• bluemax

January 2020

Christmas has come and gone for another year; my wonderful wife spoiled me as usual. I must admit to a bit of self indulgence by ordering five books about the Battle of the Somme. Seems I've been fascinated by this battle for over forty years now and have visited the area four times since 2011. From late March to mid April 2018, I camped in and around Albert, France and utilizing a great guide book, tramped miles each day. For part of the trip, I was researching two of Canada's missing soldiers who are commemorated on the Vimy memorial. On my return home, i was honored to provide paper tracings of those names to their descendants and I walked the fields of battle where those men went missing. One actually fought on the ground where the memorial now stands and that reinforced the fact the story is about men, not just memorials.

When I shared my wish to camp on this trip, people here, and Brits I met on my walking tours exclaimed, "You must be mad." I laughed and did not take offence while explaining my camping gear was up to the challenge. My thoughts were of my grandfather who served with the Canadian army in 1917-18 and who came home with trench foot. Like many others, Gramps often slept in the trenches and when it rained or snowed in the winter, most were often no more than muddy, watery ditches. So camping with modern, quality gear and eating hot meals, did not seem that serious a hardship and I have fond memories of whistling Tipperary or singing The Green Fields of France during my explorations.

At present, Alberta and much of western Canada is under an extreme cold snap. Our twelve week old, three and a half pound Pomeranian cross named Mikey, is pretty unimpressed. Not sure if he believes my promise that summer will eventually arrive. in the meantime, my BMW motorcycle is tucked away in the garage.

Those who do read my blog posts, please feel free to offer comments. Also, any of you who have visited the old Western Front, please share your experiences. I remain fascinated by The Great War and read or watch with great interest anything about it that comes my way. My blog will usually concentrate on that conflict but I will at times write about my motorcycle trips and encourage other riders to write about our mutual sport. Next month I will post about February events of WW1. Keep warm in the meantime.

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