SOmme Battlefield Tours
the australians in the somme
After the disaster of Gallipoli (1915) the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) was reorganized and expanded from two to five infantry divisions, which were progressively transferred to France (Marseilles), beginning of March 1916. At that time in France, the war on the Western Front had long been settled in a stalemate, with the opposing armies facing each other which extended for more than 700 km across Belgium and north-east France from the English Channel to the Swiss border. Soon after the arrival of the first Aussies in France, they were sent to the battlefields in the area of Armentieres and Messines Ridge. The first big battle was in Fromelles on 19th July 1916.
Australians suffered 5,533 casualties in 24 hours. By the end of the year 42,270 Australians had been killed or wounded at the Battle of the Somme and other places on the Western Front. In 1917, Australians where involved in other battles at Bullecourt, Messines Ridge (the first victory in the Ypres Salient) and in the four-month long campaign around Ypres, known as the Battle of Passchendaele. Eventually, thanks to the initiative of the Australian General Monash, who combined infantry, artillery, tanks and aircraft far more efficiently, Australians were able to capture Hamel Spur on 4 July 1918. The Allied offensive began on 8 August at Amiens. It contributed to Australian success at Mont St Quentin and Peronne, and permitted the capture of the Hindenburg Line. In early October the Australian divisions withdrew from the Front to rest. They were preparing to resume fighting when Germany surrendered on 11 November.
We have tours every day except on sunday. Some from Amiens (1 day tours), others from Lille (2 / 3 & 4 day tours). All are small group tours (8 passengers) and guided in English by very knowledgeable local guides.
During the tour, your guide will lead you to the most relevant World War One battlefield sites. In the Somme,you will stop at Thiepval, Pozieres, Villers Bretonneux. Upon request, your guide can also take you to specific sites such as a small cemetery where a relative is buried or to the battlefield where he fought and was wounded or received an award.
why do I need a guide?
Travelling in the area is very confusing and sites are not always easy to find. Driving on your own, you will be struggling - on the wrong side of the road - looking for signposts or places to park the car. We offer the most personal and time-efficient way to visit the Ypres and Somme Great War Battlefields. Just sit back, relax and enjoy being driven and guided to the places you want to visit.