In September 2018 my sister and I visited the Western Front and experienced a one day private tour on the Ypres Salient and also a one day private tour on the Somme.
As I go through my photographs of the 3 weeks we spent in Europe, it is these 2 days that I keep coming back to and would class as the highlight of the trip.
The information provided was first class, the effort to locate some of our ancestors who did not make it home was very much appreciated and the whole experience extremely moving.
I know that these 2 days will stay with me forever.
A huge thank you to Soren Hawkes and Peter Smith for providing such an incredible experience for us. I hope to one day bring my husband back to the Western Front and introduce him to you both and do it all again.
Thank you Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours.
Great Experience, very moving and very educational all at the same time.
Our Historian Jo Hook (little Jo) was a small bundle of brilliance, joy and overall a walking encyclopedia of knowledge not only about the events back then but exactly where things in the modern today are located in the developed areas of the WWI battlefields.
Thank you to our other first rate carers, Mark our tour guide and Andy our driver too
We absolutely loved our four day Western Front tour.
The tour brought history to life when we followed our Grandfather's WW1 war experience.
Future ANZAC and Remembrance Day services will forever take on a new found deep respect for the sacrifices our soldiers made for us.
The whole experience from the travel, accommodation and tour guide/manager was exceptional.
This tour was exceptional, as was our guide, Myriam Thompson.
The three of us felt really lucky to have what was, essentially, a private tour. Myriam's local knowledge, her grasp of the history of the places and the events that took place there, gave a whole new perspective on those heartbreaking battles. The whole tour was handled professionally, efficiently and with full attention to detail. Myriam's ability to empathise when things became overwhelming, was very much appreciated.
My wife and I have just walked in the footsteps of my Grandfather and our Great Uncles on the WW1 battlefields of the Western Front. This was an experience that will never be forgotten - an emotional pilgrimage to our Great Uncles grave sites.
The four day tour was so very well organised right down to the finest detail and although tiring at some stages it was fantastic and certainly exceeded our expectations. Being selected to lay a wreath on behalf of the tour at the Menin Gate Memorial was only exceeded by being invited to read the Exhortation during the Last Post Memorial - what a highlight and one that I will never forget.
The accommodation at Ieper (Albion Hotel) and Amiens (Mercure Amiens Cathedrale Hotel) were both first class and the 'get to know you' dinner on the first night was brilliant. The coach was very comfortable with plenty of room.
Our Historian and tour guide Peter Smith was nothing short of amazing, his experience, knowledge and wit made the tour. Even his suggestions on where and what to eat turned out to not only be a blessing but were correct. Nothing was to much, he went out of his way to respond to the wants and needs of all tour members. His effort to find out as much as possible on our behalf of a family member(s)was second to none. Martin our coach driver was a professional and got us around the countryside safely and without any fuss.
I can only recommend that you do a Mat McLachlan Battlefields Tour as soon as possible - ours was a brilliant and emotional tour that neither of us will forget.
My family and I undertook a private tour of the Ypres Salient with tour guide, Soren Hawkes. It was excellent.
Soren took us to all the places we had requested and included many nearby extra places of interest to my family and myself.Soren is very friendly and knowledgeable and has excellent driving skills, given how narrow some of the roads in the region are, when locating previously unknown signs and bunkers. He was also able to secure access to private property for us to have a close up experience to where my Grandfather was most likely wounded in 1917.
His choice of lunch facilities was also excellent where we met the very interesting host, Johan, who was the first to enter the old mines under the front since they had been abandoned almost 100 years ago, amongst other things. The food was tasty and is highly recommended./p>
All in all we had a fabulous day, made all the better by having Soren as our guide.
I'm writing to let you know how much I enjoyed the tour and how much it exceeded our expectations.
Our historian was an outstanding guide. His background, knowledge and interest were exceptional, but he also had the ability to present what was a complex series of events in a logical and meaningful way...a rare gift.
