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My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

Article about: I'm just back from a very short break to Northern France, an area I have never visited before. I had two full days to pack in as much as possible and I think I achieved my goal! This thread

  1. #41
    kc1
    kc1 is offline
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    I visited the Thiepval memorial about five years ago. From the main memorial i could see another which looked like a Scots soldier which i wandered off to look at, taking the direct route through the woods finding the ground very uneven with lots of leaf filled shallow ditches until the penny dropped the uneven ground was due to shell fire and those ditches are the traces of the trenches. The contrast between the monument grounds and the woods is quite marked. The monument also has several interesting cracks which have developed due to nature of the ground it was built on, the weight of the structure and the haste it had to be bulit in.
    Thanks for posting your journey.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    When i visited nearly three yrs ago i believe there were workmen on site doing odd pieces of work around the ground and i think there were notices informing visitors that certain days would be allocated for work to be carried out, i dont know if this happened or not but there was some damage to one of the piers and some names had cracked away

  3. #43

    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Thanks for the pictures Adrian, sorry about my interruption. I didn't notice that you weren't finished.

  4. #44

    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    A great experience and a great museum, thank you!

  5. #45

    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    thanks for a great report Adrian,you could get a job for the Malmedy tourist board with it,it has definitely added another must see to an ever growing list
    Nigel

  6. #46
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Thanks for your comments guys. Malmedy was a bit of a bonus for me. I had no idea I would be passing so close and didn't give it a thought until I started seeing the signs for it. Of course, I had to visit knowing it was just a couple of kms from my route. I'm glad I did go there although I'm kicking myself for not realising and not being better prepared in terms of knowing where the landmarks are/were.

    The thing that really struck home about my trip though was more to do with the most futile loss of life imaginable. As I mentioned earlier, seeing WW1 documentaries and reading books, looking at photos really doesn't hammer home just how many people died for basically nothing.
    I have seen all the cemetaries in Normandy and been moved by the numbers contained within them and the names of the missing on memorials but I was totally unprepared for witnessing the sheer numbers of dead and missing in the very small part of France I visited. It honestly renders you speechless and uncomprehending of the slaughter that took place in just a very small area and over what? A few miles of woods and farmland. Unbelieveable.
    There are cemetaries literally everywhere. Sometimes they're a couple of miles apart, sometimes less than a hundred yards, and occasionally across the road from each other.
    I just did a quick tot up of the numbers I've quoted in my previous posts in this thread. The total number comes to just under 146,000 names of servicemen killed or missing in just this very small area. It's unimaginable. Add that to those whose names are at Ypres, Verdun, Passchendaele, Mons, Vimy, Cambrai, Gallipoli, all the other battles across Europe during those four years and the magnitude of the loss of lives beggars belief.

  7. #47
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Adrian, an impressive threat!!

    Yes in this region in NorthernFrance and the Ardennes every centimeter of simple farmland or woods is soaked in blood.

    November-fog and mud gives us the right feelings for this landscape.

    But for the next visit it is not necessary to rush in one day through 5 countries. My home lies 30 kilometers from the
    road-sign near Trier and I always have a open house for historians.

    Greetings

    Alex


  8. #48

    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Well done Adrian and thanks for bringing those images to those of us who have yet to visit these moving and poignant places.

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  9. #49
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and photos: very interesting, Mark

  10. #50

    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Hi Adrian,
    thanks for sharing with us these beautiful images!

    Kind regards
    Francesco

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