11 Day Fully Escorted Battlefield Tour
From: 22 September – 01 October 2017
Fully Inclusive at $5,125 share twin* per person
(Land package only)
Single Supplements are available at $1,350
This tour will be fully escorted by expert military history and battlefield guide, Aaron Pegram
The Third Battle of Ypres was the major British offensive in Flanders in 1917. It was planned to break through the strongly fortified and in-depth German defences enclosing the Ypres salient, a protruding bulge in the British front line, with the intention of sweeping through to the German submarine bases on the Belgian coast. The battle comprised of a series of limited and costly offensives, often undertaken in the most difficult of waterlogged conditions – a consequence of frequent periods of rain and the destruction of the Flanders’ lowlands drainage systems by intense artillery bombardment. As the opportunity for breakthrough receded, Haig still saw virtue in maintaining the offensives, hoping in the process to drain German manpower through attrition.
Australian Divisions participated in the battles of Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcapelle and the First Battle of Passchendaele. In eight weeks of fighting Australian forces incurred 38,000 casualties. The combined total of British and Dominion casualties has been estimated at 310,000 (estimated German losses were slightly lower) and no breakthrough was achieved. The costly offensives, ending with the capture of Passchendaele village, merely widened the Ypres salient by a few kilometres.
It is the centenary of the battle of Ypres which will be commemorated with this in depth battlefield tour in 2017. Your battlefield trip will begin and end in Paris, with a spectacular farewell dinner on the river Seine. Our tour focuses on a unique range of activities and the venues have been carefully selected to enable you to experience the best local French and Belgium cuisine and the provincial charm of the areas visited.Enquire Now
Meals Included: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Day 1, 22 September – For those members travelling on our group flight you will be met by your tour director and transferred to the hotel. Late afternoon, join your Tour Director and battlefield guide for a welcome reception and an opportunity to meet fellow tour members.
Day 2, 23 September – We travel north to visit the first of our Australian battlefields at Fromelles, site of the first major action involving Australian troops on the Western Front during World War One. We visit the ‘Cobbers’ memorial, built on top of ruined German bunkers, and VC Corner cemetery, the only all-Australian war cemetery in France. We also visit the site of the mass graves discovered in recent years, and the new Pheasant Wood Cemetery, specifically established to house the remains of those disinterred. We continue on via the Messines Ridge and Armentieres to the Belgian city of Ieper where we will settle into our hotel close to the town square. The evening is free, to enjoy Ypres. B L
Day 3, 24 September – Today we concentrate on the Australians’ experiences in the terrible Third Battle of Ypres where we had 38,000 casualties over several weeks during late 1917. For the AIF this was the most costly year of the war. We begin with Menin Road and Polygon Wood, where the 5th Division Memorial stands. We then stop at the Passchendaele Memorial Museum to see the unique recreated dugout and trenches followed by lunch in the café. Next we follow the course of the battle along the ridgeline overlooking the Ypres salient. We explore the Australian experience in the battles of Broodseinde and Passchendaele and visit Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing. The largest Commonwealth War Cemetery it contains over 11,000 graves including two Australian VC recipients. To finish the day we visit Passchendaele village before returning to Ypres. B L
Day 4, 25 September – This morning we break from the battlefields to wander the picturesque medieval city of Bruges, with its wonderful art, architecture, canals, chocolate and lace shops, perhaps enjoy lunch or ice-cream and waffles in one of the many little cafes or a scenic boat cruise along the canals. Later we return to Ypres to participate in a unique experience by creating your own sculpture in remembrance of the 600,000 soldiers and civilians who died in Belgium during the Great War. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town square, perhaps visit the In Flanders Fields Museum, located inside the famous Cloth Hall. Later enjoy dinner together in a restaurant located in the old casements of the city in what were formerly barracks used by British troops in the Battle of Third Ypres before attending the moving ‘Last Post’ ceremony at Menin Gate. B D
Day 5, 26 September – Today we attend the official service at Buttes New British Cemetery to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood, part of the larger 3rd Battle of Ypres campaign. Returning to Ypres we visit the Australian Tunnelling Corps Memorial at Hill 60 and Essex Farm Cemetery where Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army Medical Corps wrote the poem ‘ In Flanders Fields’ in May 1915. The remainder of the day is available for further special request cemetery visits. B L
Day 6, 27 September – We leave Ieper this morning and travel south to the Somme battlefields of 1916, paying particular attention to the area around Pozieres and Mouquet Farm, where the AIF suffered 23,000 casualties in several short weeks. See the poignant Windmill Memorial with its chilling pronouncement, Australian troops … fell more thickly on this ridge than on any other battlefield of the war, the 1st Australian Division Memorial, and the remains of the “Gibraltar” blockhouse. Lunch is at nearby Albert, a town once familiar to every soldier serving on the Somme. Other significant sites we will see are the Lochnagar mine crater at La Boiselle and Thiepval, where the great British Memorial to the Missing of the Somme stands. Late afternoon check into the hotel and freshen up for dinner in a local restaurant. B D
Day 7, 28 September – Today we explore the main Australian battlefields of 1917. We travel to Bullecourt, via the Somme winter region around Butte de Warlencourt and Flers (where “trench foot”, the wet and the freezing cold was remembered by many old soldiers as the worst experience of the war). We then move via Bapaume, the town captured on 17 March 1917, and the Hindenburg outpost line villages to Bullecourt. Tour the battlefield where the AIF suffered 10,000 casualties in capturing part of the notorious Hindenburg Line defences in April/May. We visit the local memorials, including the Bullecourt “Digger” and Le Taille Museum, which contains many battlefield artefacts from this area. Tonight is free to wander the town and enjoy the atmosphere of the canal waterfront. B L
