Coming back to the Western Front as a visitor is really exciting. The last time I was here was four years ago when we installed all the signs and museum installations for Nga Tapuwae: New Zealand First World War Trails. This visit the plan is to do a few trails using the app, visit some museums and drink cherry beer.
The Somme trail is one of my favourites as it is quite rare where you can drive through the battlefield and stand on trenches that the NZr’s took, and also where the first tanks rolled into action. Listening to Pugsley describe the scenes again is great! I have never been able to just relax and spend a day through these fields listening to the tour, I have always been listening trying to make sure what he says lines up with the features on the ground and that the story is paced right.
An unexpected surprise was this astonishing new addition to the Theipval Visitor Centre. They have used Joe Sacco’s graphic novel book of the first day of the Somme as a mural in the museum and the objects and diary entries complement it.