WW1 Remembrance Day Centenary Tour

WW1 Remembrance Day Centenary Tour

From $ 3,950 AUD

Description

11 November 2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War (1914–18) – ‘the war to end all wars’.

Visit key Australian battlefields on the Western Front to honour more than 60,000 Australians and countless other soldiers who were killed during this conflict.

$3,950*pp twin share departing Paris
*Terms & Conditions apply

Download the pdf brochure

Images courtesy of  Visit Flanders, Somme Tourism and Jérôme Houyvet, Domaine De Chantilly.

Trip Name
WW1 Remembrance Day Centenary Tour
Days
10 days departing Paris
Overview
At 11am on November 11, 1918 guns fell silent on the Western Front and the First World War came to an end.

This tour brings home the reality of the conflict as you travel from Paris through the Western Front, a landscape dotted with cemeteries and memorials. You will recount history at sites of great battles such as Fromelles, the Somme, Bullecourt, Passchendaele and Villers–Bretonneux, as you walk through reconstructed trenches and stand on the very ground that hundreds of thousands of men fought and died for.

Entire cities and villages were destroyed. Areas such as Ypres and Passchendaele became worldwide symbols for the senselessness of war. Today, the peaceful region still bears witness to this history in monuments, museums, cemeteries and the countless individual stories that link it with the world.

End your tour in a French chateaux-style hotel as you reflect on the past week.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Monday 5 November
Paris

Upon arrival in Paris you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner at a local Parisian restaurant.

Accommodation: Relais Monceau Hotel or similar
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 –  Tuesday 6 November
Paris

This morning embark on a guided tour of Paris visiting the popular sites of the city as well as the Hotel de Ville and the execution site of Mata Hari.

The afternoon is yours at leisure.

Accommodation: Relais Monceau Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 – Wednesday 7 November
Paris to Ypres

Today you will journey by road to Ypres via Compeigne and Ablain-Saint-Nazaire.

Your first stop is Compeigne to visit the Armistice Museum. This is a French War memorial marking the place where the Germans signed the armistice ending the Great War. A replica of the railway carriage where this historic event took place is the main exhibit of the museum.

Continue to Ablain-Saint-Nazaire to visit the new WW1 Ring of Remembrance monument, located within the grounds of the Notre Dame de Lorette Cemetery – the largest military cemetery in France.  This monument, inscribed with the names of 600,000 WW1 casualties, has been created to mark the centenary of the Great War.

End your day with a visit to the Christmas Truce Memorial in Ploegsteert before arriving in Ypres for a lovely dinner.

Accommodation: Best Western Flanders Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 – Thursday 8 November
Ypres

This morning dig into the rich history of Ypres on your walking tour of this remarkable city. During the First World War the charming town was reduced to a heap of rubble and almost entirely destroyed by four years of violence. The citizens of Ypres rebuilt their city with respect for the past making it now a charming medieval city. Explore the Market Square (one of the most beautiful in Belgium), the Cloth Hall, the Town Hall, Saint-Martin’s Cathedral as well as the city’s ramparts.

In the afternoon immerse yourself in the life at The Front with a visit to the In Flanders Field Museum. The museum placing an emphases on looking at The War from a more personal perspective with stories and faces of the ‘ordinary people’ – presenting a larger story of the conflict.

This evening attend the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate. The citizens of Ypres close the road that passes under the memorial and buglers sound the “Last Post” every evening at 8.00pm, describing the sorrow and loss of the Great War.  This event is in memory of the soldiers who fell in the Ypres Salient during the First World War. This memorial gate, opened in 1927, displays the names of 54,896 Commonwealth soldiers missing in the Ypres Salient.

The remains of missing soldiers are still being found in the countryside around the Ypres. If the remains can be identified, a proper military burial takes place and the relevant name is removed from the Menin Gate.

Accommodation: Best Western Flanders Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 – Friday 9 November
Ypres

Today is dedicated to visiting battlefield sites around Ypres.

Start the day with a drive to Zillebeke to visit the Hill 62 Memorial and preserved trenches. Along the way you will also stop at Hellfire Corner— known as ”the most dangerous corner on earth”. The German forces overlooked this junction from higher ground making it a perfect place for them to use heavy artillery on anything that moved across the area.

Visit one of the most remarkable sites in the Ypres Salient, Hill 60. This hill changed hands several times and became a place of underground war. Some of the many soldiers who worked in the cold and the dark of the mine tunnels died there and are still buried beneath the clay.

