Military History Tours Our Other ANZAC Day 28 April 2017
Today is the end of Tour One and the beginning of Tour Two.
Tour Two departed the beautiful town of Peronne and headed north into the Flanders area and the town of Ypres in Belgium. On the way, we stop at the Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge, during the First World War, is Canada's most celebrated military victory. The four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting together for the first time, attacked the ridge from 9 to 12 April, 1917 and captured it from the German army. More than 10,500 Canadians were killed and wounded in the assault. Today an iconic white memorial atop the ridge honours the 11,285 Canadians killed in France throughout the war who have no known graves.
Next, we visited Pheasant Wood cemetery at Fromelles. The cemetery was completed in July 2010, and is the first new war cemetery to be built by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in fifty years.
The cemetery contains 250 Australian and British soldiers, whose remains were recovered in 2009 from a number of mass graves located behind nearby Pheasant Wood, where they had been buried by the Germans following the disastrous battle of Fromelles on 19 and 20 July 1916.
Within Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery there are 220 Australians of which 71 are unidentified, 2 unidentified British soldiers and 28 entirely unidentified soldiers.
Whilst at Pheasant Wood cemetery we took time visit the new Information Centre and Museum.
Just around the corner we stop at the Cobber Statue were the battel of Fromelles happened. Fromelles was the first major battle fought by Australian troops on the Western Front. Directed against a strong German position known as the Sugar Loaf salient, the attack was intended primarily as a feint to draw German troops away from the Somme offensive then being pursued further to the south. The 5th Australian Division suffered 5,533 casualties, rendering it incapable of offensive action for many months. The attack was a complete failure as the Germans realised within a few hours it was merely a feint. It therefore had no impact whatsoever upon the progress of the Somme offensive.
Finally, were reach our final destination for the day and checked into the Novotel Leper Centrum Hotel and freshened up to attend the Last post ceremony at Menin Gate.