The new Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre Villers-Bretonneux: Opening Anzac Day 2018
(* Please note we intend to visit this facility on 30 August, however however until it is open we cannot guarantee this.)
(* Scroll down for 'Mont St Quentin & 3 VCs' Centenary Tour Itinerary and Prices)
Australia and World War 1
When The Great War came to an end in 1918 Australia was left to come to terms with a war which, on the Western Front alone, had cost Australia 48,000 dead (* including Gallipoli - over 60,000 dead) and over 156,000 wounded. Militarily, the ANZAC reputation stood sky-high at the end of the war and along with the Canadians, they were regarded as among the most elite fighting troops in the British Expeditionary Force – tough, battle hardened and ruthless, they were greatly feared by the Germans and grudgingly admired even by their nemesis - the British High Command.
On this 'once in a lifetime' "Mont St Quentin & 3VCs" 5N/6D Centenary tour in France and Belgium we follow in their footsteps to the places where the Australian reputation was established as one of the finest fighting forces in WW1 on the Western Front. Along the way we shall hear tales of enormous courage, endurance and sacrifice that will both inspire and humble, culminating in our own very special Remembrance ceremony on 01 September 1918, the exact day 100 years ago that the Australian forces - below strength, desperately tired, outgunned and outnumbered - took this important citadel in a truly audacious attack, earning themselves 3 VCs along the way.
At a Glance...
Your guide: A certified SOR Historian/Battlefield Guide
Dates: Monday 27 August - Saturday 01 September 2018
Duration: 5 Nights/6 Days
Starts: Lille (France) Finishes: Arras/Lille (France)
Tour Code: AUSQ186DLIL
Tour Cost: €1650.00 Per Person Share Twin/Double
Single Room Supplement: €650.00
** Note 2. 01 June 2017: Due to the triggering on March 29, 2017 of Article 50 by the UK to leave the EU and the negotiations for such to start in July 2017 - we are now experiencing further major currency fluctuations. Accordingly, we have increased our *estimated prices* for our tours in 2018 by 7% in line with these currency fluctuations.
Note: (*This tour price has these increases included in this tour price*)
Day 1 - Monday 27 August 2018
Arrival Day for your Tour. Day/Evening at leisure after you arrive in Lille and check into your Lille Hotel.
Accommodation: 4 * Lille Hotel
Day 2 – Tuesday 28 August 2018
After breakfast (included) meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel with bags all packed at 8.15 am.
8.30 am. We start our tour with a short journey to the Ypres salient with visits to:
Messines Ridge – 3rd Australian Division attack, NZ Division attack.
Ploegsteert Visitor Centre (entry included)
Toronto Avenue Cemetery (The only all Australian cemetery in Belgium)
Hill 60 – Australian Tunnelling Company Memorial. 'Beneath Hill 60'
Menin Road & Polygon Wood – 5th (Australian) Division Memorial
Broodseinde NZ Div Memorial
Passchendaele Memorial Museum, Zonnebeke – entry included
Tyne Cot War Cemetery
Late afternoon/evening check in to our 3+* Ypres region hotel
Dinner at a local Ypres restaurant (included)
8.00 pm – This evening we experience the Menin Gate Ceremony. After the ceremony free to wander around this beautiful Flemish market town completely rebuilt after WW1.
Accommodation: 3+* Ypres area hotel
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3 – Wednesday 29 August 2018
After an early breakfast and checkout we depart in our coach to the battlefield of Fromelles: 19-20 July 1916 where we visit:
The 1916 Fromelles battlefield
VC Corner Australian Cemetery
Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery (Fromelles)
Visit to the new Fromelles WW1 Museum (entry included)
The breathtaking Vimy Ridge Canadian Memorial (*time permitting)
We then travel onwards to the Somme region, stopping for lunch enroute. (included)
In the afternoon we visit:
Le Hamel: Sir John Monash's 'set piece' battle
Mouquet ("Moo-Cow") Farm:
Pozieres – Windmill Memorial & Tank Memorial & 1st Division: Bloody Pozieres
We then travel to our hotel in Saint Quentin, near Perrone, our home for the next 3 nights. Tonight we will have a welcome dinner and discuss the next 2 days touring in this much underestimated and ignored region where the Australians finished their war on the Western Front.
Accommodation: 4 star hotel St Quentin
Meals: B L D
DAY 4 – Thursday 30 August 2018
After breakfast we leave our hotel and travel to Bullecourt to learn about the ill fated and tragic Australian battles here, where over 1000 Australians were taken prisoner - a very dark period in Australia's military history. Bullecourt is now regarded as a total and futile set of battles, ordered by the British High Command and with no strategic value whatsoever. It also was where Australians fought alongside tanks for the first time -with disastrous consequences.
We then move onto the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux and learn about this famous small town that is now the centrepiece of the Australian presence on the Western Front in WW1. This morning we will also have a chance to wander around the memorial and visit the NEW $A100M 'Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre' (SJM Interpretive Centre) – the newly completed 'Jewel in the Crown' of the Australian Remembrance Trail.
We will also visIt the newly refurbished Musee Franco-Australien (museum) and the famous "Lâ€ Ecole Victoria" (Victoria School). After our visit we then travel to nearby Amiens via Sir John Monash's beautiful Command HQ for the war - the beautiful Château de Bertangles. During World War I, the château was the Australian Forces Headquarters commanded by Australia's most famous General - Sir John Monash.