I now have a much clearer view of the pattern of events 1914 to 1918. The accommodation was excellent and arrangements impeccable. Please pass on my thanks to the historian and to all who made our visit so enjoyable.
We have just returned after 5 weeks in UK and France. The highlight of our time in France was your 3 day tour which was made incredibly special by our tour guide.
All of the hotels we stayed in, and their breakfasts, were excellent; especially in Ypres where it was very close to the Menin Gate. There were 6 people in the mini-bus with our historian. The van was comfortable and easy to get in and out from and our historian was an excellent and safe driver
The historian did their job extremely well and their knowledge of the WW1 campaigns and battles was extensive. All of our questions were answered. Our historians experience is evident in the logical way they planned each day’s tours.
Before leaving I had provided information about two members of my family who are buried in The Somme. I appreciated the research required for our historian to give me details about the circumstances of their Battalions and the type of conditions our forces endured on The Somme. Our historian located the two graves (in different cemeteries) and I left a commemorative cross at each one on behalf of our family. It was an emotional task for me. Our historian's familiarity with the area and the large number of cemeteries played a key part in making this possible.
I highly recommend and honour our historians dedicated work ethic. Thank you, and congratulations on employing such wonderful ambassador for your company. We enjoyed every minute of our tour!
Just want to make the comment that I recently did a Battlefields tour of Vietnam with Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours.
Our historian was a Vietnam Veteran. I found his history but more importantly his personal experience fighting in the battles with the enemy riveting and very compelling.
I have done other tours visiting war zones but unfortunately the veterans have passed on so I haven't been able to hear their stories and talk about their experiences. With our historian, it was so interesting listening to him talk about what it was like being in the battle of war.
I highly recommend a tour of the battlefields of Vietnam. You will not be disappointed.
Thank you Mat for arranging such a wonderful tour for us.
Our tour guide Jo Hook has so much information and delivered all her knowledge in a very respectful way to the fallen and took the time required when people found their relatives graves.
I would recommend this tour to any Australian who is interested in our countries history.
Mat we did the 4 day trip, i would have no qualms in extending that trip to a 5 or 6 day.
Thanks Jo again , and we hope that others come over and do this excellent trip.
Particularly impressed with our guide, Tim, whose knowledge of the various places was outstanding. We learnt so much and have been inspired to continue reading about the places we visited to ensure nothing is forgotten.
Will certain do another tour with Matt McLachlan should the opportunity arise.
On 6 July 2018, I had a private tour organised to follow-up on research of a great uncle killed in action on 26 Apr 1918 at Villers Bretonneux.
Family believed his body was not recovered. To my great delight the research from our guide reassured me that it was 99% given that he was buried about 1/2 klm at Crucifix Corner Cemetery.
I left memorabilia at an appropriate unnamed grave site marked "Unknown Soldier Of 5th Australian Infantry Force". As he was in the 5th Division this seemed appropriate.
The guide read a most heartfelt poem that really was "the icing on the cake".
The Western Front Private Tour was exceptional.
Our guide Pete Smith was an absolute encyclopaedia of knowledge as well as being great company over the three days.
The nature of the private tour was perfectly matched to our requirements, being relaxed, flexible and personal. We learned so much and were delighted to set foot on such totemic sites in Australia's military history and to take part in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres.
Erdem as guide, Roachie as our historian and Zafir as our fearless bus driver.
Stayed in the stunning çannakale, seen everything i wanted too and seriously i cannot think of a better experience in my entire life!
I would like to recommend highly the Western Front Battlefields Tour.
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. The whole experience was one I will remember.
The Tour Guide was very knowledgeable and approachable. The facilities were amazing.
Thank you for a wonderful experience.
I have been in complete awe of the service and experience from Mat McLachlan tours.
Not only was my family and I reassured about our safety from the moment we booked but we knew we were in safe hands the moment we started the tour.
As one of my first tours, I am beyond impressed!