This tour explores life behind the Somme front in WW1, including less-visited cemeteries, soldier's graffiti, and new museums.
Local departure by coach, then to our hotel in northern France, where we stay for four nights.
Day 2 Villages Behind the Lines
We start our tour by driving through the villages behind the lines on the Somme front, many of which have barely changed since 1916.
At Puchevillers, we look at medical arrangements behind the lines and visit the cemetery where many soldiers who died of wounds received on the Somme were buried. From here, we follow the casualty evacuation route to Bagneux British Cemetery in Gezaincourt to visit the graves of nurses who were killed here in 1918.
In Doullens, we visit the town hall where a key conference took place; seeing the memorial window and the preserved conference room. The conference in March 1918 was an impactful moment in the war, as Allied commanders discussed the city of Amiens and the important part it would play in the battles to come.
After lunch, we visit Vignacourt to see the ‘House of the Australians’. This is a new museum that has been built on the grounds of where a local man photographed thousands of soldiers in WW1, now featured in the book ‘The Lost Tommies’. While there, we visit Vignacourt Cemetery with its unique French soldier statue and later venture underground into the Naours Caves to see graffiti left by British and Commonwealth soldiers in WW1.
Day 3 Rouen & Amiens
Today we travel to Rouen, which was the main Base Depot for the British Army during the Battle of the Somme. Here we visit St. Sever Cemetery and Extension seeing the graves of padres, senior officers, women and men from every corner of the Commonwealth.
After lunchtime in Rouen we return to the Somme and look at the story of the Chinese Labour Corps, visiting their unique cemetery. Back in Amiens we go to the Cathedral to see the memorials and look at the story of the British Army in this city in 1916.
Day 4 Continuing Behind the Lines
Continuing Behind the Lines Today we continue with our journey behind the lines, visiting the small hamlet of Blangy-Tronville to see a chapel which is covered in the names of WW1 Soldiers. Moving on to Querrieu, we visit the château used by General Rawlinson as the Fourth Army Headquarters in 1916 and, following lunchtime in Corbie, we see where the Red Baron crashed. Later, we visit the site of ‘The Grandstand’ – an observation tower used by General Rawlinson to oversee the Somme offensive in 1916. At Louvencourt, we look at the story of Roland Leighton, who was posthumously immortalised in the memoir ‘Testament of Youth’ which was written by his fiancée Vera Brittain.
At Couin, we visit the Animals Memorial at the site of the old WW1 Water Point, and in the cemetery look at the story of the ‘King of No Man’s Land’, Dick Travis VC DCM MM. We end the tour following a route to the front line at Serre, where the Northern Pals battalions marched into a baptism of fire at the Battle of the Somme.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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