Friday, 26 May 2017

Israeli Skyhawk

Latest out of the dusty aircraft pile is this only slightly shabby A-4 Skyhawk in Israeli colours. I'm not sure of the origin of the kit.  Airfix perhaps?
Aside from reattaching some wobbly extremities I have only varnished over the markings.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Newfoundland Memorial Park - European Road Trip Day 1, Part 3

I still have about another 12 posts-worth of photos from our recent visit to NW Europe.  This post concludes Day 1 with a visit to the Newfoundland Memorial Park near Beaumont Hamel, south of Arras.
Above - the park was on the Somme battlefields and some of the original trench lines are still in evidence.
 The 29th Division memorial.  This division saw action on day 1 of the Somme battles.
Some of the trenches have been floored in order that visitors may experience their twists and turns. And yes, by now it was raining.  But that seemed somehow fitting - after all, some mild weather-related discomfort is a small price to pay compared that levied on the parks permanent residents.

In a corner of the park is Hawthorn Ridge Cemetery No.2.  Most of the 200 inmates were killed on 1 July 1916.  Over 50 remain unidentified.
 I always look out for Black Watch graves.  Here L. Cpl Hutchison shares space with Pvt. Mansbridge of the Royal Fusiliers.
Hunter's Cemetery (named after a chaplain attached to the Black Watch) occupies a large shell crater and it's 40+ dead are mostly from 51 Highland and 63 Royal Naval divisions.  It dates from the November 1916 battles.

 All the cemeteries are beautifully kept.

 I particularly wanted to visit the 51st (Highland) Division memorial...
 ...which is very imposing.

 This bench in the park had been presented by a Freemasons Lodge in Newfoundland, Canada.

The Y Ravine Cemetery holds over 400 casualties....
 ...including several Black Watch...

 ...Royal Navy...
 ...and Newfoundlanders.

 The impressive Newfoundland monument features a Caribou

Well worth a visit whatever the weather.

Thursday, 18 May 2017


This splendid tri-motor bomber was part of last year's excess at Partizan. I'm not sure of the maker but I recall Airfix produced such a kit - which I confess I always coveted.
 Clearly only a maniac would use such a thing in a game......

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Le Mur des Fusillés - European Road Trip Day One, part 2

Still in Arras, and indeed still in the citadel, is Le Mur des Fusillés  where resistance fighters and the like were executed during WW2.  A strange place to visit on such a pleasant sunny day.
The plaques commemorating the dead cover a large area of the fort's original walls.  Here are but a random few:

   The site of the execution post.
To lift the mood a little I had a look round some of the citadel walls...
...and the nicely (rebuilt after WW1) squares in the town centre.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Arras - European Road Trip Day One part 1

As you'll have gathered from my previous post, Mrs Gow and I been away in mainland Europe for a few days.  The device pictured above was both our transport and accommodation for the week.  Sharp eyed readers will note that this is a different 'Command Bus' to that deployed last year in Belgium.  A wee bit bigger all round, it is still less than 6 metres long and provided a very comfortable home from home.
We used the overnight P&O ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge, arriving on the morning of Saturday 6th May.
 After crossing the border into France, first stop was Arras.  Specifically the Citadel.  One of M. Vauban's finest, this was occupied until recently by the French Army.  Now it forms the site of new student accommodation - lucky sods!
 The chapel is particularly pleasing.
 Mrs G takes in the atmosphere.

 The interior of the chapel.
The walls are adorned with lists of the fallen - mostly from a single engineer regiment in the Great War..

 There are also plaques commemorating other units...
...and more recent conflicts.
The Great War dead of 1st Escadron du Train - I'm not sure how big this unit was but I suspect this list represents a casualty rate of about 200%  Grim.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

10 May 1940

I am currently away in Europe with only sporadic internet access.  
Lest it be thought, however, that I had forgotten that 10 May was the anniversary of the German assault on the west, I can now reveal that I spent most of yesterday in Bastogne. 
While there I was privileged to witness a ceremony commemorating the death on 10 May 1940 of Chasseur Ardennais Caporal Emile Cady during the German invasion of Belgium. 

There is much more to report this trip which so far has taken in Arras, Cambrai, Sedan, Verdun and Bastogne. But tonight let's raise a glass for Emile.

Edited 15/05/2017 - for some reason I couldn't get the photos to load up 'in the field' so here they are at last!