10/17/19

Oct. 5, 2018 (5)

L’Anneau de la Mémoire ("The Ring of Memory" or "Ring of Remembrance") is a World War I memorial in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, France. Designed by Philippe Prost and inaugurated on November 11, 2014, the 96th anniversary of Armistice Day, the memorial honors the 576,606 soldiers of forty different nationalities who died at Nord-Pas-de-Calais between 1914-1918. The memorial is located at the site of the national cemetery of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. The monument consists of 500 metal panels that are arranged in an ellipse pattern, each 3 meters (almost 10 ft) in height. Each panel contains approximately 1200 names of fallen soldiers, listed alphabetically by last name. The 500th panel remains blank so that any newly discovered names may be inscribed. The most noteworthy aspect of the Ring of Memory is that it is the first memorial to list alphabetically, with no regard to rank nor nationality.
(info and pic from web)

It was impressive...
 we found family names..
of course, some research is needed to see 
if they are on the family tree

Dave looking for additional family names...

This is what the area looked like 1914-1918 (from net):
and what it looks like now...

next up - the museum and visitor's center...

10/14/19

Oct. 5, 2018 (4)

We continued the tour with the National Necropolis of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette...
The land where the necropolis, chapel, tower, and ring of remembrance are located was strategically important during the First World War and was bitterly contested in a series of long and bloody engagements between the opposing French and German armies. It was the focal point of these battles:

The Lantern Tower (started in June 1921):
To our glorious dead from the battlefields of Artois and Flanders
The Chapel (also started June 1921):
Here are gathered the remains of thousands of
unknown soldiers dead for France
The the Heroes Unknown
French veterans volunteer to stand in the chapel to answer
questions and give a little history
Up next: The Ring of Remembrance...

10/11/19

Oct. 5, 2018 (3)

So we got back on the bus and headed for a pre-arranged lunch...
we passed a lot of memorials and cemeteries...I'm not sure you'd have time to stop at all of them in this region...

a from-the-road pic of our stop after lunch

It was a nice pre-arranged lunch - and apparently, they are also the local bakery...

Next up - the National Necropolis of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette...

10/9/19

Oct. 5, 2018 (2)

So, back on the bus...
And we headed for the Canadian National Monument at Vimy Ridge -

Vimy Ridge Info (from the Internet): Designed by Walter Seymour Allward and unveiled in July 1936, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial is a war memorial site in France dedicated to the memory of Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War. It also serves as the place of commemoration for Canadian soldiers of the First World War killed or presumed dead in France who have no known grave. The monument is the centrepiece of a 100-hectare (250-acre) preserved battlefield park that encompasses a portion of the ground over which the Canadian Corps made their assault during the initial Battle of Vimy Ridge offensive of the Battle of Arras.  The Battle of Vimy Ridge [during WWI] was the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle as a cohesive formation, and it became a Canadian national symbol of achievement and sacrifice. France ceded to Canada perpetual use of a portion of land on Vimy Ridge on the understanding that Canada use the land to establish a battlefield park and memorial. Wartime tunnels, trenches, craters, and unexploded munitions still honeycomb the grounds of the site, which remains largely closed off for reasons of public safety.  In late May 1940, following the British retreat to Dunkirk after the Battle of Arras, the status and condition of the memorial became unknown to Allied forces. The Germans took control of the site and held the site's caretaker, George Stubbs, in an internment camp for Allied civilians in St. Denis, France. The rumoured destruction of the Vimy Memorial, either during the fighting or at the hands of the Germans, was widely reported in Canada and the United Kingdom. The rumours led [Joseph Goebbels] to formally deny accusations that Germany had damaged or desecrated the memorial. To demonstrate the memorial had not been desecrated, Adolf Hitler…was photographed by the press while personally touring it and the preserved trenches on 2 June 1940. The undamaged state of the memorial was not confirmed until September 1944 when British troops of the 2nd Battalion, the Welsh Guards of the Guards Armoured Division recaptured Vimy Ridge.

First stop was to one side of the park, where they have the museum/gift shop and a tour of the preserved trenches (you can see pics of those on the net; they are preserved in concrete) - 
 the grounds of the park are extremely uneven - war does that.
the trees have grown up during the last 100 years, because
during the war it was just miles of dirt and mud...
 I have to say, it was one of the most peaceful places
I have ever been...
 Dave joined the group that toured the trenches. 
Having no wish to visit them, I sat under the trees
and listened to the wind whisper through and enjoyed
the sunshine, the peace and the quiet...

To go to the memorial, we had to get back on the bus...and go around to a large parking lot (there is no "walking through the park" - as you can see, it was still a ways from the lot to the memorial...
to give you some perspective, that's a person standing at the bottom of the steps...
I thought the sculptures were beautiful...

To give a comparison, I pulled these two historical photos from the net to show that the view from Vimy was definitely not serene in 1917...

The views from the ridge today...
in case you were wondering...the pyramid shapes are acutally slag heaps...
now protected by UNESCO (go figure...)
Unesco defined the region as an "organically evolved" cultural landscape,
part of a list of "distinct geographical areas or properties uniquely representing
the combined work of nature and of man".
The 120km-long "landscape" includes 87 mining villages,
51 slag heaps, some of them covering 90 hectares and exceeding 140 metres in height.
So...we climbed back onto the bus and gave the memorial one last look...

Next: Views from A Bus...