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The Rock-itt : February 2014
vv HELP THE RED CROSS HELP THOSE IN NEED Please give generously www.redcross.org.au the evacuation at Dunkerque. 3 Scottish regiments held this so-called “Dunkirk Corridor” open for 24 hours enabling thousands of British troops to escape to the Channel port. Recently teams of archaeologists have uncovered several of these galleries, almost intact and discovered tools and artifacts in amazing condition as they were left by the miners before the mines were exploded. Much of the tunnels are waterlogged, due the low lying features of the Flanders battlefields. Visitors to the Ypres Salient Battlefields should visit the amazing museum at Sanctuary Wood, where there are preserved trenches, and numerous artifacts and photos from these muddy fields. When I last went there I was greeted by the enormous Belgian owner, with matching moustache, and was overwhelmed by the copious amounts of memorabilia on display and photographs never seen in books. It is a short way from Ypres itself, which is a must stop for any Aussie interested in the Great War, as the Menin Gate Memorial lists hundreds of Diggers lost without trace in this sector. Not to be missed either is the Daily Service at 8pm, every day of the year, when the people of Ypres commemorate the brave men who gave their lives to save this Flemish town from German occupation. The service is both moving and often very well attended; the local Belgian Brass Band plays well known hymns and a choir is often chosen to sing especially. Some choirs from Australia have been invited to attend this ceremony. A walk around the Menin Gate, after the service is not to be missed, as the old 18th Century ramparts of the town remain and the walls of the gate are lined with names of those lost Diggers. Australian Troops fought hard around this town for the duration of their time on the Western Front and were so appreciated by the locals that a gift was made to the Australian War Museum in Canberra was made of the original two Lions which guarded the original Menin Gate, which was destroyed by shellfire during the 3 major battles of Ypres. It is an impressive sight to see these two sculpted Lions in our Capital city and to ponder over the debt that the Flemish people felt they owed to Australia. One of the largest remaining mine craters of World War 1 (at La Boiselle on the Somme Battlefield) Some of the artifacts on display at Sanctuary Wood Museum (and Café) The restor ed entrance to the “Birdsong Tunnel” Remnants of war: Tunnel engineer Johan Wanderwalle holds a rifle found in the t unnel
March Rock-itt 2014