On August 12, 1918, Monash was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath at the chateau by King George V, the first time a British monarch had honoured a commander in such a way in 200 years. On the evening of Anzac Day April 24th 2016, The Governor General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove visited Bertangles to pay tribute to this amazing man and his men. It was here that Monash planned his defence of Amiens, his 92 minute battle masterpiece at Le Hamel and the tough tenacious fight that finally took Mont St Quentin - earning the Aussie lads 3 VCs. This a first - and NO other tour operator offers this amazing historic visit on their tours.
We then depart Château Bertangles for Amiens and late lunch (not included) and a free afternoon to wander this lovely city, famous as the city that the Australians saved in the second battle of Villers-Bretonneux where they stopped the German offensive dead in its tracks , thus saving Amiens and changing forever the course of the war in the Allies favour. Our coach will leave Amiens this afternoon at approx 4-5 pm to travel back to our hotel. Return to our hotel for a relaxed dinner in local restaurants. (not included)
Accommodation: 4 star hotel St Quentin
DAY 5 – Friday 31 August 2018:
Saint-Quentin / Aisne region
Today, after breakfast we are going to explore the Saint-Quentin / Aisne region, including the bitter battle of Mont St Quentin - and the taking of Perrone - by the Australian 2nd, 3rd & 5th Australian n Divisions. The overall result was that this famous battle saw three severely tired/weakened Australian Divisions defeating five German Divisions. The action saw eight VC's awarded with 20% of the Australians becoming casualties. The battle was a true infantry victory achieved without the use of tanks or creeping artillery barrage and is still today studied as a masterpiece of fluid infantry fighting. Sir John Monash and his men at their finest. British Commander General Lord Rawlinson remarked "that this feat by the Australian troops under Monash's command was the greatest of the war".
Losses: Australian 2nd Division 84 Officers, 1,286 others: Australian 3rd Division 43 Officers, 544 others: Australian 5th Division 44 Officers, 1,026 others: Germans 3,500 casualties and 2,600 prisoners
*Today we will also hold our own Remembrance Ceremony/Service at the Australian 2nd Div Memorial at Mont St Quentin, 100 years to the day - that this penultimate Australian battle rocked the Germans to the core - and in many ways also hastened the end of the war.
After lunch en route we will then move to the village of Montbrehain where the Australians fought their last battle of the war on 5 October, 1918, 37 days prior to the Armistice. This battle - even today - is still shrouded in controversy, many Australian WW1 historians still believing "it was just a battle devised by the British High Command - to keep the Australians busy" and had absolutely no strategic importance whatsover. After Mont St Quentin, it could be indeed considered not warranted, but again the by now exhausted Australians took a very heavily defended strongpoint - with terrible casualties as well.
After our visit here we will make our way back to Saint Quentin taking in some of the attractions in this very pretty part of France, so different now from 100 years ago. Tonight you will enjoy a farewell dinner for our group.
Accommodation: 4 star hotel St Quentin
Meals: B L D
DAY 6 – Saturday 01 September 2018:
After leisurely breakfast and checkout from our hotel we will drive back to Lille where our tour finishes. We also will stop for lunch in Arras (not included) where you can leave the tour, After lunch we will continue onto Lille where our tour finishes in the late afternoon.
* Please note all timings are approximate and that the itinerary is subject to change at all times due to reasons beyond our control. Also, we cannot guarantee the exact return arrival time back in Lille that afternoon, so we recommend that you do not make onward travel plans for that evening if returning to Lille.
(* Note: If required you can leave the tour at either Arras or Lille.)
• Highly experienced and knowledgeable Military Historian/ Battlefield Guide throughout
• Executive standard coach used throughout the tour with toilet and *WIFI (*where available)
• 1 nights' 4* Star accommodation in Lille
• 1 nights' 3+* Star accommodation in Ypres area
• 3 nights' accommodation 4* Hotel St Quentin
• Breakfast daily whilst on tour (5 Breakfasts)
• 3 lunches
• 3 dinners
• Museum entrance fees
• Ploegsteert visitor centre
• Passchendaele Museum, Zonnebeke
• Fromelles WW1 Museum
• Bullecourt War Museum
• Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre – Villers-Bretoneux Memorial
• Franco-Australian Museum (Memorial School), Villers-Bretonneux
• Visit to the beautiful Château de Bertangles: Sir John Monash HQ
• Special deluxe one-of-a-kind souvenir colour tour booklet
• High quality commemorative clothing: hat and backpack
• Rainproof Poncho/ travel blanket and commemorative name badges and lapel pin(s).
(Please note: the itinerary is subject to change at the total discretion of the guide or events before or during the tour that are - or could be beyond our control.)
COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE
Lunches, dinners, refreshments and beverages not detailed above
Tips, porterage and all personal extras
Transport/Trains to and from start and end point
Travel/Cancellation / Medical Insurance
Passport & related fees
Any optional excursion(s not specifically stated
Items of a personal nature
Please fill out the BOOKING FORM and send to us as soon as possible. Please also note the Terms and Conditions of booking for the tour in the Booking Form. A deposit of *€400 per person is required for us to confirm you on the tour. Our SECURE PAYMENT portal is HERE:
"N'oublions jamais l'Australie" (Let us never forget Australia)