Day 1 - Sunday 12 May 2019
Picking up at Ebbsfleet International Rail Station and Dover Eastern Docks we take the Dover-Calais Ferry to France. On arrival we make our way to Mons via a stop at Casteau to consider the opening shots for the BEF at War and the Canal Bridge at Nimy to study the Victoria Cross actions of the 4/Royal Fusiliers on the opening day of the battle.
Day 2 - Monday 13 May 2019
- Mons from the Canal Bank to Binche Cross Roads 4.6KM
This new walk starts in the village of Obourg and follows the German attack on the 23 August on the 4/Middlesex positions in and around the railway station. We then continue the general line of withdrawal through the lines held by the 2/Royal Irish Regiment towards the town stopping at the impressive if seldom visited Mons Communal Cemetery containing a sizable CWGC Plot. We then head for Binche (La Bascule) Crossroads ending on the spot defended so gallantly by a scratch force and today the site of the Royal Irish Regiment Memorial and BEF Town Memorial that was relocated here in the 1980's. Rejoining our vehicle we make the short drive to Saint Symphorien Cemetery before lunch in Mons
- The afternoon begins with a visit to the impressive Mons Military Museum before we end the day studying the Elouges/Audregnies clash fought on the 24 August by the 1/Norfolks and 1/Cheshires supported by the 9/Lancers and 4/Dragoon Guards in the face of overwhelming numbers.
Day 3 - Tuesday 14 May 2019
We begin by heading south from Mons passing Bavai and through the Forest of Mormal before visiting Landrecies to consider the action fought by the Guards of Haigs Corps on the evening of the 25 August 1914.
Walk Two -
Le Cateau - The Left Flank 4.5km
This new route for us will focus on the actions of BEF's 7th & 8th Brigades in and around Caudry, starting in Bethencourt we see the initial attacks by the German 153rd Regiment against the line held by the 1/Wiltshire's & 1/South Lancashire's. We then walk through the town, heavily shelled during the battle passing by both CWGC cemeteries before ending on the line held by the 2/Royal Irish Rifles & 1/Gordons, who we had considered during the Mons fighting the day before. Lunch will be taken in Le Cateau
Visits to the Le Cateau Cemetery, the sunken lane to hear of the saving of the guns and ending at the impressive Suffolks Memorial before we make our way up to Ypres. (Just under 2 hours)
Day 4 - Wednesday 15 May 2019
- Gheluvelt to Zanvoorde - 3.5km Starting at Black Watch Corner for a brief introduction, we then move to Gheluvelt Chateau to begin our walk to Zanvoorde. Following General Cappers 7th Division we cross south of the Menin Road to see the defensive actions of 1/Queens and the 1/KRRC, we contuinue into Zanvoorde village pausing at the CWGC site before making visits to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers & Royal Horse Guards monuments in the village. Lunch in Ypres
- Messines 1914, 2.9 km after a brief visit to the Indian Corps Memorial at Hollebeke we look at the fighting in and around Messines on the 31 October 1914, starting at the London Scottish memorial we walk around to the east of the village of Messines to cover the German attack, we visit the church and the small museum in the square, see the Christmas Truce memorial before leaving the village and ending at Messines British Cemetery where a number of those who fell in the action are buried today.
Free time in Ypres and participation in the Last Post Ceremony
Day 5 -Thursday 16 May 2019
A morning study of the Ploegsteert Wood line in 1914 ends our tour before we head back to Calais and onward travel to the UK