1918: The Hundred Days

1918: The Hundred Days

Advance to Victory!

Battlefield ToursHistory

27th - 30th September 2020
(4 Days)

Expert Historian : Dr Bruce Cherry

Tour price: £1,395

click here to book

1918: The Hundred Days

Advance to Victory!

Battlefield ToursHistory

Your Holiday Essentials

27th - 30th September 2020
(4 Days)

Return Eurostar from London, 3 and 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, picnic lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Expert Historian: Dr Bruce Cherry

Tour price: £1,395

Single supplement: £130
Deposit: £125
Price without flights: £1,295

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Introduction

This tour focuses on the final actions in France involving British and Commonwealth forces in 1918, a year that saw the balance of the war swing from an initial German success to an overall Allied victory. The peaceful countryside and farmland of the Western Front was unrecognisable 100 years ago, but today still bears scars that shed light on what happened there. Covering a major proportion of the front, we can see how technology, tactics and attitudes had developed since four years before, visiting preserved trenches, local museums and of course cemeteries. We’ll be introduced to each of the major events of the year, visiting iconic battlefields such as Villiers Bretonneux, the Saint Quentin Canal, Le Quesnoy, Mons and fittingly, the site of the November armistice signing at Compiegne. This tour will be of particular interest to those with Australian, New Zealand and Canadian interests, and of course those from the British Isles.

We stay at three of northern France’s loveliest towns: Amiens with its impressive gothic cathedral and narrow shopping streets; imperial Compiegne and Arras, the capital of Artois with its Flemish style architecture.

Background

1918 was a busy year on the Western Front. The first half of the year saw both British and French Armies on the back foot, close to collapse and reeling from what were to be the last German offensives before the entry of the USA into the war. The year finished for the British Army with what has been called ‘The Last Hundred Days’: the remarkable but costly breakout from Amiens; the breaking of the supposedly impregnable Hindenburg Line; and, with the final shots ringing out in Mons, 4 years of carnage coming to an end within a few hundred yards of where the first British shots had been fired.

Highlights

  • Guided by WW1 expert, author & historian Dr Bruce Cherry
  • Explore the Hundred Days Offensive
  • Visit the site of the November armistice signing at Compiegne

"Bruce Cherry is a very good tour guide, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Friendly co-tour members made for an excellent atmosphere"

Itinerary

Day 1 – Kaiserschlacht and the Lys

Depart London St Pancras by Eurostar to Lille. We will look at one particular battlefield in the Artois that fell in this German advance but was recaptured as part of the September 1918 operations known as the “Advance in Flanders”. Our route follows the chaotic Spring retreat of the 4th Army through Arras and the Somme to Amiens. Check in to our hotel in Amiens for one night.

Day 2 – The Hundred Days Offensive

Having successfully stopped the Germans outside Amiens, the great fight back started on July 4th with the astounding victory executed by man-of-the-hour Monash and his Australians at Le Hamel, with a little help from the newly arrived Americans. One month later the Germans were to face their ‘blackest day’ on August 8th with the start of The Battle of Amiens. This defining battle can claim to have seen the birth of modern warfare: artillery, infantry, tanks and the air force combining to force a German retreat. Actions explored through the pretty Somme Valley will include Villiers Bretoneaux, Cappy, Bray-Sur-Somme, Peronne and the Mont St Quentin. Continue to Compiegne where we check in to our hotel for the night.

Day 3 - The Hundred Days offensive continued

We start the day at the site of the Armistice signing in the heart of the forest of Compiegne. We return to the hard fighting of August and early September when the British and Dominion armies found themselves astride the reputedly impregnable Hindenburg Line. We follow that advance visiting the sites of Heudicourt (12 September 1918) and Epéhy (18 September 1918) before looking at the Battle of Canal du Nord (27 September - 1 October 1918) on the outskirts of Cambrai. A highlight is the bridge at Riqueval and the nearby canal tunnel entrance, location of one of the British Army’s finest feats of arms in the breaking of the Hindenburg Line during the Battle of the St. Quentin Canal. We spend time looking at preserved Hindenburg Line sites around Saint Quentin before driving to Arras where we spend our final night.

Day 4 – The Final Shots

On our final full day we cross the 1916 Somme battlefield to Bapaume, a town that tells a story of both the Spring retreat and the last desperate days of German defensive action. Heading towards Mons, and ironically following the original line of the 1914 retreat, we look at the Second Battle of the Sambre (4 November 1918), part of the final European Allied offensives of World War I, and the capture of Le Quesnoy by the New Zealanders. We’ll also visit Wilfred Owens gave at Ors. Finally, we arrive in Mons, where a plaque marks the final shot of the war, and we visit Saint-Symphorien CWGC where the graves of both the first and last British soldier to die present us with the final irony of this ‘war to end all wars’. Return to London by Eurostar.

Recommended Reading List

Dr Bruce Cherry

Dr Bruce Cherry

A former university lecturer with his PhD in military history, Bruce has been guiding on the Western Front since the late 1980s. Indeed for many years he operated a range of First and Second World War tours out of Lille. Amongst other titles, he is the author of ’They Didn't Want to Die Virgins; a study of Sex and Morale on the Western Front'. As an academic, his tours very much emphasise the learning aspect that is to be gained from battlefield touring.

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Your Holiday Essentials

27th - 30th September 2020
(4 Days)

Return Eurostar from London, 3 and 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, picnic lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Expert Historian: Dr Bruce Cherry

Tour price: £1,395

Single supplement: £130
Deposit: £125
Price without flights: £1,295

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Review

The 1918 centenary tour is the 2nd of our WW1 centenary tours and you can read our 1917 tour report by clicking here

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