Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Last days in France.

After we finally shook ourselves loose of the mechanical breakdowns in Bastogne we drove almost due West and back into Northern France. 

From the Bastogne battlefield of World War 2 we had arrived in the area of the vast battles of World War 1. Signs for Museums and Military Cemeteries appeared at crossroads along the way.

The Musee De La Grand Guerre

The French call World War 1 "La Grande Guerre", what might have been grand about it I don't know. Of course Grande means "Big" in English and WW1 was. Millions died in the 4 years of trench warfare. The trenches reached from the coast of Belgium all the way to the Swiss border. South of Switzerland the Germans and Italians (who were on the Allied side in WW1) fought in the Alps. Britain landed Australian and New Zealand troops in a disastrous attempt to invade Turkey.
A typical soldiers equipment.
We picked a campground from our book based on mileage as much as anything. We found ourselves in a delightful little town a short distance off the A2 the main road. Looking at the brochures in the reception showed us a local museum "History of the Grande War" which was about 15 minutes away.

When we got there we discovered that it was located in the rear of a lovely Chateau on a lake close to the Somme river.

The place was very different from other museums. I've been to a lot of military museums usually they are dark and fairly well packed with displays. This one was light and airy,  It showed current events in France, Britain and Germany at each stage of the war and the build up to it through newspapers, souvenirs and posters.

Dieppe Harbor
We ended up in Dieppe at a campground about 6 Km from the city. At first it seemed nice and quiet but as the weekend arrived the place filled with teenagers and families. Every evening in the restaurant there was an "Entertainment". One night a disco that started at 9pm and went on until about 1am. The next night Bingo announced on a loudspeaker system and then Karaoke.

Carousel Horse Dieppe

The old city Dieppe
We got a cab into the city and enjoyed a day walking all around the place visiting the Canadian War Memorial, the shops and the restaurants where seafood was featured and it was FRESH.

Dieppe was the scene of a complete fiasco of a raid in WW2 where Canadian troops attempted to land on the beaches in front of the town. The tanks couldn't make it across the pebble beaches and the troops couldn't scale the seawall. Out of 5000 troops landed only about 2000 made it back. All the equipment from tanks to trucks and guns were lost. 

Monument to the French Canadian Troops Dieppe

Canadian War Memorial Dieppe
Then the time came for us to get on the ferry and depart for Newhaven in UK.
Dieppe - Newhaven Ferry

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