11 Day Fully Escorted Battlefield Tour
From: 3 – 13 November 2018
Fully Inclusive at $5,299 share twin* per person
(Land package only)
No Single Supplements Remaining. This exclusive tour will SELL OUT!
1914-1918, was the ‘Great War’, the ‘war to end all wars’. In that conflict, the most important battleground was the ‘Western Front’ in France and Belgium where great battles were fought with names that were once household words in Australia — Fromelles, the Somme, Bullecourt, Messines, Passchendaele and Villers–Bretonneux. Of the more than 295,000 Australians who served in this theatre of war in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), 46,000 lost their lives and 132,000 were wounded. Then at 11am on November 11, 1918 the guns fell silent on the Western Front and the First World War came to an end.
It is the centenary of the end of the Great War which will be commemorated with this in depth battlefield tour in 2018. Our Western Front tour will enable you to attend the official Centenary Service at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux in France and the very moving Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate in Ieper, Belgium whilst also visiting the major sites where Australian soldiers saw battle in Flanders and the Somme areas, concluding with a stop at Compiegne, where the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.
Due to the high interest from those wishing to attend the centenary commemoration, we are pleased to confirm that we will be offering two tour groups which will be escorted by our most experienced battlefield guides, Graeme Beveridge and Rod Margetts.
Graeme has escorted our battlefield tours for many few years and worked at the Australian War Memorial for more than 11 years in Visitor Services, Education, Public Events, and finally as the Executive Officer. He also delivered public lectures in the Memorial’s galleries on a wide range of subjects covering the Australian experience in the war and most recently, a series of detailed lectures for AWM staff on Australian involvement on the Western Front during WWI. His position as Executive Officer involved extensive research and coordination on a wide range of subjects relating to the AWM’s role in Australian society including, of course, Australian military history. Graeme has a keen interest in military history generally and Australian involvement in particular.
Originally a National Serviceman, Rod went on to serve for thirty-one years in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps, and later the Staff Corps, of the Regular Army. During this time he filled a variety of command, instructional and staff appointments. His broad military experience provided excellent opportunities to further develop a lifelong interest in military history which now retired, Rod’s interest is in helping others to understand and appreciate Australia’s rich military history.
Both guides will present information about the background and specific events which occurred, in an interesting and entertaining way. They will personally introduce themselves to all tour member via email or telephone prior to departure, and invite you to advise them of any subject of particular interest, such as relatives who had fought (and sometimes died) during the conflict. They will then research the matter to ensure, where possible, that the tour visits the particular site and that detailed information on the actions are provided.
With access to a vast array of documentation, maps, film and photographs from the archives at the Australian War Memorial to enhance your experience, we promise you a wonderful and memorable tour.
The tour cost does not include airfares however Singapore Airlines is the preferred airline for our tours with their flights being the ones designated for the arrival and departure airport coach transfers included in the tour. Whilst we will have access to very competitive economy and business class fares with Singapore Airlines we are also able to assist with any airline preference you may have. We can also assist with any other travel arrangements you may require during your time in Europe in-conjunction with the tour.
You Must Register for the Centenary Commemoration
As per previous centenary commemorations throughout 2015, 2016 and 2017, the minister of Veteran Affairs has advised that those wishing to attend official overseas commemorations in 2018 must again register online for entry passes into the designated sites. Registration for the centenary of the First World War Armistice at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is now open, which is offered free of charge by the utilising a first in, first serve approach. Tickets are available on the DVA Commemoration website.
We can certainly guarantee that our battlefield tours will far exceed any of your expectations. Our tour leaders and historians always receive rave reviews when they lead our tours, and it’s important to know that you really are travelling with the best of the best Australian battlefield guides. If you are looking for a meaningful way to commemorate the centenary of the End of the Great War, then there is no better way to mark the end of hostilities which decimated the area from 1916 to 1918 than by treading in the footsteps of our ANZACs on the battlefields of France and Belgium.
