Follow in the footsteps of the British Expeditionary Force as they face the might of the Kaiser's Imperial German Army during the Battle of Mons and the Great Retreat that followed. Visit the most significant sites of the battle and retreat, and hear the story of some of the men who took part.
The Battle of Mons saw the British Expeditionary Force enter the fray of the First World War as they tried to halt the might of the Kaiser's Imperial German Army. They held the canal line at this Belgium city but were forced to withdraw when the French at Charleroi pulled back. Thereafter, they fought a running battle with the enemy as they retreated to the River Marne.
Join one of our team of battlefield historians on a tour of the Battle of Mons and the Great Retreat, follow the action and see how the battle developed.
On day-one we visit:
Casteau - We begin our tour at Casteau where C Squadron of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards commanded by Major Tom Bridges first made contact with the advancing German Imperial Army on Saturday 22 August 1914.
Nimy - From Casteau we head towards Mons stopping off at the Railway Bridge at Nimy. This was heroically defended by the 4th Royal Fusiliers on Sunday 23 August 1914 and a plaque under the bridge records the action that took place.
Obourg - From Nimy we head to Obourg where a rear-guard action was faught in the vicinity of the Railway Station by the 4th Middlesex on 23 August 1914.
St Symphorien - From Obourg we make our way to St Symphorien Military Cemetery that has the graves of many who fell during the Battle of Mons.
Mons - From St Symphorien we make our way into Mons visit to the Mons War Museum and get lunch (not included).
Tertre and St Ghslian - From Mons we head to the Mons-Condé Canal near Tertre where we discuss the action of the 1st Royal West Kents.
Pommereuil - From Tertre we head to the bridgehead over the canal near Pommereuil which was held by 1st Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry on the extreme left flank of the BEF.
Audregnies and Elouges - From Pommereuil we head south to Audregnies and Elouges where we discuss the actions of 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment and 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment who did not receive the order to retire. Elouges was also the scene of the famous cavalry charge of the 9th Lancers and 4th Dragoon Guards and it was here that Captain Francis Grenfell 9th Lancers won his VC. This brings to an end day one and we return to our hotel.
Our day's touring complete, we return to Mons and your tour hotel where you are free to enjoy your evening.
We check-out of our Mons tour hotel at 09:00 hrs and begin to follow in the footsteps of the BEF in the Great Retreat. On day two we visit:
Landrecies - Here we discuss the “Affair” at Landrecies when the Guards were surprised by the German advance guard.
Etreux - From Landrecies we stay with the BR I Corps and head south to Etreux to discuss the stand made by the Royal Munster Fusiliers to delay the Germans for many hours giving the rest of the Corps an opportunity to withdraw.
Le Cateau - From Etreux we head to Le Cateau for lunch (not included) before spending the afternoon discussing the battle that occurred in the vicinity when General Smith-Dorrien ordered the BR II Corps to stand and fight.
Our day's touring complete, we head towards St Quentin and our overnight hotel where you are free to enjoy your evening.
We check-out of our St Quentin tour hotel at 09:00 hrs and continue to follow in the footsteps of the BEF in the Great Retreat. On day three we visit:
St Quentin - We start by discussing the rapidly deteriorating situation as the remnants of BR II Corps filed into the centre of St. Quentin and out to the south of the city. All kinds of buildings were brought into use to provide facilities for the troops passing through. For instance the very elegant Palais de Fervaques was used as a temporary hospital and food and drink handed out from its broad steps as the British soldiers marched by.
Péronne - From St Quentin we head Péronne where we visit the excellent l'Historial de la Grande Guerre de Péronne before taking lunch (not included).
Néry - From Péronne we drive south to Néry where we discuss the gallant stand that took place on 1st September 1914.
Villers-Côtterets - From Néry we head to Villers-Côtterets where we discuss the rear-guard action by the 4th (Guards) Brigade.
Our tour complete, we drop you off at your agreed location where we bid you farewell.
Please note: Itineraries are subject to change due to operational reasons. Any changes will be advised closer to the time of departure.
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Costs may vary from those shown above due to the availability and selection of hotels, and other associated cost variations at the time of booking.
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