The Cheshire County Memorial Project
WW1 Battlefield Tour 2019
5 days £439PP 17th to 21st October

In conjunction with Leger Holidays we are planning a tour to visit the battlefields and places of remembrance. Your guide will be Stephen Benson who is an experienced tour guide as well as the creator of the Project. You will hear stories of the soldiers from Cheshire who are listed on the project website as well as general history of the battle's that took place.

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Tour Details

Day 1 - Departure from the Crewe, Sandbach and Knutsford Services area (possible other pick up points on route) for the journey to Dover and our ferry crossing to Calais. Then travel onwards to our hotel in Belgium for a four night stay on a bed and breakfast basis. Based on city style hotels such as the 3* Best Western Flanders Lodge in Ypres, the 4* Best Western Ambassador in Menen and the 4* Horizon Ath Lessines OR SIMILAR.

Day 2 – The Somme Serre
Serre Road Cemetery

The Battle of the Somme began on a summer's day in July 1916 and ended in a snowstorm four and a half months later. It was a battle of contrasts from the blackest day when 57,000 became casualties to the first use of tanks and the change in approach to fighting on the Western Front.

Thiepval Memorial
Thiepval Memorial

We look at all these stories and start our tour at Serre, visiting Sheffield Park, then on to Beaumont Hamel, Sunken Lane and Hawthorn Crater, we see the trenches in the Newfoundland Park and then take time to visit the Ulster Tower and Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. Also visiting Lochnagar Crater and on to Deville Wood. Finally if time and daylight persists head to Mametz.

Day 3 – Arras & Vimy Ridge - We spend today in northern France visiting the 'Forgotten Front' between Flanders and the Somme.

Wellington Quarries
Wellington Quarries

Starting on the Loos Battlefield, the scene of the first major British offensive of WW1, we see where the fighting took place and also the Loos Memorial and Dud Corner Cemetery. After lunch in Arras an opportunity to look at life beneath the Western Front in the Wellington Quarries, going underground to see where thousands sheltered on the eve of battle. If guests do not wish to join this they will be able to stay around the centre of Arras, we will then pick them up before heading to the Arras memorial.
At the Arras Memorial we pay our respects to the Missing and see the Air services Memorial to those who died above the battlefields in WW1 and end our day with a visit to the stunning Vimy Ridge memorial at Hill 145 to examine the attack by Canadian forces here in April 1917. Providing the tunnels are open guests will have time to go in them.

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Day 4 – Ypres & Passchendaele – The tour starts in Flanders around the Belgian city of Ypres. Here, one in three of Britain’s Western Front dead fell by 1918 and it has been a place of pilgrimage ever since.

Tyne Cot Cemetery
Tyne Cot Cemetery

We begin by looking at the commemoration of Britain’s dead at Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest British war cemetery in the world, taking time to also see the visitors’ centre. At Vancouver Corner we examine the use of gas in the trenches and see the moving ‘Brooding Soldier’ memorial to the Canadians who defended Ypres in 1915 and at Langemarck German Cemetery we see how Germany commemorated her dead and look at the story of ‘Fritz’ on the other side of No Man’s Land. After lunch at Hooge, an opportunity guests can either visit the museum or walk up and onto the Bellewaarde Ridge, this was the scene of severe fighting (We then travel down the Messines Ridge to Ploegsteert to see the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing. subject to change This day may change slightly, we are thinking of heading to Ploegsteert first and weather permitting walk to Prowse Point, so guests can see where the 1914 Christmas truce happened and possibly into Ploegsteert Wood.
Our day ends in Ypres where we attend the moving Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial, held at 8pm each evening.

Menin Gate Memorial
Menin Gate Memorial

Day 5 - Leave our hotel after breakfast, head to Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery with over 10,000 graves, Lijssenthoek was the location for a number of casualty clearing stations during the First World War. The village was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields. Close to the Front, but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations. We then travel to Calais for our return ferry crossing to Dover. Then continue to the Crewe, Sandbach and the Knutsford Services area (possible others as per pick up).

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