Well, I'm back! My trip actually started on Fri 19th, having to travel up to Birmingham to meet up with my brother with whom I've been visiting the First War battle fields for the last 25 yrs. This allowed a stop off on part of the Eastern Command Line, but I will post about that at the end of the series of blogs on the Somme trip. It will signal a return to the original idea of this blog.
So on the Sat drove down to the Somme via Aubers, Fromelles and Neuve Chapell. The British made attacks at both Aubers and Neuve Chapell in 1915 and a joint British/Australian attack was made at Fromelles in July 1916 as a diversion to prevent the Germans from moving reserves to the Somme battlefield. Originally only planned as an artillery diversion, through misunderstands, bad communication and planning it ended up as being an utterly disastrous and costly attack.
The land in the Aubers/Fromelles/N Chapell area is low lying and it was not possible to dig trenches or deep dugouts in the area. Defences were based on breastworks and fortified buildings. Today many remains of German concrete shelters can be seen, most being concrete encasing corrugated steel, a common design used by both sides. Some are however quite substantial. One German observation post was built inside an existing building as camouflage, the building long gone but the observation post still surviving! Adolf Hitler is said to have sheltered in one of the bunkers during his First War service.
Image No 1: typical concrete shelter built around corrugated steel 'elephant' iron
Image No 2: large German concrete shelter
Image No 3: German observation post built inside a house
Image No 4: Observation slit inside observation post
Image No 5: Another large German concrete shelter
Image No 6: Interior of Image No 5.
Image No 7: Shelter in which Hitler is said to have sheltered in.
Image No 8: Another shot of 'Hitler's bunker'.
Image No 9: Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery - one of the nicest set military cemeteries I've seen
Image No 10: Australian memorial at 'VC' corner with ruined German bunkers.