Travel north to the German war cemetery of Langemark. A sculpture of four mourning figures stands at the back of the cemetery watching over the graves of 44,000 German soldiers—no individual graves exist here. The dead include some 3,000 unexperienced young soldiers, many of whom were students, killed during the First Battle of Ypres.

Probably the most confronting sight is the mass grave, known as ‘Comrades Grave’, which marks nearly 25,000 men.

Continue to Zonnebeke for lunch before visiting Tyne Cot Cemetery, the resting place for those who died the First World War in the Ypres Salient. It is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world.  It is said to be called “Tyne Cot” because the Northumberland Fusiliers thought the German buildings and bunkers on the skyline looked like Tyneside cottages, or Tyne Cots. However there is still speculation around this theory.

Staying in Zonnebeke, relive the Battle of Passchendaele at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917. This museum is dedicated to this battle where, nearly half a million soldiers fell for only a few kilometres gain of ground.

Your last stop before returning to Ypres is Polygon Wood Cemetery. The Battle of Polygon Wood was fought by the Australian 4th and 5th Divisions along with other forces, where more than 5,700 Australian lives were lost in the battle. The name “Polygon Wood” comes from the polygon shape of the battle ground. This piece of ground changed hands several times during The War with artillery fire completely destroying the forest trees.

Two cemeteries were created at the site: Polygon Wood Cemetery and Buttes New British Cemetery.

Accommodation: Best Western Flanders Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast

Day 6 – Saturday 10 November
Ypres to Amiens

Your first stop today on the way to Amiens is at Fromelles, with a visit to the VC Corner cemetery—the only solely Australian war cemetery in France. The Battle of Fromelles was the first major battle where Australians were involved, and has been described as “the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history” due to the heavy losses that the Australian forces suffered. The Australians missing from the battle are remembered at the Cemetery and Memorial, and over 400 unidentified bodies from the battle are also buried there. However there are no headstones or epitaphs to individual soldiers. The Memorial Park which is located a few hundred yards away from the V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial, contains the Cobbers Monument which symbolises the bravery and compassion of the Australian forces.

Not far away is the location of the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery. Remains of Australian and British casualties were uncovered in Pheasant Wood where German troops had buried them in mass graves  in 1916. From this the cemetery was constructed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission so the remains of the dead could be reburied in individual graves.

Continue your tour with a visit to the Wellington Tunnels in Arras. This site was originally a former underground quarry.  From 1916 a network of 4,300 metres of tunnels were excavated by New Zealand tunnellers (hence the name Wellington Tunnels) running from the centre of Arras to near the German front lines. The tunnel systems could hold up to 25,000 men and were fitted with running water, electric lights, kitchens, toilets, a light rail system and a even fully equipped hospital. The tunnel system allowed British soldiers to stage a surprise attack on the Germans leading to an Allied victory of The Battle of Arras.

Your last stop today is a visit to the Bullecourt Digger Memorial in the Australian Memorial Park, which looks out to the fields near Bullecourt. In 1917 the Australian forces suffered massive casualties in the Battles of Bullecourt with nearly 10,000 men of the Australian Imperial Force killed or wounded, in their attempts to break into and hold part of the Hindenburg Line. The Digger of Bullecourt wears a slouch hat decorated with the Rising Sun badge – symbols of the Australian forces.

The drive into Amiens is via the Red Baron crash site. An information board marks the site where Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the famous WW1 flying ace known as the Red Baron and credited with 80 kills, was shot down by Australian Lewis gunners. There is controversy over who actually killed the Red Baron however today it is believed the Lewis gunners deserve credit due to the angle of the bullet entry.

After a full day of touring, sit down to a hearty meal at your hotel.

Accommodation: Mercure Cathedrale Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 – Sunday 11 November
Remembrance Day

This morning you will congregate at the Australian National Memorial just outside Villers-Bretonneux for the Remembrance Day Service. The Memorial overlooks the cemetery which is the last resting place of over 770 Australian soldiers. On 25 of April 1918, the Australian Forces recaptured the town of Villers-Bretonneux, but at a cost of over 1,200 Australian lives. The grateful citizens of Villers-Bretonneux to this day continue to honour the memory of their brave Australian saviours.

After the service you will have time to visit the Victoria School Museum. The school was rebuilt using donations from school children of the state of Victoria as a gift to the children of Villers-Bretonneux. Due to the strong bond between the children, in every school room, in both French and English is the inscription Do Not Forget Australia (“N’oublions jamais l’Autralie”).  The Franco Australian Museum is housed here which tells the story of the AIF during the First World War.

