A Taste of Flanders and the Great War…
the Corner of a Foreign Field
(Two day tour of the Ypres Salient)
This is the ideal tour for those who have never visited the battlefields of the Western Front. So let Rifleman Tours whet your appetite with this hugely informative two day guided battlefield tour.
Flanders is a region in Belgium; the word Flanders means ‘flooded land’ and was originally a medieval state that contained parts of Belgium and Northern France. The main town in which fighting in Flanders took place was Ypres. In defending the town, a bulge was created in the opposing armies trench lines. This gave way to the term Salient.
The British troops held this region from October 1914 until the end of the war in 1918. In that time four major battles took place and over 250,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers died. To the British there is no more sacred a place than Ypres and this is reflected in the many memorials and 120 cemeteries in the region.
This tour is perfect for the first time battlefield pilgrim. We visit the main sites and memorials within the region and also attend the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate.
Day One: Depart by coach from your chosen UK collection point and proceed to Dover for our channel crossing by ferry. We begin our tour with a visit to Essex Farm Cemetery. This is probably the most visited cemetery on the Western Front for many reasons but mainly because it was here that Lt Col John McCrae (then a Capt), serving as a doctor in the Advance Dressing Station, wrote the immortal poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
As we wind our way into Ypres we stop at the Yorkshire Trench. This piece of trench system was uncovered during building work and now gives you an idea of the construction of a frontline fighting trench.
We then enter Ypres where you have free time to look around this beautiful town and sample the local food and beers in the many fine restaurants before visiting the Menin Gate for the Last Post Ceremony that takes place every evening at 8pm. After which we will board the coach for the five minute journey to our hotel for an evening at leisure.
Day Two: After breakfast we leave the hotel and resume our tour with a visit to Tyne Cot, the largest British War Cemetery in the world with 11,965 graves and around the boundary stands the Tyne Cot Memorial with the names of some 35,000 men of the British and New Zealand forces who have no known grave. We then move on to look at Third Ypres, Passchendaele and the Canadian Memorial at Crest Farm.
From here we visit Vancouver Corner and the Brooding Soldier Memorial to the 1st Canadian Division. This area was the scene of the first gas attacks in 1915 which culminated in the start of the Second Battle of Ypres.
Then we travel on to the German Cemetery at Langemark. It is in this area that the ‘Slaughter of the Innocents’ took place when young German conscripts, mainly students, walked into the expert rifle fire of the British Expeditionary Force at the First Battle of Ypres.
From here we travel to Ploegsteert (Plugstreet) where we see and discuss the Christmas Truce that took place here in 1914 before moving on to see the Ploegsteert Memorial. We then have a brief visit to Messines to see the local sights including the stunning Christmas Truce Sculpture.
After a packed lunch (included in your price), we then travel back through Flanders Fields to Calais and our return journey to the UK.
The Menin Gate, Ypres
ADS at Essex Farm Cemetery
“Everything was a lot more than I’d expected – including the emotion – and Tony’s knowledge and obvious interest in the subject was brilliant. I’ve been going to the Remembrance Day service at our local war memorial for several years but it will mean a lot more to me now – and I shall definitely not forget.”
“Well I was not sure about what to expect but I have to say it was worth every penny. The variety of stops on the 2 day tour along the way let us walk in the shadow of the many heroes who paid the price of many Nationalities . So I recommend the tour to anyone.”
“Thank you for a very impressive two days. Your organisation was superb and your attention to detail excellent.”
“Thank you so much for such a wonderful weekend. You enabled my brother and I to be the first family members to visit my Grandfather’s grave since his death in 1918. What a perfect way, you found the grave for us and recited the meaningful words before we laid our wreaths.”
For full testimonials click here
If you are looking for a longer visit to Ypres, please see the links below to see our other tours:
Ypres: The Immortal Salient – Three Day Battlefield Tour of Ypres (based in Ypres)
From the Ypres Salient to the Crucible of the Somme – Four Day Battlefield Tour of the Somme and Ypres (based in Ypres)
Beer and Battlefields of Flanders – Four Day Tour (based in Ypres)
Armistice Remembrance Day in Ypres – Four Day Tour