ON THE WESTERN FRONT
SAMPL ITINERA E RY
The Real Birdsong Tunnellers on the Western Front 1915–1918 WW1 Some of you may have had your interest piqued by the descriptions of tunnelling in Sebastian Faulks’ book ‘Birdsong’ or the recent television drama of the same name. Maybe you have heard about the buried tunnels that are still found on the Western Front today. Join us on this tour and see where it really happened...and why. Underground warfare was not a First World War innovation but it was waged on both sides with a ferocity every bit as intense as the war above ground. This tour takes you to the places where that underground war was fought and explains how it developed from 1915 to 1918. We will tell you stories of the Tunnellers and their sacrifices and show you the remains of their endeavours. This was not ‘Birdsong’ – this was real and infinitely worse.
Sample itinerary for personal & group tours
Available year round
£POA per person
DAY ONE: EN ROUTE TO ARRAS
DAY TWO: MINING NORTH OF ARRAS
Meet at London Victoria. Depart London for Dover and the P&O Ferry crossing to Calais. Lunch on the ferry at own expense. Once across the Channel we will travel to our base in Arras, stopping en route to look across at the remains of the Hohenzollern Redoubt on the 1915 Loos Battlefield, where some of the early tunnelling took place. Hear how mining techniques developed in 1915 and into early 1916. Arriving in Arras, we will book into our hotel and then the evening will be at leisure. Dinner provided in hotel.
Breakfast in hotel. Depart hotel with packed lunch provided. We first drive north to Givenchy-les-laBassée to view the memorial to the Tunnelling Companies of the First World War. Hear the story of Sapper William Hackett, the only Tunneller to be awarded the Victoria Cross – a tragic, dramatic tale of extraordinary bravery. We will see the site of the Red Dragon Crater where nearly two thirds of B Company, 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers was wiped out. We then drive to Vimy Ridge and visit the Grange Tunnels used by the Canadians for their successful attack in 1917 on the hitherto impregnable Vimy Ridge. After free time and lunch in Arras, we will visit the Wellington Quarry
Accommodation: Arras Meals: D
underground museum, created in a section of tunnels dug by the British Army in 1914-18. These First World War tunnels concealed thousands of soldiers before their surprise attack in April 1917. They connect with original tunnels and quarries dating back to the middle ages and Roman times underneath the city of Arras. Finally, we will pay a visit to the Arras Memorial and CWGC Cemetery, before returning to our hotel. Dinner in hotel included. Accommodation: Arras Meals: B L D More itinerary on the following page