Saturday, May 06, 2006

Rambling About the Countryside

As previously mentioned, excursions were the best part of training, and excursions with the Colonel were particularly fun. On a couple of afternoons the bunch of us rambled about the countryside after the Colonel who had a walking stick in one hand and a cigar in the other.

One afternoon he walked us around the Beaumont-Hamel site, pointing out different features of the landscape and showing us around behind the German lines in areas where the public is not permitted to wander (more on that in a later post).

Here is one of my co-workers in a shell-hole.

Here is the gang walking down into "Y Ravine," a strategically important position held by the Germans in this region of the Somme for quite some time.

A view of the shell holes amongst the trenches on the battlefield. It always seems a touch strange to enjoy the beauty and serenity of this landscape, considering the horror and wretchedness that created it.

On another afternoon, the Colonel walked us through the forrest on the Vimy site. Over the span of 2 hours the weather took turns raining, hailing, and shining sunlight on us.

A Wombat mine. Here a tunnel had been dug by an Australian-invented tunnelling machine, called a "Wombat," and then a mine was laid which was exploded to create a new trench.

It is uncertain why this gorgeous boulevard of trees exists in these woods. This path leads from the former train station that existed in the town of Vimy to where they had originally proposed to put the Canadian monument (the plans were later revised and the site for the monument was shifted). It's thought that perhaps this was meant as a road to take visitors from the station to the monument. Too bad, considering that visitors today can only get to the site by car.


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