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mva

Battle of Amiens commemoration

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mva
Posted (edited)

bonjour,

a ceremony is taking place in Amiens cathedral on August 8th. Are some forum members coming ?

I have applied and was successful. So I will be able to tell about it (with photos, if allowed)

kind regards from the Somme, martine

Edited by mva
amiens only 1 m

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Le_Treport

Hi Martine - yes  I'll be attending too. I don't think it has been as popular as the Ypres or Thiepval commemorations, sadly.

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mva

I'll be there in remembrance of those who died here (East of the Somme) ; some of them are mentionned here :

https://somme18.com/category/aout-18/

August being THE holiday month in France, not many ceremonies, what a pity !

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HenryTheGerman

@Martine

Do you know about a ceremony programme / time schedule for the Amiens event? - I consider to visit the battlefield even without a ceremony that day. My great uncle had been KIA by British cavalry close to Harbonniéres at the 8th of Aug 1918 when he desperately defended the German line between Wiencourt and Caix.

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mva

Hallo, @HenryTheGerman

What I know : it is in the afternoon, probably 3 pm. That's all I know now. I received an e-mail that it was OK for me and more details are to follow by post. I suppose that people who don't have the official permission won't be allowed in.

I have written a blog about some soldiers who died here (see above) & I could add your great uncle (with some details about his life). Do you know where/if he his buried ?

Actually, I live near Harbonnières ...

Do feel free to contact me in a pm. (in German, if you want)

beste Grüsse von hier, kind regards, martine

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mva

bonjour, @Le_Treport

My invitation just arrived in the post - did you receive yours ?. Because of the security measures, no photographs allowed, which I regret, but understand. No parking in the vicinity, too.

kind regards, martine

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Le_Treport

No ticket yet, Martine. I believe it will be emailed to me this coming week. I hope that it's not too hot outside - and just nice and cool in the cathedral!

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Vigotonefan

Tickets arriving early August according to the emails guys.

 

Regards,

-David.

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Le_Treport

Got my ticket today via email.

 

Very little coverage on the BBC I note - 1.5 hours only, with Sophie Rayworth presenting. The ceremony itself is 1.25 hrs, so that doesn't leave much time for background info. And, of course, it's in the middle of the afternoon.

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jwp2007
On 15/07/2018 at 05:35, mva said:

bonjour,

a ceremony is taking place in Amiens cathedral on August 8th. Are some forum members coming ?

I have applied and was successful. So I will be able to tell about it (with photos, if allowed)

kind regards from the Somme, martine

Hi Martine, when you are there please remember my grandfather, badly wounded during the 3rd London regiment's attack on Malard wood that day,

many thanks,

Kind regards, John.

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mva
8 hours ago, jwp2007 said:

Hi Martine, when you are there please remember my grandfather, badly wounded during the 3rd London regiment's attack on Malard wood that day,

many thanks,

Kind regards, John.

I'll do that, John

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Hyacinth1326

Full coverage on the News Channel is being promised by the BBC.  There is bound to be a knot of experts as there was during Somme and Ypres commemorations. Remember Messrs Van Emden, Olesoga and the ubiquitous Kate Williams.  We can rely on them to strut their stuff.

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sassenach

It's live on BBC1. The "presenter" is shown as being Sophie Raworth, so we can expect lots of gushing "how does it feel to be here" questions. Whether there will be any serious historical analysis remains to be seen.

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Hyacinth1326

Assuming the coverage concentrates on 8th August Black Day etc, I would expect significant input from Canadian and Australian viewpoints.   I would hope to see a balanced and sensible discussion concerning the lessons learned at all levels between 1916 and 1918 because that is the obvious sphere for analysis.

Edited by Hyacinth1326

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Martin Feledziak

I will be at Arneke Cemetery on 8th August 2018.

I will attend John Platt JENKINSON died of wounds that day 100 years ago 8th August 1918.

 

2nd cousin. Not sure if anyone from my family has attended previously.

 

i am sure you will all have a memorable occasion at Amiens

 

 

Edited by Martin Feledziak
Wrong place

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Hyacinth1326

I didn't realise there was also a commemoration at Rheims.  That is good to know.

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Martin Feledziak
1 minute ago, Hyacinth1326 said:

Rheims

 

Sorry I have the totally lost the plot of course I mean Amiens.

 

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Hyacinth1326

I hoped there would perhaps be ceremonies at both noble cathedrals

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charlie962

Interesting but sad reflection  that a local (central France) newspaper reports that Prince William will be attending the commemoration of what it refers to as this 'little known' battle.

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Hyacinth1326

The fact that it is 'little known' is fascinating in itself.  What is it about us that we prefer to dwell on the misery and the (arguably) futile  sacrifice of previous campaigns while overlooking the success of Amiens and the days that followed ?   The Santerre battlefield receives very few visitors compared with its 1916 counterpart, yet historically its importance is immense.

