July 22, 2016 at 11:45 am #25038
Frank from Portugal here, married, 57, 30 yr Brit ex-pat, living in http://www.paradise-in-portugal.com
Love History, esp. Anglo Saxon, Mediaeval, Peninsula War, 1st & 2nd WWs (especially Burma).
My gravestone’ll say, “Birds, bikes or battlefields – 1 of ’em was always going to be the death of him”.
The best is when I’m on my GS with a camera or a pair of bins checking out a half forgotten historical site …
In the Peninsula I did Albuera, (“Die hard, 57th, die hard”), a few years ago, the main sites in a vineyard and easy to scout, Fuentes de Onoro great, mostly in a village or straddling the border, (so watch out where y’go – I ended up in a police landrover …It’s the only battle where the Spanish defended Portugal, the Portuguese, Spain, won by the English with Scottish, English and German troops against the French. Barrosa, where the first French Eagle was taken, is now unfortunately mostly covered by a golf course and holiday villas.
On the Mediaeval side, Poitier’s good, the hedge still there, Crecy, nice’n’easy with good views, Agincourt, tiny, and the “pinch-point” in between the woods still obvious. Auberoche, excellent; nothing apart from the castle to say where it took place and locals know nothing but it’s easy to work out … and there are many more. If you can get hold of a copy of “The Crecy War” by Burns it’s excellent.
1st WW very well documented on the ground, and even better if you can hire a light plane and fly along the lines, as most of the woods are still there and even if you don’t know it, it’s easy to pick up the lines by following the cemeteries. Lost my great granddad’s brother commanding the Tyneside Scottish on the first day of the Somme and my grandmother’s brother-in-law a year earlier at Ypres.
2nd’s a little harder. Went back to Flanders with my Dad 32 years ago … he was in the BEF and by sheer accident I’d bivvied earlier that year in the next-door farmhouse to the one he’d defended in’40; we ended up sleeping in his car on the beach at Dunkirk, from where he was lucky enough to have got home. Haven’t got to Burma yet, maybe one day …
It all makes a good deal more sense when one’s actually “on the ground”.
Anyway, enough, glad to be aboard!
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