Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Youtube viewer from Australia - Says Thanks

Hi Nigel
I have been watching your videos on youtube and just wanted to thankyou. I find them very informative and entertaining watching. I have been riding on and off for 34 years passed my test in Herne Bay in Kent at 17 years of age on a Suzuki gt250b on a very wet cold day back in the days when the examiner walked around with a clipboard and stepped out in front of you for the emergency stop. Been back in Queensland Australia since 1982 which is good for me I’m now a fair weather rider ( done the rain and snow in kent ..lol )only purely for fun on my 2006 CBR1100XX Super Blackbird. Thanks again I will be looking out for more new videos of yours 

Cheers Martin

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Advancedbiker goes to France - Day Four - Homeward Bound......Via ?

Well it didn't take long for 4 days to fly by  and we had to pack our motorcycle and look towards heading back home to the United Kingdom, via the Eurotunnel.. I had booked an afternoon crossing so we had time to sample some more twisty French roads and a dinner stop on the coast for Moules frites, or mussels with french fries for those who either don't speak French or think its too fancy sounding, is a rather simple dish of mussels in a broth of various concoction with a nice accompaniment of freshly made french fries.

 However we awoke to a typical British morning......Rain, the stuff that comes straight down, grey skies and very damp roads.

We all made the decision to head to Calais on the main roads and see if we could get an earlier crossing.  The rain never stopped until, you guessed it, we got to Calais, which was bathed in sunshine, with not a cloud in the sky.

Nevermind, head for the Eurotunnel, no issues, earlier train booked - We would be back in the United Kingdom two hours earlier than we had planned for.  Home in the daylight......

On the Eurotunnel two of my fellow travellers were going to leave us when we got to Folkestone and head straight home..  I had one last place to visit.  A place I have wanted to see for a long time, but as you know as soon as you get to home soil, you want to get home as quick as possible.

With the sat nav set for the Battle of Britain Memorial at The National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne, on the famous white cliffs between Dover and Folkestone in Kent, we set off.  Within 10 minutes we were parking up at the memorial and armed with cameras set off to explore the site.  At the entrance you see a Spitfire and Hurricane and then the memorial and memorial wall to all the fighter pilots who took part in the Battle Of Britain.
Here is my pictorial tribute to them:

Oh Controller, who sits in Tower
Hallowed be thy sector
Thy traffic come, thy instructions be done
On the ground as they are in the air.
Give us this day our radar vectors
And forgive us our TCA incursions
As we forgive those who cut us off on finals.
And lead us not into adverse weather,
But deliver us our clearances.

Link to the memorial site: Battle of Britain Memorial

Well just time for a sandwich and cup of tea, then motorway bound back to Staffordshire.

It was a great four days, thanks to my riding companions, Clint, Andy and Gail.

Thanks also to David and Anita Platt our Bed and Breakfast hosts at Auchonvillers.

Total miles on BMW R1200GS - 933
Total miles in Landy - 25
Total number of photographs 657.......

Advancedbiker goes to France - Day Three - Battlefield Tour

Lets set the scene......  I am no expert on this subject, so if I get anything wrong, please let me know.  I first became interested in World War One through my research into the family history, with my grandad Thomas Edwin Hill who served with the RGA.  He was one of the lucky ones as he went over to France at the start in 1914 and came back in 1920.   Here is my research I have done for my grandfather : Gunner Thomas Edwin Hill Royal Garrison Artillery  Now looking at some of his documents this one his will, means a little more to me.  Did he know something....It is dated 29th June 1916........

 The battle at the Somme started with a weeklong artillery bombardment of the German lines. 1,738,000 shells were fired at the Germans.  The Battle of the Somme started in July 1st 1916 and it lasted until November 1916 with the British soldiers advancing across a 25-mile front.   On the 1st July 1916 The British had suffered 19,240 dead, 35,493 wounded, 2,152 missing and 585 prisoners for a total loss of 57,470. This meant that in one day of fighting, 20% of the entire British fighting force had been killed, in addition to the complete loss of the Newfoundland Regiment as a fighting unit.  Many of the soldiers were told to walk towards the Germans as if was thought that the result of the artillery had desimated the enemy.  However about 500,000 shells were duds and 500,000 were the wrong sort as the Germans were 'dug in' and the shells designed to exploded above ground level had little or no effect.  So in other words the Britsih Army soldiers were walking into HELL and death as the German Army units were armed ready and waiting with machine guns......

By the end of the battle, in November 1916, the British had lost 420,000, the French lost nearly 200,000 men and the Germans 500,000. The Allied forces had advanced along a thirty-mile strip that was seven miles deep at its maximum.

Let us go forward 96 years to our battlefield tour, with the sunrise over the Somme:

Looking out from our bed and breakfast - Beaumont Hamil View towards Hawthorn Ridge and the location of Hawthorn Crater.

Hawthorn Crater was one of the 17 mines that were exploded by the British on the morning of 1 July 1916 to signal the start of the battle of The Somme.  It became famous as the explosion at 0720hrs was captured on film...

The mine took seven months to lay, being 75ft deep and 1,000ft long.  It was prepared with a 40,600lb ammonal charge by 252nd Tunnelling Company.  The resultant crater was 40ft deep and 300ft wide.

A bit different today as all you see is a tractor in the fields....
 Before we set off on our tour with David Platt our tour guide, he gave us a short demonstration....Well a look at a Rifle - Bayonet Drill......Then we were off in the LANDY...

All we did was as soon as we left the bed and breakfast,it was a right turn down at farm track, which was Old Beaumont Road and we were onto the battlefield.

One of the first stops was in Sunken lane at a spot where the black and white photograph was taken in 1916. These soldiers were about to go 'OVER THE TOP'.......

 Here we were shown some actual footage of the the explosion at Hawthorn Ridge before moving on.

Interesting to see that when you look at this particular area of the Somme how the lay of land changes, and you soon begin to realise the importance of commanding the higher ground.

Then went a bit click happy and did some photgraphy and here is just a small selection I did  during the 25 mile tour, which criss crossed the British and German Lines.
I have put more pictures on my Flickr page at: Beaumont Hamil View Battlefield Tour
Top of the Sunken lane

51st Division Flag Pole
Beaumont Hamil Church - Restored

Ulster Tower

Lochnagar Crater

Ammo still on the Somme

Y Ravine

At the bottom of Hawthorn Crater

On top of old observation point

Our tour guide David Platt at the end of the day

 They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.