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 25 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 and will be incorporated into the tour itinerary whilst these will be reflected as the group fills up a preliminary itinerary is planned as follows:
Day 1 – Friday 8 June 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 St Quentin or Peronne with a stop en-route at the Pozieres Memorial commemorating the men of Gough's Fifth Army who fell in the Spring of 1918. After checking in to our Hotel and a welcome drink Jack Sheldon will provide a lecture on the German Army on the Western Front in the Spring of 1918.
Day 2 – Saturday 9 June 2018:
Our day is spent visiting the Manchester Hill/St Quentin sector to study the defence by the 30th and 36th Divisions against a German bombardment of 3,500,000 shells over a 150 square mile area. By visiting isolated spots, forgotten memorials and remote cemeteries we uncover the forward and battle zones of the Fifth Army fiercely fought over in the first 24 hours of the battle 21 March 1918. We consider the issue of fog and whether it worked for or against the Germans during this critical day.
Day 3 – Sunday 10 June 2018:
Today we study the northern sector of the battlefield including the villages of Epehy and Flesquieres. We focus on Julian Byng's Third Army from their defence around Bullecourt and how the total breakdown of communications meant that many headquarters were cut off and unable to influence the battle. Despite these disadvantages we study ground where men, low on ammunition held on doggedly in the face of superior numbers enabling the line to bend and buckle but not break. We end our day with a visit to the D51 Deborah in her new home offering far reaching views over the 1918 battlefield.
Day 4 – Monday 11 June 2018:
Our final morning offers a comprehensive study of the Villers Bretonneux battlefield that brought the Spring offensive in Picardy to a close, the scene of bitter fighting involving British infantry, cavalry and armour, British and Australian played a vital role in defence against overwhelming German attacking forces. We then head back to Calais and our onward journey to the UK arriving at Ebbsfleet around 1600hrs