Reveille Battlefield Tours

Tours : Flanders

Four days, three nights

About this tour

Ypres and its environs provide the focus for this tour. Our visit includes excursions to Tyne Cot cemetery, Polygon and Sanctuary Wood, Messines Ridge, Hill 62, 'Plugstreet' and the Bayernwald - a recently excavated German trench system. We spend time at the 'In Flanders Fields' museum and attend the Menin Gate Last Post ceremony in Ypres.

More about touring Flanders

It was Winston Churchhill who wanted the devastated ruins of Ypres to remain a perpetual memorial to the Great War. Fortunately for us, he did not get his way, and this beautifully restored Flanders city will act as the lynch pin of our exploration of the Salient. It was a city that was never captured by the Germans, but was beleaguered for the duration of the war.

To the north and the north east of Ypres, we explore Passchendaele Ridge, including Tyne Cot cemetery - the largest allied cemetery in the world. Our visit to this area includes Polygon Wood and Engineers Wood, with its bloody memories, now a haven of peace.

To the east and south, we visit the Menin Road and the trench system at Sanctuary Wood, before heading for Hill 62, where we examine the strategic importance of the encircling gradients around Ypres.

To the south, we penetrate the mysteries of the Messines Ridge and its recently discovered German trench system. We visit the 'Pool of Peace' at Spanbroekmolen - a lasting reminder of the havoc wrought by 19 huge mines on June 7th, 1917. En route, we see where the young Hitler was billeted after being wounded.

To the west, we pay homage to Noel Chavasse, the only person to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice in the Great War. We experience the R&R centre for troops at Poperinghe. Our visit includes a tour of Talbot House - that inspired alternative to the estaminet - founded by Revd Tubby Clayton, the founder of Toc H. Here, we will reflect on the role that Talbot House played in the life of the many British Tommies who met their death in the environs of Ypres.

At Essex Farm, once a dressing station, we discover where a Canadian doctor, John McCrae, wrote the most famous poem of the war - 'In Flanders Fields'.

Finally, we take a look at the city itself. A visit to the landmark Cloth Hall Museum is a must, as is the 8.00pm Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, before which we shall dine in style in the main square.

In the evenings, over a leisurely glass or two, we shall review the Underground War in the tunnels of Flanders and examine how the events of Ypres were reported and evaluated down the decades.

The heroes, the futility, the stupidity and yet, the nobility of the war in Flanders Fields, make this four day Reveille tour of the Salient an unforgettable experience.

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Talbot House in Poperinge
Talbot House in Poperinge became a 'home from home' for hundreds of thousands of soldiers during the First World War.

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