We are pleased to announce the latest in our series of Great War centenary Battlefield Tours in partnership with Battle Honours Ltd following the Hertfordshire Regiment in their exploits on the Western Front.
Over the past three years we have followed the fortunes of the 'Herts Guards' with Battlefield Tours to the Ypres Salient, Bethune sector and most recently to the battlefields of the Somme. With professional specialist guides, personal visits, centenary related events and utilising our vast archive of unseen material, we feel that these tours have brought the memory of those men of the Hertfordshire Regiment back to life like never before.
We are delighted to announce our new tour for 2017, certainly the key year for those interested in the Hertfordshire Regiment and the county's military history, largely due to one place and day, 31st July 1917 and the small Belgian village of St Julien.
On that grey morning north of Ypres, the Hertfordshire Regiment advanced into a hail of machinegun and artillery fire and in little over 2 hours 75% of the men involved in the attack had becomne casualties, many never to return home. 31st July 1917 was quite simply the worst day in Hertfordshire's military history.
Exactly 100 years on to the minute the Herts at War tour will stand at the banks of the river Steenbeek outside St Julien where the Battalion began their advance. On that day we will unveil the first and only memorial to the 'Herts Guards' outside the UK, commemorating that most important of days - An opportunity not to be missed!
Herts at War 1917 Tour Itinerary
Day 1: 29th July 2017:
Leaving Hertfordshire early in the morning we make our way south to the port of Dover, collecting our guests en-route before crossing the channel and arriving in Calais to begin our tour.
Our first stop of the day will be at the site of 'Hill Top Sector' of trenches where the Herts found themselves on both sides of a series of bitter trench raids in January 1917 following their recent return from the fighting on the Somme. From here we visit the ever powerful Essex Farm cemetery, site of John McRae's famous Poem 'In Flanders Fields' and also the final resting place of Captain E B Smallwood of the Hertfordshire Regiment, killed nearby in January 1917. Onwards to our accommodation, a 3-star hotel in the nearby town of Dixsmuide.
Day 2: 30th July 2017:
After breakfast we head back out to the areas just behind the front lines where we pay our respects at the graves of men of the Regiment who fell in action in early 1917 and who today are buried in Vlamertinghe New British Cemetery and Brandhoek Military Cemetery with a special visit to the grave of Noel Chavasse VC & Bar MC, the most decorated soldier in British military history.
Moving towards the frontline, we next make a visit to the excellent Passchendaele Museum in the village of Zonnebeke, complete with huge collections or artefacts, underground dugout system and recreated trenches before heading into the famous city of Ypres for leisure time and lunch.
After lunch we travel to the southern side of the Ypres Salient to follow in the footsteps on the Hertfordshire Regiment as they were actively involved in holding the frontlines throughout 1917 before once more following the Battalion back to training and rest areas where preparations for the upcoming summer offensive.
We finish Day 2 with dinner and head to the nearby town of Dixsmuide for evening meal and time at Leisure.
Day 3: (31st July 2017)
Being in Belgium on 31st July 2017 offers an incredibly opportunity to be on the very spot that the Hertfordshire Regiment occupied 100 years to the very moment that they went forward into their most famous attack. Starting on the banks of the Steenbeek river at 10.10am with the official unveiling of the Hertfordshire Regiment Memorial, we embark on a full-day battlefield tour with the help of 6 expert battlefield guides, stationed at key points around the battlefield. Throughout the 31st July, our group will learn the true story of a battle which resulted in a staggering 75% casualties in around two hours. Here we will re-tell stories minute-by-minute as the action unfolded, visiting a local private museum along the way, complete with artefacts picked up from the very same battlefields.
Lunch today is taken on site with a barbecue in the evening with the local residents of St Julien. After a full day of commeoratives events and battlefield touring we return to Ypres for the incredible Last Post Ceremony at the world-famous Menin Gate.
Day 4: (1st August 2017)
After breakfast we leave our hotel and venture for the last time into the Ypres Salient where we visit New Irish Farm Cemetery, the final resting place of so many of the fallen Herts Guards with a final visit to the iconic Tyne cot cemetery before we pick the road westwards with a final stop at the camp to which the Hertfords retired following St Julien. Here the remnants of the Battalion were filmed in the field, the only known footage of the Battalion in existence.
Return to the UK Via Calais-Dover Ferry for an evening arrival in Hertfordshire.
Tour Dates: 29th July - 1st August 2017
Accommodation: Hotel De Vrede, Dixsmuide, Belgium
Price includes: Travel, Accommodation (Bed & Breakfast), Tolls, Museum entry, Guides
Cost: £540 per person (£90 Single Supplement)
Spaces on this tour are limited and very much in demand, to reserve your place please contact Battle Honours Ltd ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking HERE