This very special 3 night/4 day commemorative tour series closely follows the Australian actions on the WW1 Australian sector of the Western Front. Imagine a ditch – zig-zagging from Melbourne to Canberra – about 700klm – this was the Western Front in WW1 - stretching from Belgium to the other side of France. Some 295,000 Australians served on the Western Front where over 46,000 died and 134,000 were wounded or captured. As a proportion of its fighting force of men who were actually exposed to a theatre of war, it is widely accepted that Australia's armed forces in WW1 suffered more deaths, more hospitalisations for wounding, illness and injury than the armies of Britain, Germany, France, Canada or the United States.
The fighting prowess, bravery, mateship, and immense sacrifice of our soldiers here was - and will remain forever legendary. At the end of the war it was officially noted that "probably in no other year have Australians influenced the destiny of the world as Australian soldiers did by their achievements in these (and later) weeks of 1918." Marshal Foch (a prominent French General) reflected that "the passionate valour of the Australians served as an example to the whole world You saved Amiens, and you saved France". (2nd Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, Anzac Day, 1918).
Highlights of this superb series tour include: the Australian battles of: Messines Ridge, Hill 60, Polygon Wood, Passchendaele, Tyne Cot, the Menin Gate Ceremony, Fromelles & VC Corner, The Cobber Memorial & Pheasant Wood cemetery, Pozieres, Mouquet Farm, Bullecourt, Le Hamel, Mont St Quentin, Villers-Bretonneux, Adelaide War Cemetery & the Franco Australian Museum at Villers -Bretonneux.
Messines Ridge - Here we learn about the 3rd Australian Division attack. Messines was the scene of the greatest underground mine explosions in the war, and it was here for the first time Australians and New Zealanders were to fight side by side since Gallipoli in 2015. The Battle of Messines was the most complete success of any major Western Front attack by the Allies to that stage of the war.
Hill 60 - Australian Tunnelling Corps Memorial
Menin Road & Polygon Wood - 5th (Australian) Division Memorial
Passchendaele Memorial Museum, Zonnebeke
Broodseinde and Tyne Cot War Cemetery.Tyne Cot - beyond the Great Cross the headstones stretch away - row on row on row. There are 1,369 Australian graves here, 791 of them unidentified, making Tyne Cot the war cemetery with the most Australian burials in the world.
Menin Gate Ceremony
Battle of Fromelles: 19 July - 20 July 1916.
The 1916 Fromelles battlefield
VC Corner Australian Cemetery at Fromelles
'Cobbers' Memorial at Fromelles
Pheasant Wood cemetery at Fromelles
Visit to Fromelles Museum
Pozieres – Windmill Memorial & Tank Memorial & 1st Division Memorial. - In less than seven weeks in the fighting at Pozières and Mouquet Farm three Australian divisions suffered 23,000 casualties. Of these, 6,800 men were killed or died of wounds. It was a loss in a 8 week period between 23 July and 27th September 1916 that was comparable with the casualties sustained by the Australians over eight months at Gallipoli in 1915. It remains the largest casualties suffered in any battle in WW1 by Australia including Fromelles the previous week (19th/20th July 1916) to the start of the battle of Pozieres.
Bullecourt, the battlefield, the Digger and Slouch Hat Memorials and Bullecourt War Museum. Bullecourt, more than any other action on the Western Front this shook the Australian fighting mettle to the core. Hastily planned and mounted by the British High Command, the attack was launched on 11th April 1917 by the 4th Australian and 62nd British Divisions and was a shambles.
Tanks which were supposed to support the Australian infantry either broke down or were quickly destroyed. The infantry did however break through the German defences, but due to uncertainty as to how far they had advanced, supporting artillery fire was withheld, and eventually the Australians were hemmed in and forced to retreat. The two brigades of the 4th Division that carried out the attack, the 4th and 12th, suffered over 3,300 casualties; 1,170 Australians were taken prisoner - the largest number captured in a single engagement during the war.
Mont St. Quentin to learn about the bitter battle in 1918 and what was described by Australian General Sir John Monash "that it furnished the finest example in the war of spirited and successful infantry action conducted by three divisions operating simultaneously side by side" including battalions from every Australian state. British Commander General Lord Rawlinson remarked that this feat by the Australian troops under Monash's command was the greatest of the war. Forced out of Péronne, the Germans then had to retreat to their last line of defence - the Hindenburg Line.
The inspiring Australian 2nd Division Memorial with its rich history.
The American & Australian attacks on the St Quentin Canal line
The mouth of the St Quentin Canal tunnel
The scene where Lt Joe Maxwell, MC and Bar, DCM, 18th Battalion AIF earned his VC.
Villers-Bretonneux. At Villers-Bretonneux we will see:
Scene of first tank versus tank action
Adelaide War Cemetery
The action that led to the VC for Lieutenant C.W.K Sadlier during the 2nd battle for Villers- Bretonneux on Anzac Day 1918.
Australian National Memorial: site of the annual Anzac Day Ceremony
Franco-Australian Museum at the Victoria School in Villers-Bretonneux
Australian Corps memorial Park – Le Hamel, including trench system.
Departures: Anzac Footsteps Tours 2018: Contact us for full Itinerary/Dates/Prices.
Terms & Conditions of Booking:
(*Tour prices are subject to a minimum number of passengers travelling together )
All meals as detailed
Accommodation: share twin/double room per person
Premier coach travel
Admission to museums and attractions as shown
Expert Battlefield Guide/Historian throughout tour
Souvenir tour booklet
TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE:
Items of a personal nature: (eg laundry etc)
Transport/transfers to & from Lille Railway Station
Meals (other than specified)
Beverages & Drinks (other than specified)
(*Itinerary is subject to change due to unforseen circumstances etc)