Posted by: mcfinder | November 10, 2009

The Somme

Sorry for the delay in blogging, I have had trouble trying to connect with hotel wi-fi systems…

We set off from Albert early doors and headed north across the old killing grounds of 1916. The mist was heavy on the ground and gave an eery atmosphere as we crossed the open fields and pock-marked ground of the Somme. Our first stop was the Lochnager mine crater which was just awe inspring. It is still about 40 metres wide, almost 100 years after being made…Next stop was even more inspiring. The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. This monument is 45metres high and is simply jaw-dropping in both its sheer size, and what it represents: 73,000 soldiers and officers killed during the Battle of the Somme but who were denied the dignity of having a known grave…

We carried on north through the battlefield..the mist finally cleared and the sun came out to say hello…we made good progress and saw many memorials and cemeteries along the way..the hills kept coming and we saw lots of shells along the roadside..Steve picked one of these ‘le bombs’ up and strapped it to his bike to take home.

We finally came into Lens  via a motorway which we really shouldn’t have been on…imagine cycling on the M4 and you get the idea, it wasn’t a good experience! (Lens is a shit hole by the way..terrible place full of immigrants) and luckily found our hotel without too much trouble, without any more motorways…

By the way…still got pins n needles in my arm from that ruddy car!!

A relatively hassle free day upto Lens…next stop Ypres!!



  1. Interesting account of your trip. I sincerely trust that you were joking about picking up a shell and fixing it to a bike? If you were not joking please be aware that these (still) kill significant numbers of people each year and would pose a very significant risk if carried on board a ferry or a suicidal risk if taken on the channel tunnel train.
    Comment made with good intention.
    Enjoy the rest of your trip – my grandfather is buried at Ypres. Nice if you could visit his grave?

  2. Readers may also be interested in the writings home from the front of US Sgt. Sam Avery during the Great War (World War I). Fascinating eyewitness history from the hot sands along the Rio Grande to the cold mud along the Meuse.

    This blog is an adventure long in the making for me in honor of my own family hero. Letters are posted on the same day they were written from the trenches 91 years ago. Today I found myself staring at my watch counting down the minutes to 1100 hrs.

    Long before the Greatest Generation there was the Most Gallant Generation. Stop by and come march along…

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