13 Day Fully Escorted Tour Commemorating the Battle of Fromelles
From: 15 – 27 July 2019
Fully inclusive at $6,670 per person twin share (land package only)
Single supplements available at $1,250

This exclusive tour is accompanied by Lambis Englezos AM & Major General Mike O’Brien

Boronia Travel was privileged to be asked once again, to create a special Battlefield Tour Itinerary escorted by Mr. Lambis Englezos AM & Major General Mike O’Brien CSC, both of whom were intimately involved in the exhumation, identification & re-interment of The 250 ‘Lost’ Soldiers of Fromelles. The discovery of these lost soldiers was largely due to Lambis’s tireless research which resulted in the identification of the mass grave site. This involvement coupled with their in depth knowledge of The Battle of Fromelles and other actions Australians fought on the Western Front, mean they are ideally placed to lead this tour.

We are happy to advise the tour is generously being offered to our battlefield community. This will be a very unique experience following in the footsteps of our Anzacs with Lambis & Mike.

Mr Lambis Englezos AM

Lambis Englezos AM is a Greek born Australian art teacher and amateur historian who has devoted many years to uncovering truth and developing strategies to move officialdom to support this work. His extraordinary efforts have changed the lives of many people. Lambis was a founding member of the ‘’Friends of the 15th Brigade” along with Robin Corfield OAM and Jacquie Todd. Lambis led a team of research and advocacy, there was a wonderful result, dignity and identity for the soldiers of Pheasant Wood. The process continues…..

Lambis was responsible for discovering mass war graves for some 250 lost Australian soldiers from the disastrous Battle of Fromelles from World War 1 near Fromelles in France where on July 19, 1916, Australian and British allied soldiers lost their lives at a small village in France called Fromelles.

Major General Michael O’Brien, CSC, MDA, BSc

Mike graduated from Australia’s Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1968 into the Royal Australian Infantry and served as a platoon commander and intelligence officer in the Vietnam War. He later wrote the history of his battalion (Conscripts and Regulars: with the Seventh Battalion in Vietnam 1967-68 and 1970-71) that was published in 1995 and short-listed for a British military history prize. His extensive military career included regimental, staff training, equipment acquisition engineering and logistics postings culminating in his appointment as Support Commander-Army. He was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross for services to Defence procurement. Before retiring from full-time service was to review the Australian Army’s wider use of history. He is a graduate of the Australian Command & Staff College, Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies, Royal Military College of Science (UK), University of New South Wales and Cranfield University (UK) and was a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University’s National Graduate School of Management.

He runs his own antiquarian book shop in Melbourne and writes local history. He recently supervised an Australian government undertaking (as a serving Army Reservist) to co-ordinate the recovery and identification of more than one hundred Australian soldiers killed in action at the Battle of Fromelles, France, during the First World War. He is a vice-president of the Royal United Services Institute of Australia. He is married to Margaret and has two adult children.

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The tour cost includes:

  • Escorted by Mr Lambis Englezos & Major General (Retd) Mike O’Brien
  • Attend Memorial service at Pheasant Wood Cemetery, Fromelles
  • Attend Memorial service at 1st Division Memorial, Pozieres
  • An English speaking local Tour Director throughout
  • 2 nights Marriott Rive Gauche, Paris
  • 4 nights Holiday Inn Express, Arras
  • 3 nights Novotel Centrum, Ieper
  • 3 nights Campanile hotel, Amiens
  • Entrance fees to proposed Military museums and sites as per itinerary
  • All meals as per itinerary
  • A/C deluxe coach for duration of the tour
  • All tipping for hotels, restaurants, coach driver and local tour director

Not included in the above costs:

  • Personal expenses eg. drinks, laundry, personal spending, international travel insurance
  • Flights to / from Paris – should you require assistance with your airfare, please contact us to discuss your proposed requirements.

To confirm your intent to join the tour, a booking form will need to be completed along with the non-refundable deposit of $1,000 forwarded to Michelle Waller at Boronia Travel Centre. The final balance will be due by Friday 10 May 2019, as per the tour Terms and Conditions attached to the booking form.

A passport with at least 6 months validity from the arrival back into Australia is required for this tour. If a passport is anything other than Australian, a re-entry permit will also be required.

