The tour will start at Ebbsfleet International Station offering superb convenient links from London rail hubs and in addition provides secure parking at a reasonable rate. Transport via an executive standard coach and return channel crossing are also included throughout. The tour is limited to 20 spaces to ensure quality and make this tour feel like a personal pilgrimage as opposed to a large coach group. Personal visits to relatives or people of interest to you are positively encouraged.
Sunday 8 April 2018
Departing from Ebbsfleet International around 100hrs we travel onwards to Dover for our ferry crossing to Calais. Upon arrival in France we travel down to Cambrai with a stop en-route at the Arras Memorial commemorating the missing men of Allenby's Third Army from the March retreat before proceeding onto our hotel in Cambrai
Monday 9 April 2018 - Fifth Army
Walk One - We start by following the South African Brigade in Gauche Wood before reaching Vaucelette Farm, Domino CWGC and following the old railway line into Epehy ending at Epehy Wood CWGC
Walk Two - We follow the 21st Division defence by 110 Brigade and the stand of the Leicesters in front of Epehy, we see their old command posts and defensive systems whilst visiting the remote cemeteries of Pigeon Ravine
We end the day with a visit to Manchester Hill to study the defence of Lt Col W Elstob VC before returning to Cambrai
Tuesday 10 April 2018- Third Army
Walk Three - Croiselles to Ecoust St Mein, starting at Croiselles Railway CWGC we walk across the Hogs Back where the 34th Division fought so fiercely 21 March 1918, we then take the railway cutting where the heavy guns of the 59th Division were located at the start of the battle, we end in the village of Ecoust st Mein and its small isolated cemeteries and far reaching views to Bullecourt.
The afternoon is spent studying the defence of the Flesquieres pocket held by the 63rd Royal Naval Division & the 47th London Division, the pocket, a result of the Cambrai battle in late 1917, held out as the main German efforts passed on both flanks forcing a withdrawal from the position. We end the day with an opportunity to visit D51 Deborah in her new purpose built home.
Wednesday 11 April 2018 - The Battle of the Lys
Walk Four - Givinchy - This morning we study 'the nut that wouldn't crack', beginning at the 55 Division Memorial their defence of Givinchy in 1918 is often regarded as one of the finest feats of British arms on the entire war. Retreating through the village via the backroads of Le Plantain we see where elite German 'Storm troops' attempted to outflank the outposts in the marshes. Passing 'the tuning fork' position we finish at Post Office Rifles Cemetery behind Festubert.
Walk Five - XI Corps
Studying the defence of Vielle Chapelle and the Rover Lawe by XI Corps, we learn how reserves were thrown into the obscure, hastily constructed line in a desperate attempt to stem the German Advance. From the memorial to the King Edward's Horse we cross the Lawe, hearing of several VC actions and the involvment of the Portuguese Division. We end at Rault Locks, forced by the German froces despite a ferocious counter attack by the 50th Northumbrian Division.
Thursday 12 April 2018
A final morning visit to the Pozieres Memorial to the Missing that lists the men of Gough's Fifth Army who fell in the Campaign.