News Update 014 December 2017: Le Hamel Centenary Tour July 2018
Registration for this event at Le Hamel is now in high demand. With an attendance cap of ONLY 2000 Australian visitors in total being able to attend this 2018 DVA Centenary ceremony at Le Hamel - it is very limited in numbers due to security constraints. The event has already reached 20% of the total capacity booked. Please DO NOT DELAY if you wish to attend this historic - "once in a lifetime" event.
If you wish to to attend this 'once in a lifetime' tour to the centenary of Le Hamel with us you MUST register NOW at DVA to attend the ceremony. No registration - No entry!
The new Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre Villers-Bretonneux: Opening Anzac Day 2018
(* Please note - we will visit this amazing new facility the day before the official Le Hamel DVA ceremony.)
(* Scroll down for 'Le Hamel in 90 Minutes" 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' "Le Hamel in 90 Minutes" 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 participating in the very moving and forever remembered DVA official Centenary ceremony event at the Le Hamel DVA memorial.
At a Glance...
Your guide: A certified SOR Historian/Battlefield Guide
Dates: Friday 29 June - Wednesday 04 July 2018
Duration: 5 Nights/6 Days
Starts: Lille (France) Finishes: Arras/Lille (France)
Tour Code: AUH186DLIL
Tour Cost: €1695.00 Per Person Share Twin/Double
Single Room Supplement: €680.00
** Note 1. 01 May 2017: Due to major increased security measures now announced for Australian Centenary Events this itinerary *could be* subject to some further small operational changes. Details will be announced in due course in 2018.
** 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 - Friday 29 June 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 – Saturday 30 June 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 – Sunday 01 July 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)
We then travel onwards to the Somme region, stopping for lunch enroute. (included)
In the afternoon we visit:
Mouquet ("Moo-Cow") Farm
Pozieres – Windmill Memorial & Tank Memorial & 1st Division
The breathtaking Vimy Ridge Canadian Memorial (*time permitting)
We then travel to our hotel near Bethune, the modern 3-4 star Best Western La Metarie, (or similar) our accommodation for the next 3 nights. (Trip Advisor Reviews) Set alongside the breathtaking 14th century Chateau La Chartruese in the same expansive grounds, you have 4 restaurants and bars to chose from in absolutely magical setting.
Welcome group dinner tonight is in the La Distillerie restaurant.
Accommodation: Best Western La Metarie (or similar) Trip Advisor Reviews)
Meals: B L D
DAY 4 – Monday 02 July 2018
After breakfast we then depart for Bullecourt to visit the battlefield, the "Digger" and "Slouch Hat" Memorials and *Bullecourt War Museum (*entry included.) After lunch (included) we move on to Mont St Quentin to learn about the bitter battle in 1918 to see the inspiring Australian Memorial and travel to the St Quentin Canal area to visit:
Sites of the American & Australian attacks on the St Quentin Canal line
The mouth of the St Quentin Canal tunnel
Le Quesnoy. NZ Division's final fight of WW1 (Time permitting)
Return to our hotel for relaxed dinner in the hotel. Remainder of night free.
Accommodation: * Best Western La Metarie (*or similar) (Trip Advisor Reviews)
Meals: B L
DAY 5 – Tuesday 03 July 2018
After breakfast we leave the hotel with our first stop 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). Depart Villers-Bretonneux for another historic 'FIRST' for today - *** a visit to the beautiful Château de Bertangles outside Amiens. (***Dependant on Tour numbers***) 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 Le Quesnoy - earning the Aussie lads 3 VCs. *This is an amazing and historic new addition to all our new 2018 tours.
We then depart Château Bertangles for a late lunch (not included) in nearby Amiens. You will also have a few hours to wander this beautiful small city, the centrepiece in the 1918 battle for Amiens. It also has considerable WW2 history here as well, with the daring low level Mosquito raid (Operation Jericho) to breakout the French resistance fighters imprisoned in a high security jail. Leave Amiens late afternoon and travel back to our hotel for the evening where will have our farewell group dinner at our hotel.
Accommodation: Best Western La Metarie (*or similar)
Meals: B, D
DAY 6 –Wednesday 04 July 2018: Le Hamel Official Centenary Ceremony
IMPORTANT: Please note that at the time of publishing this tour the Australian Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) have not yet advised us of the timing for the event on the day itself - i.e. if it will be a Dawn Service or at a later time in the day. This also affects the security procedure timings as all DVA events now work on a 'park and ride' transfer to the event from a designated secure area using DVA shuttle coaches. However, we are *anticipating* the ceremony to take place around midday.
*Draft* Itinerary: 4 July:
After breakfast and checkout of our hotel we will drive to the designated assembly area for the 'park and ride' transfer to the Le Hamel Memorial. We will also be providing a packed lunch and drink for today. Over 60,000 young Australians paid the ultimate price in WW1, with 12,000 of them never found and over 200,000 wounded and maimed young men also testament to this terrible conflict. Today we will remember them and the Battle of Le Hamel - a quite amazing testament to Sir John Monash and his men- and all who fell in this war - and all wars and conflicts - for which we enjoy the freedoms that we often take for granted today.
Today will truly be a day carved forever into history - and for you to say - I WAS THERE...
After the Ceremony (**Estimated timings only**)
Return to our tour coach and return to Arras. Free time here to explore this delightful small city, all but completely destroyed in WW1. (If required you can leave the tour here.)
1600 Return to Lille where our tour finishes
* 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 evening, so we recommend that you do not make onward travel plans for that evening until we have full details of the event from the DVA.
(* Note: If required you can leave the tour at either Arras or Lille.)
Meals: B L
• 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 3-4*: Best Western La Metarie (or similar)
• Breakfast daily whilst on tour (5 Breakfasts)
• 4 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
• Chateau Bertangles visit (Sir John Monash HQ WW1)
• 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)