Head to Pozieres for lunch at Tommy’s Café and enjoy reading the interesting letters and notes displayed on the walls. Whilst in Pozieres, visit the First Australian Division Memorial, the Sunken Road Cemetery, the Mouquet Farm AIF Memorial and the Windmill Australian Memorial.

In Pozières there is a street names the ‘First Australian Division Street’. At the corner of that street is the obelisk First Australian Division Memorial, in remembrance of their comrades who lost their lives in the shellfire bombardment of Pozieres. The Memorial is also a reminder of the soldiers’ tenacity in holding their ground during this horrific time.

At the Sunken Road Cemetery, 61 Australians lay rest—all these are fatalities of the Pozières–Mouquet Farm fighting in 1916. Among the Australian graves lie 14 soldiers of the 48th Battalion AIF (South Australia and Western Australia). The battalion lossuffered heavy losses in the fighting at Pozières, particularly under enemy shell fire near the Windmill.

The Battle for Mouquet Farm, has been shrouded in Controversy due to the loss of thousands of Australian troops of several weeks while the farm was taken and abandoned a number of times. The Battle was an attempt to drive a line behind the German forces resulting in them giving up important positions.

The Windmill site was established as an Australian memorial in the 1930s. At the Battle of the Somme, the Australian Imperial Force suffered 23,000 casualties with thousands of these soldiers dying in the countryside around the Windmill. Soil from the Windmill site was spread over the coffin of Australia’s Unknown Soldier during his funeral at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Continue your day with a visit to the Thiepval Memorial. This memorial commemorates the missing of the Somme. The names of more than 72,000 missing British and South African men are recorded on the stone panels around the memorial arches.

Before returning to Amiens, you will visit the Newfoundland Memorial at Beaumont Hamel. The Memorial commemorates the dead of the Newfoundland Regiment who staged an unsuccessful attack again the German troops on 1 July 2016, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The park also contains other beautifully maintained memorials and cemeteries along with well-preserved trenches providing a glimpse into trench warfare of the Great War.

NB: Today’s events are subject to change and availability

Accommodation: Mercure Cathedrale Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 8 – Monday 12 November
Amiens to Chantilly

This morning you will stop to view Lochnager Crater. On July 1st 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the Royal Engineers detonated a mine created by packing huge quantities of explosives in tunnels under the German lines. The sound of the resulting explosion was said to be the loudest man made noise in history and it was reported that it could be heard in London. The resulting crater, the Lochnagar Crater still exists today.

Your next stop is a visit to the Musee Somme 1916 – an atmospheric museum housed in a 250 metre long underground passage. Sounds and life size displays depict life in the trenches and the horror of the Great War.

After lunch continue on to Peronne for a visit to the Historial de la Grande Guerre. This Museum built in 1992 within the Castle at Peronne displays 16,000 objects and tells the story of the Battle of Mont St Quentin and the capture of Peronne.

Continue learning about this battle with a visit to the Second Australian Division Memorial at Mont St Quentin. This is the scene of one of the greatest victories of the division capturing the German stronghold, however it was costly with 23 men of the battalion losing their lives that day.

End your time in France in style with a two night chateaux-style stay.

Accommodation: Auberge du Jeu de Paume or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 – Tuesday 13 November
Chantilly

Today is yours at leisure.

You may wish to relax in the gardens, treat yourself to a massage or one of the many spa treatments, or spend the day exploring the famous Chateaux Chantilly.

Enjoy your last evening with the group over a gourmet dinner at your hotel.

Accommodation: Auberge du Jeu de Paume or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 – Wednesday 14 November
Chantilly/ Paris

This morning after breakfast you will be transferred to either Charles de Gaulle Airport or Paris city centre.

Meals: Breakfast



Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
05-11-201814-11-2018AUD $ 3,950-

Inclusions

    What’s included in the price?

    • 9 nights accommodation in 3-4 star hotels
    • Breakfast daily
    • 1 x Lunch and 6 x Dinners
    • Tour Manager from Paris on Day 3 to Chantilly on Day 8
    • Local guides in Paris and Ypres
    • Specialist Battlefield guides around Ypres on Day 5 and Amiens on Day 7
    • All transport as per the itinerary
    • Arrival airport transfer in Paris
    • Departure transfer to Paris Charles de Gaulle or Paris city centre
    • Entrance into museums and memorials as per the itinerary
    • Tipping for the coach driver and tour manager

     

Map

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