Edited by Hyacinth1326

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charlie962

Hyacinth you have clearly expressed the irony of the point I was trying to make.

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mva
59 minutes ago, Hyacinth1326 said:

The fact that it is 'little known' is fascinating in itself.  What is it about us that we prefer to dwell on the misery and the (arguably) futile  sacrifice of previous campaigns while overlooking the success of Amiens and the days that followed ?   The Santerre battlefield receives very few visitors compared with its 1916 counterpart, yet historically its importance is immense.

As I live in the Santerre, I can only agree with you, but would like to make another point : like other tourism-businesses, focus has been made on 'Somme 1916', with e.g. Thiepval & Pozières, and the guided tours focus on that. A few weeks ago, I met an Irish family who wanted to come to Bouchoir, where an ancestor is buried. The lady told me that she had been in some guided tours, but never has the opportunity during those tours to visit Bouchoir, so she came on her own. Sadly, I find, a big business has been made with the battlefield tours, the area Albert-Péronne is now an 'attraction', regardless of what happened elsewhere.

kind regards from the Santerre !

ps - these days there are some ceremonies (held mostly by Canadians), but nobody, except the local newspaper mentions them

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Hyacinth1326

Many thanks for your post.  I can understand that profit motive demands, and to a large extent dictates, a concentration on the 1916 battlefield.  It seems to me that literature demarcates the parameters with the tour companies following in its wake. Here I am thinking of the Battleground Europe series and Middlebrook's Somme Battlefields Guide.  Very few books have been written about August 1918.  While we are familiar with the Will Streets and the Billy Congreves and the other dramatis personae of the 1916 blooding, the Johnny Croaks, the Jean Brillants and the Ducky Norwests have yet to have their stories told. 

 

Is it because, apart from Hamel, there are no obvious trench lines to be seen ?  The 1916 battle was relatively static and localised but Amiens was a battle of movement, drawing in all that new technology could offer.  Hangard Wood or Le Quesnel do not evoke the same emotions as Duke Street or  Sausage Valley. 

 

It could be that sections of society prefer to overlook August 1918 because it would mean acknowledging that the 'donkeys' of 1915/16 had actually learned from earlier mistakes and had evidently put those lessons into effect.  In other words commemorating a victory does not provide an ideological club to bludgeon a path through a  perceived class war.  Is it a national characteristic that in warfare, unlike sport, we British don't like making a fuss when we emerge victorious.

 

No, I suspect the Santerre lacks an emotional resonance with the British (if not the Australians and the Canadians).  Someone erudite once told me that the Somme of 1916, in pilgrimage or music or in literature is a place we British go to when we want to feel sad. 'The Devonshires held this trench. The Devonshires hold it still'. Go tell the Spartans...  That the Somme of 1916 is, in a sense, our Holocaust, a landscape of the mind where the Victorian/Edwardian world changed irrevocably. A place etched into our national consciousness where for part of the population at least, old values and certainties were shattered. A watershed in so many terms for the British people, that it overshadows all else.  Amiens 1918 is up there with Tannenberg, Normandy and Stalingrad, yet we would rather wrap ourselves in hand -wringing melancholic reverie (and here I am as guilty as any) than commemorate bringing the damned thing to a successful (albeit temporary) close.  In this I think, perhaps, we do a disservice to the men who fought and won.

Edited by Hyacinth1326
better ideas

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chaz

I dont think there is an agenda to only focus on the larger cemeteries. my two sons were asked at school if there were any in their classes that had relatives and which cemeteries they were in. this was 15 years ago, I never had the opportunity until 3 years ago. the schools managed to take both to two different cemeteries as well as the large Thiepval , admittedly Connaught Cemetery is close, the other was Wimille so on the way back. other classmates had no knowledge of family there.

the large current tour operators have to organise their tours and can only make small detours, it would be impossible to take a whole bus load to all the cemeteries needed unless by prior arrangement which could take a while to organise.

I would say that the large tour organisers give a taster and enthusiastic visitors should seek out smaller operators or do it themselves at a later date.

as for the Santerre region, we have not yet visited but having a house in the Frevent area we will expand our visits, nothing personal just starting out first.

you might not notice many visitors as I suspect they are visited by family groups, we often drive around and never see any natives and only the odd UK registered car.

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mva
14 minutes ago, chaz said:

(...)

you might not notice many visitors as I suspect they are visited by family groups, we often drive around and never see any natives and only the odd UK registered car.

'natives' : I guess you mean French people ... so I would like to ask : do you visit French cemeteries, the so-called 'Nécropoles Nationales', e.g. Rancourt, Beuvraignes, Maurepas -  or even Etinehem, where there are British graves as well ?

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