Western Front Private Tour - New Zealand
- Price: per person, twin share
- Single Supplement: $1340
- Deposit: 30%
The perfect introduction to New Zealand’s involvement in the WW1 battlefields of the Western Front.
Western Front Private Tour - New Zealand
Walk in the footsteps of New Zealand soldiers who fought and died on the Western Front during your private tour. Arras, where the tour starts, is only a one-hour train ride north of Paris, and a great place to be based to explore the NZ battlefields. We will visit key sites associated with Kiwi courage and sacrifice in the Ypres Salient, French Flanders and the Somme, escorted by an expert historian. We can arrange for your tour on any day that suits your travel plans.
Your tour begins in Arras. You will be met by your guide, at Arras Station or in the lobby of your Arras hotel at approximately 9:00am. You will start the day with a visit to the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery. On the east side of the cemetery is the Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial, commemorating more than 1,200 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the Battles of the Somme in 1916, and whose graves are not known. Your next stop will be the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial, located nearby in Longueval. En-route back to Arras, you will stop at the Grevillers British Cemetery, where 2106 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War are buried or commemorated. Within the cemetery stands the Grevillers New Zealand Memorial which commemorates almost 450 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the defensive fighting in the area from March to August 1918, and in the Advance to Victory between 8 August and 11 November 1918, and who have no known grave. Your final stop for the day is the Wellington Tunnels, a network of caves dug into the soft chalk soil by New Zealand tunnellers to link the quarries together and get closer to the German positions. Gathered within this secret base on the morning of 09 April 1917, over 20,000 soldiers from all over the world emerged from the underground just a few metres from German positions. Your evening is at leisure to explore the lovely town of Arras.
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Caterpillar Valley Cemetery & Memorial ★ New Zealand Battlefield Memorial ★ Grevillers New Zealand Memorial ★ Wellington Tunnels
Today you will depart Arras and travel East to the town of Le Quesnoy, which was captured by New Zealand troops in the closing stages of the war. The 18th century Vauban fortifications protecting the town allowed the Germans stationed there to hold out against the Allies. However, the meticulousness of the New Zealand artillery disrupted the organisation of the German defence. The Kiwi soldiers managed to set up a ladder on the south side of the town and enter through a floodgate, completely surprising the Germans who, after much fighting, surrendered the town in the evening of 04 November 1918. The Armistice was signed a week later. Your next stop will be the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery in the region of Armentieres. The cemetery was begun in October 1914 and during the winter of 1914-15 it was used for civilian burials, as the town cemetery at Le Bizet was too exposed. The cemetery continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units (particularly the 4th, 6th, 21st, New Zealand, 17th and 57th (West Lancashire) Divisions and the Australian Corps) until April 1918. Within the cemetery stands the Cite Bonjean New Zealand Memorial, commemorating 47 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the neighbourhood of Armentieres and have no known grave. Leaving France, you will cross over the Belgian border to the village of Messines, which was captures by New Zealanders during a brilliant attack in June 1917. Here you will visit the New Zealand Memorial & Memorial to the Missing, Visitors Centre & Statue, Church & VC Plaque. You will then travel to Ypres, a charming town that between 1914 and 1918 was completely destroyed by shellfire and came to symbolise the horror of the First World War. This evening you will walk to the Menin Gate, where the names of 54,000 missing British and Commonwealth soldiers are recorded, for the moving Last Post ceremony. The Ypres fire brigade has performed this bugle ceremony every day and in all-weather since the memorial opened in 1927. The only interruption was the four years of German occupation during the Second World War, the ceremony recommenced on the day the town was liberated.
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Le Quesnoy ★ Cite Bonjean New Zealand Memorial, Armienteres ★ Messines ★ Last Post Ceremony, Menin Gate
Today you will visit various destinations on the Ypres Salient, places where the Anzacs/New Zealanders made history in 1917. The Ypres Salient was a bulge in the front line that curved around Ypres for most of the war. More than a million men were killed or wounded trying to gain control of this small patch of ground. You will start with a visit to the Buttes New British Cemetery and New Zealand Memorial to the Missing at Polygon Wood which records the names of those from New Zealand ‘who fell in the Polygon Wood Sector September 1917 to May 1918 and whose graves are only known to God’. You will then visit Tyne Cot, the world’s largest Commonwealth war cemetery. Afterwards, you will visit ’s Graventafel, a memorial that commemorates the New Zealand Division’s participation in the Battle of Broodseinde on 04 October 1917. This attack by Anzac forces successfully pushed forward the allied trench line in the early part of the Passchendaele offensive but was followed by the inadequately prepared attack of 12 October 1917. Your final stop for the day will be the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917. This museum combines the interactive design of a modern museum with the exceptional aspect of experiencing Dugouts & Trenches. Late this afternoon your guide will drive you back across the border to the city of Lille, where you will be dropped off at your chosen hotel or the train station at approximately 5:00pm.
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Polygon Wood ★ New Zealand Memorial to the Missing ★ Tyne Cot Cemetery ★ Graventafel Memorial ★ Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917
Your Tour Includes
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Please note: Itineraries are subject to change due to operational reasons. In addition, your Historian may alter the sites visited on each day to suit local conditions. Any changes will be advised closer to the time of departure.