World Map

Victor's and Barbara's Travel Diaries

Our visit to France in 2006,  and the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.


We centred our 2006 trip around a tour of the Somme battlefields, organized by Victor's cousin, Roger Gomersall.  We commenced our holiday by flying (via Bangkok) to Paris.  We took up residence in a tiny 'studio' appartment on Boulevarde Clichy, 5 doors from the Moulin Rouge in Monmartre. From our base we explored our local area of Monmartre, including La Place du Tertre, and L'Eglise du Sacre Coeur. Then we used the metro and suburban trains to visit L'Isle de la Cite,  Le Champ de Mars and La Tour Eiffel, and Versailles.  We walked under the streets of Paris through the ghoulish catacombes, where the bones and skulls of thousands of Parisians, victims of the plague,  are stacked to form walls .


Appartment Blvd Clichy, Paris Moulin Rouge Victor in lift View from our appt window inside courtyard
Our appartment entrance on Blvd Clichy, Monmartre. Moulin Rouge (about 5 doors along Blvd Clichy) Victor with a baguette in the old-fashioned, tiny lift. The view of the inside courtyard from our appartment window
Notre Dame from the Seine Eiffel Tower and Barbara
Notre Dame Cathedral and the river Seine. Barbara by the Eiffel Tower
Victor by the Ecole Militaire Front courtyard of the Palace at Versailles;
Victor in front of the Ecole Militaire, at the other end of the Champ de Mars from the Tour Eiffel. The front courtyard of the Royal Palace at Versailles
Hall of Mirrors, Versailles Palace. Catacombes under the streets of Paris
Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. In the Catacombes under the streets of Paris
Monmartre Street, and Sacre Coeur Barbara in les jardins du Luxembourg
A street in Monmartre, with Eglise du Sacre Coeur in background. Barbara in les jardins du Luxembourg
Sacre Coeur from Seine Isle de la cite and Notre Dame
Eglise du Sacre Coeur, taken from the Seine with huge zoom! Isle de la cite and Notre Dame
After our lovely sojourn in our Monmartre attic in Paris, we took the TGV (Train Grande Vitesse) to Calais, where we met with the bus with our Gomersall Somme Tour, which had just crossed the channel from Dover.

Tour of the Somme Battlefields.

This tour was organized by Roger Gomersall, with a specialist travel company, to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, with special reference to our Uncle William Gomersall (Lieut.), who was killed on 1st July 1916 by machine gun fire as he led his men out of the trench.

On board the bus we met Roger Gomersall, who lives in county Durham, UK, and his brother David Gomersall, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. With David were his sons, Thomas Gomersall and Geoffrey Gomersall. and his grandson Chase Goodwin, all from USA.
Gomersall Group David Gomersall
Geoffrey,Thomas,Chase Goodwin, Victor, Barbara, Roger, David. David Gomersall
Thomas Gomersall Geoffrey Gomersall
Thomas Gomersall Geoffrey Gomersall
Victor in trench Roger Gomersall at Thiepval Memorial
Victor in a reconstructed WW1 trench. Roger Gomersall at Thiepval Memorial.
Thiepval memorial Walking towards Uncle William's trench from Mametz
Thiepval Memorial -  arch, cross, and cemetery. Walking towards Uncle William's trench from Mametz
Uncle William's Last stand Prince Charles' Address at Thiepval, 90th Somme Anniversary.
We laid a poppy on a cross at the exact spot of Uncle William's last stand, in the middle of what is now a field of wheat. Prince Charles delivered the address at the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, at Thiepval on 1st July 2006.
Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux Ypres, Belgium. The last post, with Belgians in Australian army uniform in honour of their contributioin.
The Australian memorial at Villers-Bretonneux At Ypres, in Belgium, there is a daily last post ceremony commemorating the Commonwealth soldiers who fought and died there. Many members of the Belgian Fire Brigade are wearing Australian army uniforms.
Calais Beach on a hot July day Channel Ferry
Leaving Calais on a hot July day. The channel ferry taking us across from Calais to Dover.