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JBee

Somme visit underway!

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JBee

Hi again guys.

 

So, I'm finally here in Bernafay Wood after a long drive from Sheffield to Dover yesterday and a short drive from Calais this morning. Thanks to all of you who gave me help and advice prior to this trip.

 

I can't believe how easy it all was, smooth ferry crossing, easy drive down the A26. Missed the A1 turn off to Baupaume but found it again eventually and also found a few new cemeteries on the 'new' 

route.

 

Had a walk in Delville Wood this aft. Just me and one rather surprised young deer. Not a soul around. It was peaceful and tranquil and not as intimidating as I'd expected it to be.

 

Then Guillemont cemtetery en route to Bernafay bnb.

 

Had a slow stroll in Bernafay wood prior to dinner this eve. Lots of trench lines still showing, plus craters but again, no unpleasant feeling. Just tranquil.

 

Lots of pics to upload. 

 

Early night tonight then Serre tomorrow to see the Sheffield lads, bless 'em.

 

 

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Ken Lees

Sleep well, JBee.

 

Karen will be around tomorrow if you have time for a cuppa. Just drop her a message or give her a ring.

 

Ken

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Ghazala

Well done JBee

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johnboy

Feel proud of yourself and I hope the rest of your stay and return goes just as well. 

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Andy davidson

Sounds great, my favorite place on the Somme, Bernafey, Trones and Guillemont, some great walks and stories in those fields and woods.

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Marilyne

Sounds like you're off to a good trip.

Hope the weather holds for you !!

 

M.

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jay dubaya

So pleased you made it JBee, we’ll done you, I’m sure this will be the first of many visits. I haven’t visited Serre for many years and my research into the 12th Y&L is still ongoing so a visit is on the cards for  the near future. Hope the rest of your stay is as tranquil as it started

 

J

 

531060192_sheffieldmemorialparkgates.jpg.484674c110155574874c458b85e2c96c.jpg

Edited by jay dubaya

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JBee

Wow. All I can say is I feel humbled.

 

We can read about the war, watch it on tv, hear of it from others, but it's not until you walk amongst row upon row, upon row of gravestones that it hits home.

 

Just back from a day that didn't go as planned but then, which ever did?

 

Long chat with my host in Bernafay meant a late start, followed by a visit to Bernafay Wood cemetery. I was there over an hour. I spoke each name out as I met them, they deserve that much and I'm acutely aware I can only do that in the smallest of cemeteries. It's easy to see by the contours of the land and the proximity to the wood, how this cemetery evolved from a dressing station.

 

I said 'thankyou' as I left, then, as I went to my car, I noticed a cluster of wild poppies near the edge of the wall. I walked over to take a photograph and there, behind the wall were a cluster of unexploded shells. I took a picture.

 

 

 

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Edited by JBee

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JBee

An evocative picture of why we visit .

 

 

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JBee
1 hour ago, jay dubaya said:

So pleased you made it JBee, we’ll done you, I’m sure this will be the first of many visits. I haven’t visited Serre for many years and my research into the 12th Y&L is still ongoing so a visit is on the cards for  the near future. Hope the rest of your stay is as tranquil as it started

 

J

 

531060192_sheffieldmemorialparkgates.jpg.484674c110155574874c458b85e2c96c.jpg

Hi 

 

Going to Serre tomorrow.

 

Let me know if you need any photos of anywhere specific.

 

J.

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John Cubin

Hi JB, I was there last week staying at Christine & Jean Pierre's in Bernafay Wood.  Great hosts and a billet I wouldn't swap for anywhere else. Here's my photo of the shells at the cemetery. The rightmost one is a Stokes mortar. All the best. John.

2019_0830SommeAugust0091.JPG

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m0rris

Well done JBee. The memories of your trip will stay with you long after your return - and of course it keeps pulling you back..

