Friday 28th July - Tuesday 1st August 2017
A mid morning crossing brings us to Ypres around lunchtime. We will spend the remainder of the day touring the "Salient" to enable customers to familiarise themselves with the geography and most importantly, the topography. It will include the British front line prior to battle, Passchendaele Ridge and the German Flandern One Line, the Gheluvelt Plateau and the Messines Ridge.
Today we concentrate our visits on the opening day of the battle; 31st July 1917, walking from the Izer Canal, across Pilkem Ridge in the footsteps of the 39th Division, to their final objective line, the Langemark-Zonnebeke road, and their subsequent positions following the German counter-attack. Later, we will cross to the right flank of Gough's attack and follow the advance of 2nd Corps divisions, tasked with capturing the important Gheluvelt Plateau.
By the 16th August 1917, piecemeal, attritional offensives had returned. Together with the appauling wet weather, Gough's Fifth Army advance had lost momentum. Haig, frustrated with Gough's inability to capture the Gheluvelt Plateau extended Plumer's Second Army frontage, reducing the roll of Gough's Fifth Army. Today we will look at Plumer's four "bite & hold" battles: Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodsiende Ridge and Poecapelle. We will complete the day with a visit to Zonnebeke Chateau Museum.
Today coincides with the 100th anniversary of the opening day of the Third Battle of Ypres and as such Ypres and the surrounding communes, battlefield sites and memorials will see significant commemorative events. Our itineray for the day awaits the publication of these events. Undoubtedly, there will be a special Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. We await developments!
We complete the tour with a visit to the Passchendaele Ridge and the closing stages of Third Ypres from the First Battle of Passchendaele on the 26th October until the final advance of the Canadian Corps on the 10th November. Visits include the village and church of Passchendaele, Crest Farm Canadian Memorial and Tyne-Cot Cemetery and Visitor Centre.
We depart Victoria Coach Station at 7.00am and return on our last day at 7.00pm. Accommodation throughout the tour will be in Ypres.