The annual Yorkshire branch trip to France will take place between 25 and 30 September. It is intended to look at the Battlefields in the Flanders 'flat lands' around Neuve Chapelle and Loos. The trip will be run by Battlehonours Ltd and guided by Clive Harris. As with previous trips we will use an local company who always provide a luxurious 50-seater modern coach for transport. We will also be very much undertaking a 'walking' tour of the area.
The accommodation whilst in France will be based in Arras. Three nights in the Arras hotel plus two overnight ferry crossings give us the best part of four days on the battlefields. The cost of £725 per person is 'bed and breakfast' and based on two sharing a hotel room / ferry cabin (anyone wishing not to share will be able to request a single room, for a supplement). It also assumes that the party will reach a pre-determined minimum number of passengers.
The points for pick ups will be (1) Leeds (2) Strensall (York) (3) Hull Docks
The Initial / proposed itinerary is as follows:
Day 1 - Wednesday 25 September
Pick up from mid-afternoon to arrive at Hull for overnight crossing to Zeebrugge.
Day 2 - Thursday 26 September
Liaise with Clive on the battlefield atop the Lorette spur in order to set historical context for the week. We should also visit the Notre Dame de Lorette French cemetery and Ossuary, here the French casualties lie from the fierce Artois battles of 1915.
Day 3 - Friday 27 September
Walk 1 - Battle of Neuve Chapelle March 1915 - The first true British offensive of the Great War saw Indian Army and British Troops fighting side by side. We walk from Port Arthur and the Indian Corps Memorial via Neuve Chapelle Village and Cemetery to Bois de Biez. This little village has been rebuilt on the same layout as 1914 after it was destroyed as years of war raked back and forward across it. The Battle showed that the British could break into the German lines, but that holding them was another matter.
Walk 2 - Aubers. Co-operating with French 10th Army the British had agreed to attack north of Arras at Aubers ridge, which is little more than a rise. We walk the area of the southern arm of the Pincer attack at Aubers beginning at Rue de Berceaux cemetery. Through the gun lines we approach the British start lines and travel via the cinder track to Chocolate menier Corner and hear of the Northamptonshire Regiments’ forlorn assault where the battalion lost over 540 casualties. Visit to the Le Touret memorial.
Day 4 - Saturday 28 September
Walk 4 - “The Big Push” and the first British use of Gas at Loos. We start this walk on the Canal at Cuinchy, at the Northern end of the battlefield and hear of the Victoria Cross awarded to Captain Kilby on 25th September 1915. Passing through Woburn Abbey and Cuinchy CWGC’s we see the site of the infamous “Brickstacks” before stopping at the French 58th Division memorial for a view across the battlefields. Then we walk through 9th Scottish Division area towards Hohenzollern redoubt before ending at Quarry cemetery where the new headstone for the Queen Mothers Brother can be seen.
Walk 5 - Loos. From the Brigade headquarters at Le Rutoire farm we cross this flat plateau battlefield passing the “Lone Tree” and end at St Marys ADS Cemetery. We will see the slag heaps and pit heads, areas assaulted by 1st and 15th Divisions and hear how the 47th London Division penetrated the mining village of Loos. New Army troops were also thrown into later attacks and despite heavy casualties proved they were worthy soldiers. The day ends with a visit to Loos Memorial at Dud Corner.
Day 5 - Sunday 29 September
Following a morning study of the Hill 70 Battlefields and a visit to some local tunnels dating back to the Great War the group departs for Zeebrugge and an overnight crossing to Hull
Day 6 – Monday 30 September
Group arrives back in Hull and returns everyone to the pick-up points.