been reading book after book on WW1. Fascinating stuff.

My older Brother has been visiting and researching the Battlefields since 1977-78 and he's a wealth of knowledge. I was shocked to find that there is over 400 cemeteries alone on the Somme. 
 

Hello Whizzers. 

Yes, I came across that video a while ago. It is really strange walking the steps of men who were living in appalling conditions then marching into death.

 

 

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Album 2 and 3 are as fantastic as album 1 Rob! Just looking at some of those photos, and seeing Poppies, is very powerful. You are a very good photographer my friend!

Wouldn't it be great if we could have an ELF 2017 in France? We could all go see these historical locations, and those from WWII. Maybe we could get Herr Doug the Forum Führer to finance the event! ;)

I can't think of a better vacation/holiday with all my CSIM buddies! :)

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Hey Bilkers, what are you reading? 

Any fiction -- Pat Barker's "Regeneration Trilogy," perhaps?

I'd also recommend Siegfried Sassoon's "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer," and Robert Graves' "Goodbye to All That."

"Her Privates We" is also very good.

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10 hours ago, Donster said:

Album 2 and 3 are as fantastic as album 1 Rob! Just looking at some of those photos, and seeing Poppies, is very powerful. You are a very good photographer my friend!

Wouldn't it be great if we could have an ELF 2017 in France? We could all go see these historical locations, and those from WWII. Maybe we could get Herr Doug the Forum Führer to finance the event! ;)

I can't think of a better vacation/holiday with all my CSIM buddies! :)

Thanks Donnie!

That would be something special.

 

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1 hour ago, Joker said:

Hey Bilkers, what are you reading? 

Any fiction -- Pat Barker's "Regeneration Trilogy," perhaps?

I'd also recommend Siegfried Sassoon's "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer," and Robert Graves' "Goodbye to All That."

"Her Privates We" is also very good.

No fiction yet apart from "The First Hundred Thousand" and I'm about to start Frederick Mannings "The Middle Part of Fortune". But it's based on his actual experiences. 

The First Day of The Somme by Martin Middlebrook is a superb read. Martin's research is something else. He wrote it around 1971 and he dispels some of the myths about the Somme, but tells the accounts of 10 men that were chosen as "principle representatives in the story of the army in 1916".

The book covers amongst other parts, the planning and preparation, the build up, the battle and the aftermath and from start to finish an amazing read. For the first time in my life. I cried reading a book. I know we've all heard about the Somme and many harrowing events of WW1 but when you read accounts of those poor souls that faced hell. It's nothing short of horror.

Oh. Album 4 is uploaded. 

France & Belgium 2016 No. 4

 

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Don, the first one is the Cloth Hall in Ypres. Like the rest of Ypres, it was destroyed during WW1. 

The second one is Menin Gate from the side. 

Through the walls of Menin Gate are the names of 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers missing. 

Ypres was rebuilt after WW1 to the same specification as it was before the war. 

 

I need to add descriptions to the Photos. 

 

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1 hour ago, Rodger Bilko said:

Don, the first one is the Cloth Hall in Ypres. Like the rest of Ypres, it was destroyed during WW1. 

The second one is Menin Gate from the side. 

Through the walls of Menin Gate are the names of 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers missing. 

Ypres was rebuilt after WW1 to the same specification as it was before the war. 

 

I need to add descriptions to the Photos. 

 

Thanks Binky! :)

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