Day 3 - The Battle of the Somme
Day 3 started with an early wake up call from a mixture of animal noise. From what we could make out there were: Geese, Owls, Cats, and dogs! We left the campsite at 8am to catch the train to our next destination, Albert. We arrived at our next campsite at 9:30. What a relief to get rid of our rucksacks for the day!
Arriving at the campsite early meant that we could then have more time to explore Albert and the surrounding area.
We started off by visiting the Somme 1916 museum. The museum was located in the old town medieval tunnels which were then converted into air raid shelter for the second world war.
Inside there was lots of information about the battle of the Somme with mock set ups of how trench life was. Interesting pieces of information we learnt was that Germany came as close as 30km from Paris during the first months of the war, 2.5 million British Empire Soldiers were involved from all other world, and that the Scottish battalions were lead into battle by pipers!
Once we had finished in the museum we decided to walk to Lochnagar crater, to the east of Albert. The crater was formed on the 1st July 1916 when the British had mined a 274m long, 17m deep, tunnel to the German line and placed 60,000lbs of explosives there, creating an explosion sending dirt and rocks 1000m into the air.
On our walk there we came across a small war grave cemtery. Walking into the cemetery you get a real sense of peace. Everything is so quiet and it really makes you think what a sacrifice all those men gave. We spent about half an hour there reflecting and looking the graves. We found one person from 1st Battalion Northampton, Pvt Parker G 6049.
We carried on walking to the crater and when we arrived we were all speechless. The crater was more impressive in person than in the images we had seen before. A 30m deep, 100 wide crater was created in a matter of seconds. Around the crater were information boards telling the stories of different men and women affected by the crater. The most moving one was when a 100 year old man was asked was it worth it and he replied "No, nothing is ever worth going t war. A war started by a family argument ended millions of lives".
Walking back to Albert it starting to rain but we were glad that we weren't stuck in a trench and able to go back to our campsite.