Time has flown by since first finding out that I was lucky enough to be selected to participate in this incredible programme. I remember exactly when and where; I was at the movies with my friends, and having just come out of our viewing, I thought, “Maybe I’ll just quickly check my emails to see if they’ve told us.” Sure enough, I had an email from Pascale, and I remember being so wound up that I made my friend read the email for me! It seems surreal that two weeks from now, we will have landed in France, finally realising all the hard work that everyone has put in to make this possible.
I am super excited to see the French Young Ambassadors again and to be immersed in the French culture. In particular I await the Bastille Day parade with much anticipation, as I think it will be incredible to spend one of the most important celebrations for the French in such a vibrant city.
The progression of my personal research and the feedback provided to me on it has given me a clearer direction to follow in terms of the way I will present my project. My research on the munitions in France has worked out somewhat conveniently as it turns out that when I stay with Camille, we will be staying at her grandparents house in Neuville-St-Vaast, where her grandparents have unearthed shells in the past. I am still continuing to look into the 33rd Battalion, but more into detail about the lives of the men involved, rather than just their relevance to the war effort as a fighting force. I found a letter by Colonel Leslie Morshead, the leader of the 33rd Battalion, which touches on the bravery and good cheer of the men following the Battle at Messines, even in the face of such dreadful ordeals. Morshead’s letter, among the personal traces of Leslie Sydney Duesbury, are the things that will stand most prudently in the forefront of my mind when we go to the sites in France where the Battalion fought.
But until then, there is still more work to be done. Internals, papers and research wait for no (wo)man, and there is still a busy two weeks to go. So for now, à bientôt!