Eggsciting News

Posted on 30th April 2015 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

Eggsciting News

Eggsciting News!

Those who have been to No.fifty6 will know that we have been thinking about keeping chickens for a while…well we have some eggsciting news to share - this month saw the arrival of 6 cute young hens along with their very stylish Chicken House! We got the chickens from a local breeder and they are 19 weeks old. We have 2 white, 2 red/brown, one black and one grey. They seem very content in the garden and have already started to lay a few eggs though it may take a week or 2 before Julie is supplied with enough eggs for those No.fifty6 breakfasts! The chickens were let out of their run to free range in the garden for the first time this week. They seem to like life at No.fifty6. Now all we need is some names for our clucky girls. We have a few ideas, but would love to hear what you think we should call our hens. For those visiting us this year, you better put your egg order in now!


Anzac Day

We were pleased to welcome Australians from Newcastle and Adelaide who travelled to the Somme for Anzac Day. Our intrepid travelers got up at 2am to make the pilgrimage to Villers Bretonneux for the dawn service. Despite some lovely weather recently, dawn on Anzac Day was wet and chilly but this did not dampen the spirits of those who attended the commemorations. There was even an Aussie Rules match in VB in the afternoon – Australia v France!

This time last year we had Geoff and Naomi from Bunbury staying with us for Anzac day and they sent us a message from Western Australia this year. Recently Geoff had asked us to take a picture of an Australian soldier who is buried in Courcelette Cemetery – Errol Duff Hammond. We gladly obliged and sent the photos off to Geoff.

One of the wonderful things about our life at no.fifty6 is how the miles don’t matter when connections are made with our guests. We were blown away when Geoff sent us this message:

I have attached a photo for you to show what inspiration you gave me after you both visited Sgt Hammond’s grave at Courcelette.

I loved the photos and especially leaving the message for us at his headstone. 

The photo of the panorama of Courcelette Cemetery I especially loved. I sat there looking at it for a while and all the memories of our trip and of the area of La Boisselle, Pozieres, VB came flooding back igniting my passion again to come back to explore more and take in the country side.

Anyway I thought I needed to do some justice to the photo and your visit to Courcelette, so I had the photo enlarged and the embroidered postcard that Sgt Hammond had written on framed.”


That is what we call Across The Miles with love and remembrance.

Danger UXB - Stokes Mortar

Last week we had a visit from the deminage to collect some live munitions which had been brought back to no.fifty6 by guests who had found them in the fields close by. A Stokes Mortar and a No.15 British grenade. They are now being dealt with safely by the authorities but it is a timely reminder to not touch anything you are unsure of in the fields/pathways of The Somme. They may be 100 years old but that only makes explosives more unstable.  Our guests were excited by their finds but now know to leave well alone.



Paul Burdack Remembered 15th April 1915

We were delighted to welcome Peter Buse to no.fifty6 in April. The reason for his trip to La Boisselle is that his grandfather Paul Burdack served as a soldier with the Großherzoglich Mecklenburgisches Reserve-Jägerbatallion Nr. 14 in WW 1 and lost his life at La Boisselle one hundred years ago on April 15, 1915. He has no known grave.

Peter is the first of his family to visit the area. He explored the countryside and we believe we pinpointed the area where Paul is likely to have lost his life on the track to Becourt Wood approaching a trench area known as the Besenhecke (Brush hedge).

Peter laid flowers in Albert Basilica in remembrance of his grandfather. On April 15th we laid a cross on that track to Becourt and also at the cross of Lochnagar (which of course was not there in 1915) but we hope that way it will be viewed by many people as we remember the fallen of all sides.


Peter wrote to us on his return to Germany and said: “In commemoration of my grandfather together with all the soldiers from all involved countries who lost their young lives in the First World War I brought some flowers to the church of our village last Wednesday afternoon. They all will really not be forgotten!Please do write about my grandfather in your newsletter.  I wish it would encourage some more people from Germany to visit the battlefields on the Somme.”




Comments (5)

Ashley Atkinson says:

Thanks for update - some good reads
Good to see you David on Sat - see you both soon


6 chickens - one name from each country in the Commonwealth that your guests come from - e.g. kiwi, kanga, from NZ and Oz. I was asked the other day what was a highlight of our recent trip. I had to answer #56's hospitality and the memorials to the many young lives lost!

Chris and Sally says:

Chris says three lovely welsh names for chickens, Blodwen, Myfanwy and Mrs Pritchard !! Going to email you the link to the article the local newspaper printed about our trip to Ypres. Dont forget to save us an egg ( each)!!!

Andrew Rawson says:

Chicken Names
Minnie (Minenwerfer) biggest
Jack Johnson (the exploding shells) noisy
Stokes (after the mortar) runs around a lot
Vickers and Maxim (machine guns) who fight
Dougie (Haig) for the one you don't like...

Frank Sumsion says:

Really appreciate receiving your Newslletters, it makes me all the more keen to revisit the Somme, I am looking forward to seeing you both again in September, aren't those chickens lucky to be permanent residents at No56?

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