The Ypres Salient War Poets

The Ypres Salient War Poets

A Bitter Truth

Battlefield Tours

1st - 4th October 2020
(4 Days)

Expert Historian : Simon Jones

Tour price: £1,395

click here to book

The Ypres Salient War Poets

A Bitter Truth

Battlefield Tours

Your Holiday Essentials

1st - 4th October 2020
(4 Days)

Return Standard Premier Eurostar from London to Lille, 4 star hotel, buffet breakfast, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert historian throughout.

Expert Historian: Simon Jones

Tour price: £1,395

Single supplement: £145
Deposit: £125
Price without Eurostar: £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

To partner our 'Words, Music and Landscapes' War Poets tour, this new four-day tour combines history, literature and art to give an insight into the infamous Ypres battlefield. Through the words of more than twenty British and German writers, we experience the war from the trenches to the dressing stations, rest areas and cemeteries. At locations which directly relate to the works, often the exact spots, with accurate historical context, we gain a powerful understanding of both literature and history. Unforgettable moments will include walking 'Plug Street Wood', where Roland Leighton picked violets growing around a corpse which he sent to Vera Brittain, visiting the battlefield graves of poets such as Francis Ledwidge and Hedd Wynn, killed on the first day of the Passchendaele offensive, and looking across no man's land where Henry Williamson took part in the 1914 Christmas Truce. At Vladslo German Cemetery we will see Käthe Kollwitz's sculptures of grieving parents which kneel before graves including that of her own son.

Your expert historian, Simon Jones has taught literature and art of the Great War at Liverpool and Lancaster Universities and is uniquely qualified to explain the history and significance of the War Poets.

Background

Devastated by four years of shellfire and fighting, for the British the Ypres battlefield, guarding the Channel ports, was the key to the Western Front. The Germans held a natural amphitheatre of high ground, curved like the blade of a sickle with the handle formed by the Messines ridge to the south. This was the 'Salient' in which the British were surrounded on three sides, always observed and subjected to lethal shelling.

In an era when emotions were less publicly displayed, poetry was a means for soldiers to express and try to come to terms with experiences of grief, heartbreaking endurance and comradeship. Poetry also became a means whereby soldiers at the front tried to educate those at home about the realities of the war. 'I died in hell—(They called it Passchendaele)', says a soldier in Siegfried Sassoon's poem. Artists such as Paul Nash also saw this as their duty. Angered by the devastation of the Ypres Salient, he wanted his pictures to tell 'a bitter truth'.

Highlights

  • Powerful war literature and art in a historic Flanders landscape
  • Little-known cemeteries and sites and the famous Menin Gate, Tyne Cot Cemetery and Talbot House
  • See where The Wipers Times was printed in Ypres Ramparts
  • Women writers such as May Wedderburn Cannan and Katherine Mansfield

Itinerary

Day 1 – The German experience, Medics and Padres.

Depart London St Pancras by Eurostar to Lille. Drive to Vladslo German Cemetery, Käthe Kollwitz sculptures, works by Ernst Stadler, August Stramm, Gerrit Engelke and Erich Maria Remarque. Essex Farm Cemetery and Canal Bank, where John McCrae wrote 'In Flanders Fields', Zillebeke Lake and Railway Dugouts Cemetery, works by Studdert Kennedy, 'Tubby' Clayton, Robert Service, and artists Wyndham Lewis and Paul Nash.

Day 2 – The Salient and 'Third Ypres'

In the morning Hell Fire Corner, Menin Road, Sanctuary Wood trenches, works by Edmund Blunden, Herbert Asquith and The Wipers Times. After lunch, the Third Battle of Ypres: Pilckem Ridge, Artillery Wood Cemetery, graves of Hedd Wynn and Frances Ledwidge, works by David Jones, Blunden, John Collinson Hobson, Edmund Campion Vaughan and Ivor Gurney. Tyne Cot Cemetery where the poets J E Stewart, E F Wilkinson and W R Hamilton are commemorated. Evening Menin Gate Last Post Ceremony.

Day 3 – Behind the Lines

To Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery and chateau, the grave of Harold Parry and works by Robert Nichols and Blunden. Poperinge, the prison cells and Talbot House soldiers' hostel, Blunden, Vaughan, R H Mottram and Ford Madox Ford. After lunch, drive south to Ploegsteert Wood and walk to the cemeteries, works by Roland Leighton, Vera Brittain, Katherine Mansfield, Henry Williamson and Alfred Ollivant.

Day 4 – Walking Ypres Town

A day spent on foot. Rudyard Kipling and the War Graves Commission at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery including family inscriptions, Ypres Cathedral and Cloth Hall, William G Shakespeare, Blunden and Edith Wharton. Visit to In Flanders Fields Museum. Menin Gate, works by Charles Sorley, Robert Graves, E W Hornung, Anna Gordon Keown, C E A Philipps, J C Hobson, W S S Lyon, Siegfried Sassoon and Eric Haydon. Walk the Ramparts, The Wipers Times, Gilbert Frankau, Ramparts Cemetery, R W Sterling. Aftermath and loss, May Wedderburn Cannan, Margaret Sackville, Carola Oman and Marian Allen. Return to Lille for Eurostar.

Simon Jones

Simon Jones

Simon Jones MA, formerly curator at the Royal Engineers and King's Liverpool Regiment Museums, has guided at battlefields around the world since 1997. The author of books on tunnelling and gas warfare during the First World War, he has taught the First World War at Liverpool and Lancaster Universities and has Masters Degrees from Liverpool and Leicester Universities.

Photo Gallery

  • Edmund Campion Vaughan's bunker, St Julien
  • Paul Nash, The Menin Road
  • Ypres, the Cloth Hall and St Martin's Church
  • Shell holes, Sanctuary Wood

Your Holiday Essentials

1st - 4th October 2020
(4 Days)

Return Standard Premier Eurostar from London to Lille, 4 star hotel, buffet breakfast, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert historian throughout.

Expert Historian: Simon Jones

Tour price: £1,395

Single supplement: £145
Deposit: £125
Price without Eurostar: £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

Photo Gallery

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