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JBee
5 hours ago, John Cubin said:

Hi JB, I was there last week staying at Christine & Jean Pierre's in Bernafay Wood.  Great hosts and a billet I wouldn't swap for anywhere else. Here's my photo of the shells at the cemetery. The rightmost one is a Stokes mortar. All the best. John.

2019_0830SommeAugust0091.JPG

Hi john

 

Yes, they are still there.

 

Saw another unknown today near Sucrerie cemetery.

 

What is this one please? 

20190905_154750.jpg

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bigjohn

Stokes mortar round with the fuse missing,  leave well alone.

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JBee
1 minute ago, bigjohn said:

Stokes mortar round with the fuse missing,  leave well alone.

Thank you. I did! Seen a fair few missiles and left in situ.

 

Fuse missing means still able to explode then? Still learning! 

 

 

 

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JBee

This was one of my 'must see' places. Never been able to get some of those faces out of my head after seeing the Malins film footage.

Lovely and quiet there, so was able to stay awhile and think.

 

Then walked across NML to the cemetery, followed by a visit to the Hawthorn Crater. 

 

20190905_120419.jpg

20190905_124114.jpg

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Fattyowls

Lovely photos JB; the last one is so evocative. It was the first Somme cemetery I ever visited many years ago. And the crater looks completely different today too. One thing those of us who have been back many times can't do is see it like we did the first time, but this does take me back.

 

Pete.

 

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Len Trim

Glad you managed to get to the Sunken Lane. My favourite spot on the Western Front. It draws me back time after time.

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JBee
7 minutes ago, Len Trim said:

Glad you managed to get to the Sunken Lane. My favourite spot on the Western Front. It draws me back time after time.

Weird how these places do isn't it?

Thiepval didn't stir me as much as the sunken lane..i was lucky, had it to myself for a good while, just sat, with time to spare, then thanked the lads in the cemetery. Peaceful now, which is what they deserve. 

 

 

20190905_120152.jpg

Ps both sunken lane pics taken same day, roughly one hour apart.

We've had very changeable weather this week! 

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jay dubaya

Fair play JBee you take an evocative photo, you've certainly picked up an anorak, can we have some more pics please 

 

16 hours ago, JBee said:

We've had very changeable weather this week! 

 

Either way I suspect it has and will be more favourable than it was back then.

 

J

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JBee
4 hours ago, jay dubaya said:

Fair play JBee you take an evocative photo, you've certainly picked up an anorak, can we have some more pics please 

 

 

Either way I suspect it has and will be more favourable than it was back then.

 

J

More pics? Oh yes, there are many!

 

First, let me show you my guest house in Bernafay Wood. Pic taken from wood looking to house and vice versa. I loved being so close to the wood and walked in there most mornings. Never felt uneasy. Just peaceful.

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charlesa

Lovely descriptions and photos JBee, thank you.

They bring back many, many emotive memories.

 

C

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JBee

Hi guys

 

More pics to come today, now back in 'Blighty' and have use of laptop instead of phone. Back to the 21st century :(

 

I cannot recommend highly enough the B&B in Bernafay Wood. For a start, it gives you the complete freedom to walk alone in the woods, with only the sounds of the birds for company. There are still craters and trench lines and somewhere (learned this since I returned) the remains of a German dugout.

 

It is very traditional and old fashioned so don't expect 4 star luxury. It is run by a French couple and was rebuilt in 1920 after the original Montebaun station was destroyed. It is like stepping back in time and I had the ground floor room with doors that opened into the wood. You cannot get any closer to history than that.  Christine is a charming, and hard working woman. John Pierre takes a more reticent approach . He used to be a guide in the Albert Somme Musuem and his knowledge is impressive.  He still finds relics in the woods when cutting logs and many are on display in the guest house.  They live in a house further along the lane, so I was lucky to have the station house all to myself in those famous woods for quite some time. It was an unforgettable experience. Go. But don't tell anyone else! :thumbsup:

Edited by JBee

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JBee

Got a bit lost on the drive down, mixing my Cambrai with my Combles and ended up passing this.

 

 

 

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