October 12, 2005. Walked from Hotel to the Arras Memorial on the West side of the City.
One of the values of a Laptop is being able to put my thoughts down when the mood strikes. Sitting in this memorial the thoughts are many but the words are few. In addition to being a burial for those that fell in the Battle of Arras, it also has walls of names of those with no know grave. The names outnumber the burials by a wide margin. The memorial also includes a list of those lost in the air war over the western front. The Arras Flying Service memorial is on the southern side. The book of memorial lists all the names of those commemorated here. I opened the volume for the flying services memorial and the second name I saw was someone from Victoria. I will have to do a little research on this when I get back.
Walking the rows of markers it didn’t take long to see the maple leaf among the crest of services and units that mark the top of every head stone. The age range is suprising. You think of all the teenagers as the sterotype of those that fight wars but the ages range from 17 to 50 in the markers I read. There are signs of current commemoration with wreaths, poppies and little crosses beside certain names. A laminated piece of paper beside one marker from two generations to a fallen father and grandfather.
At the end of the cemetary there are three headstones marked ‘believed to be buried here’ two from WW1 and one USAAF pilot from world war two. Apparently this Lt Col. was the squadron or group leader.
Last, sitting at the northern edge of the memorial, the value of reflecting on things as they happen becomes apparent. I look up and next to all the commonwealth and allied graves is one with and Iron Cross. “Muller 461216” no indication of rank or unit but obviously a German solider is here too.