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Meals Included: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Day 1, Monday 15 July – For those members travelling on our group flight you will be met by our Tour Director and transferred to the hotel, then late afternoon, join our Tour Director and expert battlefield guides for a welcome reception with fellow tour members. Afterwards you will be free to explore the city or turn in for an early night.
Overnight: Marriott Rive Gauche, PARIS

Day 2, Tuesday 16 July – After breakfast board the coach, travelling north of Paris begin treading the First World War battlefields. We head 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 Lochnagar Crater, created by one of the many mines blown on 01 July 1916 to mark the beginning of the Battle of Somme, then the 1st Australian Division Memorial, and the remains of the famous ‘Gibraltar’ blockhouse. Drive through the small village of Pozieres for a lunch stop at le Tommy Café and museum then to the Windmill site, with its chilling pronouncement, Australian troops … fell more thickly on this ridge than on any other battlefield of the war and Mouquet Farm to Thiepval, where the great British memorial to the ‘missing’ stands. Late afternoon we arrive at our hotel in Arras for check in. Then join our Tour Director for a short familiarisation walking tour to the main square where the evening is free to enjoy the summer atmosphere in one of the many restaurants and bars.
Overnight: Holiday Inn Express, ARRAS
Meals: B L

Day 3, Wednesday 17 July – Today 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), Bapaume, the town captured on 17 March 1917, and the Hindenburg outpost line villages around which several battles were fought. Tour the battlefield of Bullecourt where the AIF suffered 10,000 casualties in capturing part of the notorious Hindenburg Line defences in April/May. Visit the Jean and Denise Letaille War Museum and inspect the local memorials including the Bullecourt “Digger” and the Slouch Hat Memorial. Lunch today is a special occasion, presented by the local people in the town hall, it is a wonderful display of the unique friendship between Australians and the locals in villages throughout the Somme battlefields, always a highlight! Later we return to Arras and pay a visit to the Wellington Tunnels, 20km 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 is free to wander and enjoy a summer evening in the town square.
Overnight: Holiday Inn Express, ARRAS
Meals: B L

Day 4, Thursday 18 July – Today we visit the battlefield and cemeteries of Fromelles where the AIF’s first major action on the Western Front which took such a terrible toll on the Australian 5th Division in the disastrous action on 19/20 July 1916.  We will visit “Cobbers” Memorial, VC Corner and explore the war museum, then visit Pheasant Wood Cemetery specifically established to house the remains of those disinterred from the nearby site of the mass graves discovered in recent years. It is significant that both our escorts had the key roles in the discovery, recovery, burial and identification of the bodies at Pheasant Wood. Lunch will be shared with friends at a café in Aubers and dinner will be own arrangements.
Overnight: Holiday Inn Express, ARRAS
Meals: B L

Day 5, Friday 19 July – We have a quiet morning for rest or to explore the town area before returning to Fromelles to attend the memorial service at Pheasant Wood Cemetery. When the troops of the 5th Australian and 61st British Divisions attacked at 6 pm on 19 July 1916, they suffered heavily at the hands of German machine-gunners and artillery. It was a bloody initiation for Australian soldiers to warfare on the Western Front with more than 5,500 Australian casualties. It is believed to be the greatest loss by a single division in 24 hours during the entire First World War. Some consider Fromelles the most tragic event in Australia’s history. Dinner will be at a local cafe and afterwards we return to the battlefield for an evening walk over the Australian battle lines and the Sugarloaf Salient at 9.00pm, following in the footsteps of the 15th Brigade.
Overnight: Holiday Inn Express, ARRAS
Meals: B D

Day 6, Saturday 20 July – After breakfast leave Arras behind and make a final stop at VC Corner in Fromelles to reflect on this tragic battlefield that was filled with the dead, dying and wounded over 100 years ago. Lunch is included today and will be at the nearby village of Fournes-en-Weppes. Afterwards we cross the border into Belgium and the ancient town of Ieper, making our way via Messines Ridge. This evening dinner is together in a restaurant located in the old casemates of the city in what were formerly barracks used by British troops in the Battle of Third Ypres.
Overnight: Novotel Centrum, IEPER
Meals: B L D

Day 7, Sunday 21 July – 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 during late 1917.  For the AIF this was the most costly year of the war. Firstly we explore the former battlefields at Hill 60 to see the Australian Tunnelling Corps Memorial then onto the village of Passchendaele to visit The Memorial Museum Passchendaele with its reconstructed trenches and dugouts and interesting collections from the battles of 1917. Lunch will be in the lovely onsite café. We then travel a short way to Zonnebeke and the Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing, the largest Commonwealth War Cemetery it contains over 11,000 graves including two Australian VC recipients. It’s then to Polygon Wood, where the 5th Division Memorial stands and a break for refreshments at Cafe de Dreve, whose owner Johan Vandewalle is a local expert on WWI particularly in relation to the ‘Underground War’. We return to Ieper via the Menin Road, for free time to freshen up before participating in the moving “Last Post” ceremony and wreath-laying at the Menin Gate Memorial.
Overnight: Novotel Centrum, IEPER
Meals: B L

Day 8, Monday 22 July – Today a pause from the battlefields to visit 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 return to Ieper for free time to explore the town square and perhaps visit the In Flanders Fields Museum, located inside the famous Cloth Hall.
Overnight: Novotel Centrum, IEPER
Meals: B

