On our Armistice tour we will be joining in the commemorations in Ypres town square as well as looking at Ypres and the battles that took place around the town between 1914 and 1918. We will examine why it was so important for the British to hold onto this key place and what would have happened had Ypres fallen. We will also look at the military developments in the area and how both sides sought to break the stalemate of trench warfare through the introduction of new techniques and weapons.
The tour will be conducted by one of our Expert Battlefield Guides with no more than 8 people in your group allowing for a very personal tour.
We have selected Lille as the base for the tour. Lille is easily accessible by train from many of the major cities such as London, Paris and Brussels and has many accommodations for every budget from hotels, b&b's and apartments.
Your tour will begin at Lille Eurostar station (Gare de Lille Europe) at 09.00 hrs. Your guide will meet you there for a quick brief before you take your seats and head to Ypres.
Once we arrive in Ypres we will walk to the town square where you are free to join in the commemorations and watch the parades as they make their way to the Menin Gate for the ceremony at 11.00 hrs.
After the ceremony we give you some time for lunch before we set off to visit:-
Lissjenhoek Cemetery – we will examine the work of the medical services in the First War. Lissjenhoek stands on the site of Remy Farm where there were a number of casualty clearing stations during the war. The site gives us the opportunity to examine the medical developments which came out of the First War – some of which are still being used today.
The cemetery also contains the grave of a female nurse – Nellie Spindler who was killed near here. In discussing her story we will recall the work of female nurses during the war and also consider how their contribution and those of other women during the war years advanced the cause of female emancipation.
The cemetery also contains the graves of a top sportsman whose name would be known to all of us should he have been alive today. There is also a General buried here giving lie to the Blackadder theory that the generals lived miles behind the lines and never exposed themselves to danger. Here too are a VC winner, a ‘shot at dawn’ as well as the graves of individuals from 30 different nationalities.
We will then continue to Essex Farm – site of an advanced dressing station and famously where Canadian Surgeon John Macrae wrote ‘In Flanders Fields’ – a poem which was the inspiration for the adoption of the poppy as the flower of remembrance and how this came about.
We will also visit the grave and tell the story of Valentine Joe Strudwick, a lad from Dorking in Surrey who was only 15 when he died in battle. In doing so we will examine why so many underage boys fought in the trenches in World War 1.
At approximately 17.00 hrs we will take you back to Ypres for you to enjoy the town, have your evening meal and attend the 20.00 hrs Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate.
We meet again at 09.00 hrs at the same pick up point as yesterday.
The tour today will look at some of the major battlefield sites around the Ypres Salient. This patch of land was the scene of three major battles during the First War and thousands of men from both sides died here.
Passing by the new Welsh memorial to the Welsh soldiers that died on the Salient and telling the poignant story of Hedd Wynn as we do, we will drive to the German Cemetery at Langemark and look at how the Germans remember their dead.
Here we will also discuss the First Battle of Ypres and in particular how 3000 German students came to be buried in the cemetery. With only rudimentary training these boys came up against the fighting skills of the professional soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force – a force that by the end of 1914 was almost wiped out.
We will stop then at Vancouver Corner – the monument to the Canadian actions which held the line here during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915. It was here that gas was used for the first time on the Western Front and when the French defenders broke and ran from it, the Canadians stood firm with only rudimentary gas protection.
We will then proceed to Tyne Cot – the largest British military cemetery in the world. Here we will discuss the Third Battle of Ypres also known as Passchendaele – a name synonymous with the horrors of industrial warfare, of mud and death.
At Tyne Cot you may visit the grave of Arthur Conway Young who’s grieving parents put the epithet ‘Sacrificed to the Fallacy that War can end War’ on his headstone – a rare anti-war message. We will also consider how Susanna Moorhouse from Yorkshire must have felt when she received news that her husband Harry and her son Ronald were both killed on the same day during the battle – a story of sacrifice and heartbreak.
After lunch we will make our way over to Hill 60 and consider the battle that took place here in 1915 and 1917 and how five Victoria Crosses were won at this place.
We will look at the work of the tunnellers and see the craters which resulted from their efforts. With trench warfare creating a stalemate new ways had to be found to overcome the enemy – tunnelling was one of them.
We will then head for Sanctuary Wood where we will visit the museum with its eclectic mix of First War memorabilia and the series of reconstructed trenches which will give us the opportunity to look at life in the trenches and the routines which were established. It was near here that the Germans introduce another new weapon in this war – the flame thrower.
We return to Lille to drop you back off at Lille Eurostar station (Gare de Lille Europe) and bid you farewell.
The cost for this 2 day tour is £375.00 per person.
Deposit £150.00 per person.
Please note - the tour will only run with a minimum of 6 people on tour.
Booking indicates your acceptance of our Tour Terms and Conditions.
To book your tour click on the button which will take you to our Enquiry Form.