Our morning was spent in the car driving to Bayeaux, in Normandy. On the way in Rouen we got off the highway and decided that hassling the parking for a quick photo op of the location Joan of Arc was burned at the stake just wasn’t worth it, so that freed up time to go to Arromanches to look at the only surviving Mulberry docks of D-day. It was vest weather on the coast of France as we arrived for our photo op. The Allies had these docks attached to the shore by pontoon bridges. Over 30 old ships were purposely sunk in the English Channel to act as a breakwater. The success of the Mulberry docks allowed the second wave of troops and needed supplies to be brought ashore on D-day itself. In fact, the town of Bayeaux was captured by American forces also on D-day. This allowed the town to only suffer minimal damage.
Here’s the land between the German and Allied front lines in 1916. I believe this fighting in May of 1916 can be considered part of the Battle of the Somme.
Newfoundlanders are buried here. The German front lines were about 100 meters behind the cemetery.
This part of the trench shows the metal stakes used to support the barbed wire used as a hindrance to attacking Germans.
In the heart of the complex. This symbol of Newfoundland oversees the rest of the memorial.
The 5’7″ Shannon gives you an idea as to the depth of the trenches.
This monument honors the contribution of Newfoundland, which did not join Canada until 1949. Like the Scots, there is a strong sense of national pride still in Newfoundland. Before 1949, they were a separate Dominion of Great Britain. Notice how the flags are flying straight out. It isn’t summer in France, and it was cold. Of course my long pants and vest are safely back in the hotel room. What an unprepared idiot. You know I was the only fool in short pants today.
When George embarked on the massive planning for our month long Great Adventure, he wanted to find a place where we could actually walk down into a trench used in the Great War. The Beaumont-Hamel Memorial was just the ticket. It wasn’t a long drive from the crater, and they had parking for us. This monument is run by the Canadian government and the guy who we talked to in front was, in fact, a bilingual Canadian. So, we got to speak our native language to someone besides ourselves. He said that he is a teacher, and is working here in France for four months between teaching contracts. We discussed baseball in Montréal, and he said there’s enough people interested in going to the games. When owned by the Labatt’s (of brewery fame), the Expos had a quality product on the field and outdrew the Mets. But, when cheapskate owners pulled the same nonsense Lew Wolff of the A’s is pulling, well, fans lost interest and the rest is a shameful story in MLB history. But I digress.