Day 8, 29 September – Today we explore the sites of many Australian battles during 1918. The village of Villers Bretonneux, recaptured by our troops after a short German occupation in April 1918, displays many signs of the local peoples’ appreciation of Australian efforts there. We stop at Adelaide cemetery, the original resting place of the Unknown Australian Soldier now entombed in the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Then visit the Franco-Australian museum situated in the Ecole Victoria (the Victorian School), rebuilt in the 1920s with funds donated by the Australian public. After lunch we visit the Australian National Memorial, site of the official Dawn Service on the Western Front, and the newly opened Sir John Monash Centre. Nearby is the tiny village of Le Hamel, scene of General Monash’s carefully planned and brilliantly executed operation which became the model for the Allies’ final offensive of the war. On the site of the final objective of the Battle of Hamel, we visit the impressive Australian Corps Memorial commemorating over 100,000 Australians who served with the Australian Corps in France during the First World War. The evening is free, to enjoy Amiens. B L
Day 9, 30 September – We travel further east today to visit the sites of Australian actions during the final months of the war. Peronne, held by the Germans for most of the war and captured by Australian forces in early September 1918, houses the Historiale de la Grand Guerre, a very modern museum portraying conditions on the Western Front during the war. Following lunch, we travel to Mont St Quentin on the outskirts of the town, where the action was regarded by some British commanders as the “finest feat of arms by the Australians in the entire war”. We also see the famous 2nd Australian Division Memorial, and Clery where Monash’s troops successfully crossed the Somme River to attack Mont St Quentin. We move on to the tunnel on the St Quentin Canal, part of the German’s Hindenberg Line defences, breached by Australian forces in September 1918. Finally, we travel to Montbrehain, the resting place of the last Australian troops to lose their lives in action during the war. Tonight is free to wander the town and enjoy an autumn evening in the town square. B L
Day 10, 01 October – We conclude our tour of the battlefields returning to Paris via Vimy Ridge, the spectacular Canadian Memorial and the park and museum at Compiegne, where the Armistice ending the fighting was signed on 11 November 1918. Settle in at hotel, with the remainder of the afternoon free for personal sightseeing and exploring. This evening join our farewell dinner for a cruise along the Seine, seeing the beautiful sights of Paris and Notre Dame Cathedral by night. B D
Day 11, 02 October – This morning our tour ends with a transfer to the airport. B
Please Note: Itinerary subject to change according to prevailing circumstances.Enquire Now
The Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile
The Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile stands as one of the best hotels in Paris. The 4 star hotel is located just minutes from both the Arc de Triomphe and the world-famous Champs Élysees, and within easy reach of the impressive La Defénse complex. Aside from its great location in this cosmopolitan city, the hotel offers truly unique views over Paris, especially of the Eiffel Tower.
Novotel Centrum, Ypres
Novotel Centrum Flanders Fields is a 3-star city centre Ypres hotel, a stone’s throw from Ypres Market Square and In Flanders Fields Museum. You’ll also be within 5 minutes of Cloth Hall and Menin Gate Memorial. The hotel has a restaurant and free WiFi along with an elevator (lift). There is also a bar/lounge where guests can enjoy drinks, plus there is a fitness centre and steam room for guests to take advantage of also.
Holiday Inn Express, Amiens
The Holiday Inn Express Amiens is a charming 3-star hotel set in a prime location in the centre of Amiens. Local tourist attractions such as Musee de l’Hotel de Berny, Jules Verne House and Amiens Cathedral are not far from the hotel. Also within easy reach is City Centre Amiens. Room facilities include climate control, coffee/tea maker, fax machine and in-room safe. In-room entertainment options include satellite television service. Guests will appreciate complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access.Enquire Now
Our tour members depend on us to provide a once in a lifetime battlefield experience combined with exceptional customer service. We do our best to meet and exceed their high standards, which is what you’d expect from Australia’s leading battlefield tour company. Here’s what our past passengers say about our efforts…
“Howard and I have been very remiss in not contacting you to tell you how much we enjoyed our trip to the Western Front with Boronia Travel this year. It was all we were hoping for, and more. The “more” was because of the people. Graeme and John, the tour historian and tour leader, were so generous with their time and knowledge and were the ultimate professionals, making our travel experience one of ease and extraordinary interest. Jean-Michel, our bus driver, was a legend and our fellow tour companions completed the experience. Thank you.”
Rae King and Howard Gibbon
“Thank you for your organisation of the best, and I do mean the best tour I’ve ever been on.”
R Thompson, Stradbroke Island
“Thanks so much for making it such a memorable trip for my mum. She was ecstatic about all the lengths you went to for her to celebrate her father’s life.”
K Holz, Melbourne
“I am writing to simply thank you for a wonderful experience that I will never forget. It was a privilege to be on the Tour… The Australian War Memorial should be congratulated for making these tours possible with such outstanding historians and leaders.”
L Brear, Blackburn South
“Working through Boronia Travel provided a proven platform to leverage off. They were professional at all stages and provided a tour package and guide well matched for the demographic. The itinerary was flexible and was negotiated each day by the tour manager and OIC, and provided participants a balanced experience”.
Matthew Lamerton, Australian Defence Force Academy
“I can honestly say that it was one of the most amazing and enjoyable experiences of my life! Every aspect of the tour far exceeded my expectations.”
R Masters, Koo Wee Rup
Our customers depend on us to provide a once in a lifetime battlefield experience combined with exceptional customer service. Visit our page full of client testimonials.Enquire Now