This exclusive tour will SELL OUTEnquire Now
Meals Included: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Day 1, 3 November – 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. Then continue on the introductions with your fellow tour members for a welcome dinner at the hotel. D
Day 2, 4 November – After breakfast we travel north by coach to visit the first of our Australian battlefields at Fromelles where the 5th Australian Division fought the disastrous action of 19/20 July 1916. We visit the new Pheasant Wood Cemetery and the nearby museum. After lunch we visit the battlefield, including the “Cobbers” Memorial, built on top of ruined German bunkers, and VC Corner cemetery, the only all-Australian war cemetery in France. We make a stop for lunch at a wonderful eclectic café in Estaires before crossing the border, travelling via the Messines Ridge and Armentieres to the Belgian village Ypres (now Ieper) in Belgium. After settling into the hotel, this evening is free to explore your new surroundings. B L
Day 3, 5 November – Today we concentrate on the Australians’ experiences in the terrible Third Battle of Ypres (or simply “Passchendaele”); here we had 38,000 casualties over several weeks in the second half of 1917. For the AIF this was the most costly year of the war. We begin at Messines Ridge, the 3rd Australian Division’s first major action, then move via Hill 60 and Menin Road to Polygon Wood, where the 5th Division Memorial stands. We stop at the Passchendaele Memorial Museum to see the unique recreated dugout and trenches followed by lunch in the café. We then travel north to visit the Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing. The largest Commonwealth War Cemetery, Tyne Cot contains over 11,000 graves including two Australian VC recipients. We’ll then visit the huge German war cemetery at Langemarke before returning to Ypres. This evening we participate in the moving “Last Post” ceremony and wreath-laying at the Menin Gate Memorial. Then have 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. B L D
Day 4, 6 November – This morning we break from the battlefields to wander the picturesque medieval city of Bruges, with its wonderful art, architecture, canals, and 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. We return to Ieper with the remainder of the afternoon free to explore the Town Square, perhaps visit the In Flanders Fields museum located inside the famous Cloth Hall. This evening take the opportunity to try one of the many restaurants in the town square. B
Day 5, 7 November – 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 acknowledgement: 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 will be at nearby Albert, a town once familiar to every soldier serving on the Somme, where we will visit the museum situated in the tunnels beneath the Basilica. 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 our hotel in Amiens and perhaps wander the town square to see the incredible world heritage site Amiens Cathedral, the largest of its kind in France or the picturesque canal waterfront. B L
Day 6, 8 November – 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. We then travel to Arras for a lunch stop, then pay a visit to the Wellington Tunnels, 350m of tunnels 22m below Arras, they were used to protect the troops from incessant bombing and troops were billeted there prior to the start of the Arras offensive in April 1917. Tonight we enjoy dinner together at a lovely restaurant located overlooking the canal. B D
Day 7, 9 November – We begin today with a visit to the village of Villers Bretonneux. Recaptured by our troops after a short German occupation in April 1918, it displays many signs of the local people’s appreciation of Australian efforts there. Our first stop is 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. We also 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 Hamel, where General John Monash planned and executed the brilliant operation which set the scene for the Allies’ final offensive of the war. Located 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. Tonight enjoy the atmosphere of the canal waterfront. B L
Day 8, 10 November – We conclude our battlefield tour travelling east to visit the sites of Australian actions during the final months of the war. We begin at the town of Peronne, attacked by Australian forces in early September 1918. The capture of Mont St Quentin, on the outskirts of the town, was regarded by some British commanders as the “finest feat of arms by the Australians in the entire war”. We will also see Clery where Monash’s troops successfully crossed the Somme River to mount the attack, and the famous 2nd Australian Division Memorial. A visit to the Historiale de la Grand Guerre , a modern museum portraying conditions on the Western Front during the war, and our lunch break, ends the visit to Peronne. We then visit the tunnel on the St Quentin Canal at Bellicourt, part of the German Hindenberg Line defences breached by Australian forces in September 1918. Finally we travel to Montbrehain, scene of the last Australian action on the Western Front. This evening is free to enjoy dinner at leisure. B L
Day 9, 11 November – Today we attend the official service to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice at the Australian National Memorial. The Armistice was an agreement concluded by representatives of France, Britain and Germany to end the fighting of the First World War, as a prelude to formal peace negotiations. Signed in General Foch’s personal railway carriage in the Forest of Compiegne at 5.00 am on the 11th of November 1918, the document directed that hostilities would cease at 11 am that day. The armistice ran for 30 days but was regularly renewed until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919 officially ended the war. The first modern conflict, World War 1 had seen the mobilisation of over 70 million people and had left between 9 and 13 million dead, many with no known grave. For Australia, a country of less than five million people, the human cost was particularly heavy, 416,809 men, representing 39% of 18 to 44 year olds enlisted, of whom over 61,000 were killed and almost 160,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner. The anniversary of the armistice is marked each year on Remembrance Day, by one minute’s silence at 11 am on 11 November. Tonight we enjoy dinner together to toast and commemorate our soldiers who sacrificed so much and whose graves and memorials we have visited on the Somme and Flanders battlefields. B D
Day 10, 12 November – 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 day 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, 13 November – 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