Tailor Made Tours: Australian WW1 Battlefields: Western Front: France and Belgium
SPIRIT OF REMEMBRANCE: PREMIUM 'TAILOR MADE ' TOURS
We pride ourselves on creating the very best tailor-made WW1 battlefield tour itineraries that are on offer. Each tailor made itinerary is hand crafted to our clients EXACT specifications, meticulously researched and planned to deliver a superlative and never forgotten experience, particularly in the case of researching or visiting an ancestors or family relative's actual battleground or final resting place.
All of our tour components are at a minimum - first class with our accommodation and transport selection(s) and inclusions wherever possible based on a premium product level. ALL our tailor made tours include (at a minimum) one of our expert historian battlefield guides, with most guides drawn from the elite Guild of Battlefield Guides. Whilst we DO NOT use budget products for any of our our tailor made itineraries, our reputation and buying power along with our excellent relationships with our product suppliers guarantees that we obtain - and pass on - the very BEST prices for our customers.
Transport: Client own vehicles: Tailor Made Tours
We have had many requests for clients in the UK and EU to use their own vehicles instead of using our own vehicles. We are more than happy to arrange a tailor made itinerary and accompanying specialist battlefield guide to travel in clients own vehicles for any tailor made tours as long as the vehicles are suitable for the purpose. Please contact us to discuss this option.
Transport: Small Luxury Vehicles: Luxury Coaches: Luxury Limousines: Helicopter
Many of our tailor made itineraries are for small parties of 4/6 people or less plus guide. Depending on your budget and your proposed itinerary we will quote on transport options that are the most suitable for your tour based on the level of transport that suits you and your itinerary/tour duration.
Accommodation: Boutique: Quality: Premium: Luxury: Chateaux: Canal Boats and Barges:
We are continually researching and refining our list of great accommodation choices for our clients, from small luxury (sometimes quirky!) boutique hotels to amazing palatial country chateaux, amazing luxury *canal boats and barges (*a wonderful and very popular choice!) to the very best 5 star luxury hotels in Europe - the choice is endless.
We generally - as a rule - do not dictate where our clients should eat, however we have more than our fair share of recommendations especially for the battlefield regions of France and Belgium for the best kept secret restaurants and fine dining (and not so fine!) spots which we are of course delighted to share with our clients!
Highlights: Australian WW1 Battleground locations that we generally include:
Villers Bretonneux (Australian WW1 Memorial: France)
Villers Bretonneux is home to the Australian WW1 National Memorial, located at one of the most famous Australian battles in WW1 and generally considered to be the turning point for the Allied victory for WW1. This moving memorial lists 10,773 names of soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force with no known grave who were killed between 1916 and the end of WW1.
Like the Gallipoli memorial and service in Turkey, it is now the principal memorial for the Australian Anzac Day ceremony in Europe attended by many thousands every year.
*Spirit of Remembrance is a major world-wide battlefield tour operator for day tours from Paris and London (and extended 3 day tours) to the annual Anzac Day service at the Australian WW1 War Memorial at Villers Bretonneux in France - an extraordinarily moving and never to be forgotten Anzac Day service.
In November 1993 an unknown Australian soldier killed in the First World War was exhumed from Adelaide Cemetery near Villers-Bretonneux and is now buried in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra as Australia's unknown soldier.
Le Hamel Memorial Park
The Australian Corps Memorial Park is situated on the brow of a hill east of Le Hamel village to the south of the River Somme. The memorial park commemorates over 100,000 Australians who served with the Australian Corps in France during the First World War. The Australian Corps was formed in 1917 and comprised of five Australian Divisions which saw service in Belgium and France from 1916-1918.
'Darkness came down, and with the fading light the enemy shell–fire died away … From the bank we moved forward by sunken roadways to the railway line at Dernacourt. The men we relieved were the 9th [Battalion] Royal Scots and the King's Own Scottish Borderers. They asked, 'Who are you?' We told them, 'Forty–eighth Australians'. 'Thank God', they said. 'You will hold him' (Charles Bean, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918)
One of the most dreadful and costly battles of WW1 for Australia, in a war that simply had no words left to describe the horrors of trench warfare and the horrific artillery bombardments. The German shelling of Pozières far surpassed the worst shelling previously endured by an Australian division and the 1st Division suffered 5,285 casualties on this, its first tour of Pozières. When the survivors were relieved one observer said: "They looked like men who had been in Hell... drawn and haggard and so dazed that they appeared to be walking in a dream and their eyes looked glassy and starey."
Bullecourt was the first Australian attack on the Hindenburg Line in April 1917 and part of the wider Battle of Arras and marked one of the first instances of the use of tanks in the war. Only three British tanks eventually made it to the battle which was an unmitigated disaster with no artillery support provided. The losses of the 4th Brigade on 11 April 1917 were the heaviest ever suffered in any one action by an Australian brigade: 2,339 casualties out of 3,000 men engaged. The 12th Brigade losses were 950. For more than a year afterwards few Australian soldiers had any faith in tanks.
Fromelles: VC Corner cemetery & 'Cobbers' Memorial
Fromelles was a combined operation between British troops and the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and the first occasion that the AIF saw action on the Western Front. It was a bloodbath for the Australians and a total disaster due to British High Command failures. After a night and a day of fighting, 1,500 British and 5,533 Australian soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. The Australian War Memorial describes the battle as "the worst 24 hours in Australia's entire history" with the battle responsible for one of the greatest losses of Australian lives in one 24-hour period, surpassed only by later World War I actions like the Battle of Bullecourt. The Australian losses and conduct of the British high command also severely compromised relations between the AIF and the British for the remainder of the war.
Part of the third battle of Ypres this was another famous well planned battle under the British General Plummer whom the Australians had enormous respect for, but at a heavy cost. The 4th Australian Division suffered 1,717 casualties with the 5th Australian Division suffering 5,471 dead and wounded.
Tyne Cot is the largest British and Commonwealth war cemetery in the world with 11,953 headstones of men killed or who died of wounds defending the Ypres between 1914 and 1918. Set in the middle of the wall is a circular apse displays the panels of the New Zealand Memorial to the missing and of those commemorated here with 663 men (57 percent) killed within sight of the cemetery on 12 October 1917 in the worst ever day in New Zealand's history, the horrific battle of Passchendaele. There are 1,369 Australian graves here with 791 of them unidentified. Tyne Cot has the (dubious) distinction of being the war cemetery with the most Australian burials in the world.
The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is one of the worlds most famous and inspiring war memorials in the world. Located in the ancient market town of Ypres, Belgium it is dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown. Every evening at 8pm since its unveiling in 1928 (except for WW2) the road through the gate is closed and a special memorial ceremony and the playing of the 'Last Post' is conducted which is attended by people from all over the world.