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Sunday, 23 July 2017


A great film, both B and myself thoroughly engrossed in the watching, awesome soundtrack that builds as the stories do, very clever use of story and time lines. Very highly recommended, see it in a cinema.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Spring Trip 2017 - Lille - day one

I left the Waterloo tour in Brussels for a stay in Lille.

In the seventeenth century, Lille was part of the Spanish Netherlands; in 1667 during the War of Devolution it was lost to French forces led by Marshal Turenne. The city surrendered in September 1667 following a siege conducted by Vauban. Under the Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle of 2nd May 1668, Lille became part of France.

Louis XIV ordered Vauban to fortify the city.

Vauban's Lille, the Citadel (bottom left) and bastioned city walls

The Citadel is HQ of 43rd Infantry Regiment 
Most of the city walls were demolished in the 1890's. Access to the Citadel is severely restricted, just a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon which have to be prebooked through the Tourism Office so I was unable to visit, again. However, the wooded surrounds are open so I saw a lot of the exterior.

The Tourism Office gave me a street map. The guide said that all of the walls had been demolished but two gates remained, the Porte de Gand and the Porte de Roubaix. On reading the map I could see there was more.

First - the Porte de Paris. In 1685, Louis ordered a local architect Simon Vollant to design and construct a new gate into the city, in the form of a triumphal arch.

A very grand and imposing entrance to the city, over the drawbridge and through the gate

I am not sure how this would relate to the Vauban's wall. It is freestanding, like an island, I could not see any stonework that suggested it was part of or connected to the defences.

Next, not far from the gate is the Noble Tour, the only remaining tower of the 65 towers that were part of the medieval city walls.
During the 14th and 15th centuries, Lille was part of the lands of the Dukes of Burgundy. In 1402, Duke Philippe II decided to fortify the city against the French  and had new walls built. These took 20 years. This tower was the only one used by Vauban. He had it restored and used as a powder supply depot which suggests to me that the tower was a very strong and substantial building.

The tower is now a Memorial to the Resistance and to those deported.
Also in this area is the Fort de Reduit. The walls are gone but these lovely buildings are used as the recruitment centre for the French Armed Forces.

Vauban designed, this was originally called Fort Saint-sauveur and can be seen on the map as the free standing small fort between two bastions on the right near the Porte Des Malades.

Back in the city centre, this beautiful building is another by Simon Vollant
Here ended day one. Beer was required.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Visit to RAF Linton

Thursday, 13th July.

The U3A York Military History Group organised a trip to Royal Air Force Linton-on-Ouse base. This is the closest base to our home and very often we see aircraft on the landing flight path.

The base is now used as a flight training school with a squadron of Tucanos.

The old control tower, now replaced.


I did not use my camera very much so the following are images I found through Google.

The base also has a couple of these trainers which look like a flying bubble.

We always know when a Chinook is visiting the base.

The base was built during the mid-Thirties rearmament push. It was used by Bomber Command during WW2, initially with Whitleys then with four engined Halifaxes.

A Whitley being armed

A Halifax bomber

A good day out - its always nice to visit the neighbours.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Spring Trip 2017 - Plancenoit & Waterloo Museum

19th June. Morning only in the vicinity of the battle. First stop, the village of Plancenoit where the Prussians launched a major offensive against the French right wing.

Open, undulating country

The Prussian Memorial in the village of Plancenoit

A quick stop close to La Belle Alliance, looking towards the Lion Mound.

Most of the morning was scheduled for visits to the museums . These are the Lion Mound, the Memorial which is a newly built museum and visitor centre and the Panorama.

The Lion Mound

The Panorama with the visitors' centre on the left

The entrance to the visitors' centre

Wow- a great museum and visitors' centre, recently built and opened. It is underground so it does not interfere with the battlefield - if only the Dutch had the same appreciation before building the Lion Mound.

Inside, my camera skills were not able to capture many images.

A terrific collection of uniforms

Also, there is a very good 4D film about the battle.

The Panorama was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle and it shows its age, but it is interesting. It is a large 360degree painting of the battle during the French cavalry attacks.

After this came lunch and then back to Brussels for our last visit. the Evere Cemetery, to see the British Waterloo Campaign Memorial. Unveiled on 26th August 1890, it lists all of the British regiments that fought during the Waterloo campaign. Underneath is a crypt that contains 17 bodies, 16 of them are officers whose bodies were transferred from the battlefield. The 17th was a  NCO, Sergeant Major Edward Cotton, 7th Hussars, who became a tour guide for the tourists visiting the battlefield.

This is a memorial to the Belgian citizens who died fighting for their freedom in 1830.

The coach then took us back to the Eurostar Terminal in Brussels. That was the end of the tour.

A very good tour, put together by The Cultural Experience. A little expensive but very well done, good quality accommodation and meals, two great guides, highly recommended.