Tours to the Western Front

Polygon Wood, Ypres

No tours can currently take place owing to the restrictions imposed upon international travel. The tour to Ypres planned for mid May has been cancelled. The only tour with firm dates will be to Arras from May 19-22 next year. Other tours will have to be rearranged when the travel situation becomes clearer.

The Black Watch at Ypres 1914

This memorial to the Black Watch commemorates the battle known as ‘Nonne Boschen’ (Nun’s Wood) on 11 November 1914. The Prussian Guard together with the 54th Reserve Division had been ordered to take Polygon Wood. The barrage began at 0630. At 0900 German troops advanced on a nine mile front in mist and rain. Across the line the attack faltered apart from a gap between the southern end of Polygon Wood and Nun’s Wood. A company of Royal Engineers with forty members of the Black Watch had just completed a strong point here. This was merely a trench inside a cottage garden with a few strands of barbed wire. When the Guards attacked the British troops opened up such an effective fire that the Germans broke formation. With the help of divisional artillery they were stopped and eventually beaten back. The action of the Black Watch in preventing any breakthrough has been remembered here with this fighting figure.

Arras- the catacombs

During the First World War the extensive catacombs underneath Arras were used by the military. They sheltered troops and provided a safe transit up to the forward areas. A field hospital was based here. Many surgeons operated on the wounded within these underground spaces. The catacombs offered protection from hostile artillery fire for both soldiers and civilians.

Trenches at Ypres

Sanctuary Wood- Ypres
  • These preserved trenches at the Sanctuary Wood Museum were the scene of bitter fighting. In October 1917, James Hadley a Sapper Officer wrote in his diary, ‘Of the terrible and horrible scenes I have seen in the war, Sanctuary Wood is the worst’.

Tours to the Western Front

Owing to Covid 19, tours to the Western Front have been moved to 2021. The first trip planned is to Ypres from Thursday 13 May to Sunday 17 May. Other tours will follow once the situation becomes clearer.