King’s Alumni will be heading to the Battlefields of Belgium and Northern France on 14 -18 July 2019 where we will focus on learning about the history of Old King’s Scholars who fought in the First World War. The trip includes visits to various battlefields and the cemeteries of Arras, the Somme, Ypres and several museums. Our Headmaster George Hartley and his wife Merewyn will join us on the trip, along with our Head of the Faculty of Languages and Humanities, Seb Neal.
Seb has taught history at King’s for 27 years and has carried out extensive research into the stories of Old King’s Scholars who went to fight for their country in the First World War. He will be our specialist guide for the duration of the trip.
Cost: £559.00 per person.
*Price based on 40 people travelling
*Please note that the itinerary is subject to change. If you have any family links or stories you would like us to incorporate into the tour, please let us know in good time. We will try and accommodate most requests, however, we may not be able to cover them all.
WW1 Battlefields Tour: Ypres, Somme & Loos, Arras & Vimy
Day 1 – Chester to Ypres: We depart Chester early in the morning and have selected pick-ups en-route at Birmingham NEC, South Mimms and Stop 24 in Folkestone before taking the ferry to Calais. On arrival in France we proceed to Ypres and check into the Novotel Hotel (or similar) in central Ypres.
Day 2 – Ypres: Today we look at the Battlefields in Flanders where during four years of fighting more than 250,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers were killed. We begin at Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial, the largest British war cemetery in the world. We then visit Vancouver Corner Canadian Memorial, where poison gas was first used, and then see the German Cemetery at Langemarck. We have lunch at Hooge Crater Café and also see their superb private museum and reconstructed trench system. In the afternoon we see the battlefield and mine craters at Hill 60, and then travel down the Messines Ridge to see the Visitor’s Centre in Messines, the New Zealand Memorial Park and end at Ploegsteert or ‘Plugstreet’ to see the battlefield cemeteries and Ploegsteert Memorial. In the evening the group could lay a wreath as part of the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate.
Day 3 – Somme: We depart for the Somme Battlefields today, where men of Kitchener’s Army went into battle in 1916. We start at the Historial Museum at Peronne, one of the most important WW1 Museums in Europe. Here we set the scene before we drive out to the Somme battlefields. We then see the Lochnagar Mine Crater at La Boisselle, and have our lunchtime at the Ulster Tower Memorial. In the afternoon we see the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, the Visitor’s Centre and new Somme Museum, before visiting the preserved WW1 Battlefield at the Newfoundland Park. From here we return to Ypres.
Day 4 – Loos, Arras & Vimy: We depart for Loos Battlefield and look at the story of Jack Kipling, son of Rudyard Kipling, seeing his grave. We also visit the Loos Memorial and Dud Corner Cemetery and the excellent Lens 14-18 Museum which explains the story of the fighting in this region. From here we have free time in Arras for lunch, and then in the afternoon visit the Wellington Quarries where we safely go underground to visit a system of chalk quarries used as shelters by British troops. We end the day at Vimy Ridge seeing the preserved trenches, and impressive Canadian Memorial on Hill 145. Returning to Ypres, the group has an evening meal in a local restaurant in Ypres.
Day 5 – Ypres to Chester: We depart late morning for Calais, and take a lunchtime ferry to Dover. On the return we make drop-offs at Stop 24, South Mimms, Birmingham NEC and arriving back in Chester late evening.