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Ypres Poppy Parade - Armistice Day
Note that there may be small differences between our general Itinerary for this break and a specific departure.
No one realised how long it would last or what the huge cost would be, but when the great powers of the world went to war in 1914, it changed our history forever. Over a hundred years on, we take some time out to remember all those who paid the price for the freedom we have today on our special armistice tour, which visits an area of Belgium that saw much heavy fighting. Join the Ypres Poppy Parade, which takes its inspiration from the timeless poem In Flanders Fields and concludes with a beautiful ceremony held at the Menin Gate; visit the Plugstreet Memorial to the Missing and venture into Plugstreet Wood to see the 14-18 Experience; and visit the Mons Memorial Museum, opened in April 2015. Mons is particularly symbolic for Britain as it was where our first and last soldier died, so we also visit the cemetery where they are laid to rest. With the help of our experienced tour manager, you are in good company whether you are in search of more information or quiet contemplation. Lest we forget.
Day 1: UK – France
Your holiday begins when you board our private coach for the journey to Dover. We then take the ferry to Calais and continue to our hotel in the Lille area of France.
Day 2: Ypres Poppy Parade
We set off early this morning to ensure we arrive in Ypres in time to join the poppy parade, which leaves from St George’s Memorial Church at 10.15 am to reach the Menin Gate for the 11 am special Last Post ceremony. If you don’t wish to follow the parade, you can join the other spectators along the parade route which covers a distance of around 800 metres and is closed off to traffic. Space under the Menin Gate is limited to invited guests, ceremony participants and wreath layers. However, a large projection screen is positioned on the market square so that everyone has the opportunity to watch and listen to the ceremony, which lasts around 45 minutes and includes prayers, hymns, a choir, wreath laying and a minute’s silence with the dropping of the poppy petals which everyone on the parade carries. After the ceremony you have some free time to reflect on the occasion and you may even like to see the Royal British Legion Flanders Fields of Poppies on the rampart next to Menin Gate. We then move on to Ploegsteert, named ‘Plugstreet’ by those who served there, and visit the Memorial to the Missing, Hyde Park Corner Cemetery and the 14-18 Experience, a pyramid-shaped museum which houses exhibits on the soldiers and civilians who lived and died in the area between 1914 and 1918, along with a special presentation on the Battle of Messines Ridge.
Day 3: Mons & St Symphorien
Today we visit the town of Mons, which symbolises the beginning and end of the first world war for Britain, as it was where our first soldier and last soldier died – Private John Parr on 21 August 1914 and Private George Ellison on 11 November 1918, 90 minutes before the armistice came into effect. The town remained occupied by the Germans until its liberation by the Canadian Corps in the final days of the war, and the entrance to the City Hall bears the inscription: Here was fired the last shot of the Great War. Entrance is included to the Mons Memorial Museum, which opened in April 2015 and invites visitors of all ages to question the multiple, complex realities of war. After some free time we then visit the St Symphorien Cemetery on the outskirts of Mons. This cemetery is hailed as one of the most striking cemeteries on the Western Front and is unique for having both British and German soldiers buried here, including Privates John Parr and George Ellison, and Private George Lawrence Price of Canada, known as the last Commonwealth soldier to die in the first world war, two minutes before the armistice. It was originally started by the Germans in August 1914, after the Battle of Mons, and today there are 229 Commonwealth graves and 284 German graves.
Day 4: Return Journey Home
We check out of our hotel after breakfast and set off on the return journey to the UK.
Included in the Price
- Private coach travel from your local area.
- Return ferry crossing from Dover to Calais
- Three nights bed and breakfast accommodation (continental)
- Visit to Ypres for the Poppy Parade
- Visit to Plugstreet Memorial & the Plugstreet 14-18 Experience
- Visit to Mons
- Entrance to Mons Memorial Museum
- Visit to St Symphorien Cemetery
- Services of a Tour Manager
Coach from the UK
THU 10 NOVEMBER 16
From £249.00 per person
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