Day 9,  Tuesday 23 July – This morning check out of Ieper making our way back into France, stopping at Vimy Ridge, the spectacular Canadian Memorial to the Missing. We then travel to Pozieres to attend the memorial service at the 1st Division Memorial. Afterwards make a stop for lunch before travelling to Beaurains for a private visit and discussions at the newly opened Commonwealth War Graves Commission office. Then it’s onto Amiens for check in to our hotel and a freshen up before enjoying dinner together at a restaurant located on the picturesque canal waterfront.
Overnight: Campanile, AMIENS
Meals: B L D

Day 10, Wednesday 24 July – An interesting morning, we begin with a visit to Vignacourt 14-18 Interpretive Centre, located within the original farmhouse, the exhibition displays some of the thousands of photos taken of Allied troops during the war by Louis and Antoinette Thuillier and only discovered in recent years.  We will then explore The Underground City of Naours, an interesting network of caves marked with thousands of graffiti drawings made by soldiers during the Great War. Following lunch in a cosy café near Villers-Bretonneux, visit the Sir John Monash Centre. This newly opened museum is a modern interpretive centre depicting Australia’s involvement throughout the Western Front campaign. Afterwards wander the Australian National Memorial and cemetery, and perhaps a climb to the top for an overview of the land and battlefields below. Return to Amiens with the evening free to visit the Amiens Cathedral, one of the most impressive cathedrals in France.
Overnight: Campanile, AMIENS
Meals: B L

Day 11, Thursday 25 July – Today explore the sites of many Australian battles during 1918. Begin at the Richthofen (‘The Red Baron’) crash site for discussion on the infamous German fighter pilot , and the nearby 3rd Australian Division Memorial at Sailly-le-Sec. Then to 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.  We stop for lunch at a café in Corbie and then a few kms south 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. Wander the Franco-Australien museum situated in the Ecole Victoria (the Victorian School), rebuilt in the 1920s with funds donated by the Australian public. Our final stop will be on the outskirts of town to visit 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. Tonight is free to enjoy the atmosphere of summer time by the canal waterfront.
Overnight: Campanile, AMIENS
Meals: B L

Day 12, Friday 26 July – Following breakfast check out of our hotel and travelling further east visit the sites of Australian actions during the final months of the war.  Our first stop is the tunnel on the St Quentin Canal at Bellicourt, part of the German Hindenberg Line defences breached by Australian forces in September 1918. Then to Mont St Quentin, which was regarded by some British commanders as the ‘finest feat of arms by the Australians’ in the entire war and see the 2nd Australian Division Memorial. Finally to the town of Peronne, held by the Germans for most of the war, it was captured by Australian forces in early September 1918, for free time to visit the ‘Historiale de la Grand Guerre ’, a very modern museum portraying conditions on the Western Front during the war and a bite of lunch at a local boulangerie or cafe before our drive back into Paris. Settle in at hotel, and in the evening join our farewell dinner for a cruise along the Seine, seeing the beautiful sights of Paris and Notre Dame Cathedral by night.
Overnight: Marriott Rive Gauche, PARIS
Meals: B D

Day 13, Saturday 27 July – This morning our tour ends with a group transfer to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
Meals: B

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Marriott Rive Gauche, Paris

Four-star style and unparalleled convenience blend seamlessly at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center. They are in an ideal location on the renowned Left Bank, allowing for simple access to the best of Montparnasse and the surrounding area. Make yourself comfortable in their recently redesigned hotel rooms and suites; all accommodations provide first-class amenities, with select rooms offering views of the beautiful Paris cityscape. In addition, they showcase traditional French Bistro cuisine at their signature restaurant, R’Yves, and a fully equipped fitness center.

Holiday Inn Express, Arras

Holiday Inn Express Arras is located in the city centre, opposite the train station. It offers air-conditioned rooms, a bar and 24-hour reception desk. Free Wi-Fi is available. The soundproofed rooms at Holiday Inn Express Arras are equipped with a flat-screen satellite TV, telephone and private bathroom. The rooms are accessible by lift. Guests can relax in the hotel’s large lounge, which has a large flat-screen TV, or on the terrace. Additional facilities include vending machines and an underground car park.

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.

Campanile, Amiens

This air-conditioned hotel is located in the centre of Amiens, 50 m from Amiens SNCF Train Station and a 10-minute walk from the famous Gothic cathedral. It offers rooms with free Wi-Fi. Guest rooms at Campanile Amiens Centre-Gare have a modern decor and are equipped with a flat-screen TV. They each have a work area and an en suite bathroom with a hairdryer. All rooms are serviced by a lift. A buffet breakfast is served each morning at the hotel. For other meals, the hotel’s restaurant offers French dishes, which can be enjoyed on the terrace when the weather is nice. A snack service is also available.

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