Ypres, the Immortal Salient, possibly the most heavily fought-over patch of ground in Europe, scene of unimaginable carnage and conditions which stretched men and machines to the limit. The BEF arrived in Ypres in the autumn of 1914 and were to stay until the end of the war. Ypres, the last major town in Belgium still in allied hands, was to be held at all costs, regardless of military necessity or tactical advantage. Whilst there were four recognizable battles of Ypres ( some say five ), there was always some fighting going on some where, which flared up into especial intensity later to be called a battle.
As with all my tours, itineraries are not set in stone, but experience over the years has shown that there are sites in the Salient which every visitor needs to see.
Poperinghe, that famous little town behinds the lines, most famous as a center for Rest and Recuperation, and home to the famous Talbot House, "Everyman's House", founded in 1915 by the chaplain Tubby Clayton, and a colourful oasis in a monochrome world of mud and desolation. Also home to the notorious " A La Poupee ", one of the most famous houses of ill repute known to the British Army, and we hear the story of both, with a visit to the restored Talbot House and information center. Also visited will be an original death cell for those waiting to be executed for various offences including desertion. Never fails to stimulate heated debates.
Lijssenthoek CWGC, site of the former casualty clearing station known during the war as Remi Farm, third largest CWGC in Europe, final resting place of representatives of almost the entire Empire, including Indians, Chinese and West Indians, holders of the Victoria Cross, as well as those Shot at Dawn.
Sanctuary Wood, and Bayernwald, preserved British and German trenches and museum
Hooge Crater, museum and welcome rest stop for a well-earned cuppa !
Hill 60, site of unimaginable fighting, both on the surface, and more relevantly, beneath it as viewers of the recent film "Beneath Hill 60" will confirm.
Essex Farm, where Capt. John McCrea composed the iconic "In Flanders Fields" and final resting place of one of those thousands of patriotic underage soldiers, young Valentine Strudwick. Also evident are restored bunkers belonging to an advanced dressing station where McCrea plied his trade.
Langemark German cemetery, a brooding and solemn place bearing testimony to the thousands of German soldiers buried together, often in mass graves.
Vancouver Corner, memorial to 2,000 Canadian soldiers who perished during the first use of poison gas by the germans on 22nd - 24th April 1915 during the opening of what was to become the second battle of Ypres.
Passchendaele Museum, newly re-furbished and containing replica trenches and a british dugout as well as many artifacts from local digs.
Tyne Cot, largest CWGC in the world, sitting astride the Broodseinde Ridge and built at the direct behest of the King as a permanent memorial to the soldiers of the British Army and Empire who fell during the terrible battle of Passchendaele, part of the third battle of Ypres.
In Flanders Fields Museum, newly re-opened in the heart of Ypres town square.
Accomodation can vary from farmhouse B&B to 4* hotel according to the client's requirements - please discuss with me what you would prefer.
Prices are per person and start from, assuming two persons sharing:
Two Days £679
Three days £849
Four days £1,089
Single room supplements of £30 will apply. These are charges made by the hotel and beyond my control. For Daytrips please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01842 862014, or write to: Past Endeavours, 18, Pashford Close, Lakenheath, Suffolk IP27 9ED
" Lest We Forget "