Monash Advance to Victory Tour
On 31 May 1918, 5 Australian Divisions were brought under one command as the Australian Army Corps. Lieutenant General John Monash was the GOC and due to his early successful leadership, King George V knighted him at Bertangles on the Chateau steps. In effect, it was the Australian Army but with only 5 Divisions it was not considered a large enough formation to be given this title.
From the end of March until the beginning of October 1918, the AIF achieved its greatest victories south of the Somme River and ever Eastwood against the retreating Germans. It was here that Australian senior military leadership proved its qualities, while the diggers won their reputation as the best fighting troops of any army involved in the War.
We will follow that campaign as it advanced across the Somme to their final confrontation with the retreating Germans at Montbrehain. There we will conduct a Memorial Service at High Trees Cemetery to honour those who fought in that last action by the AIF on the Western Front. This special tour will each night discuss the area of the campaign that we will visit the next day and then we will visit the site next day to view the actual ground where the action took place.
A different tour that will not be at any of the 100 year Anniversary Services but will be following Monash as he made his way from Messines to the Somme and in doing so changed the tactics on the Western Front.
Price: 13 Days, 12 Nights $4,995 per person twin share, $950 single supplement (for those wanting a single room).
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Wednesday 26 September 2018 - PARIS: This is the day when we gather at our Paris hotel at Roissy en France near Charles de Gaulle Airport. The remainder of the day and evening is free to relax and take in the local village of Roissy, which was the village before CDG Airport was built. It is a quaint little village with much history.
Thursday 27 September 2018 PARIS to IEPER: Following breakfast in our hotel we board our coach and depart our hotel at 0900. On the way to the area of the Western Front Battlefields we will visit the Glade of the Armistice at Compiegne where the Armistice was signed ending the First World War.
We are heading for Ieper where we will start our tour in the steps of Monash as he commanded the 3rd Division in the successful Battle of Messines. We will attend the Menin Gate Service before dinner in our hotel or restaurant nearby. B/D
Friday 28 September 2018 - IEPER: The first of our days touring the Ieper Salient battles. Our first call will be to visit the Irish Peace Park where we can discuss the battle of Messines Ridge. Monash had made sure that his 3rd Division was thoroughly trained before it took part in its first major action. While in that area we will move on to visit Hill 60 and then Polygon Wood. The Tunnelling Companies at Hill 60 fought in dreadful conditions underground and the action at Polygon Wood resulted in a costly victory. Those actions should be remembered. We will return to Ieper for Dinner. B/Boxed Lunch/D
Saturday 29 September 2018 IEPER : Our last day in the Ieper Salient for tomorrow we head to the Somme. Dochy Farm is a good location to view from the starting line for the assault on Passchendaele before heading to Tyne Cot Cemetery which sits on the ground taken by the Australians. There are 11,000 graves in the cemetery including 2 Australian Victoria Cross winners. Following our visit we will travel along the Broodseinde Ridge where the 3rd Division fought. After lunch we will head back into Ieper for those wishing to visit the Cloth Hall Museum. Dinner will be in our hotel. B/Boxed Lunch/D
Sunday 30 September 2018 THE SOMME: Advance to Victory 1918. Heading south to the Somme where will be for the next 6 days we will stop at Fromelles where the 5th Division was decimated on 19 July 1916. This is one of the most heart-breaking sites on the Western Front. The new Pheasant Wood Cemetery and museum opened in 2010, and contains the remains of men discovered in a nearby mass grave in 2008-10, and subsequently identified by DNA analysis. Leaving Fromelles we will make our way towards Peronne but we will visit Bullecourt on the way. This was a major 1917 Battle and we will discuss the both battles or Bullecourt that cost so many casualties on both sides. B/Boxed Lunch/D
Monday 1 October 2018 to Friday 5 October 2018 THE SOMME: For five days we will work our way through the Australian battles that took them to Montbrehain and their relief, for on the 5th October the Australian Corps was taken out of the line to recoup and retrain before being called forward again. However, the Corps was not called forward as the Armistice was signed before they were needed. We will start this phase at Dernancourt where the German advance of March 1918 was halted and then follow the 1918 Campaign right through to Montbrehain.
The 3rd Division was still under Monash and held the area between the Aisne and the Somme Rivers and we will look at the defence of Sailly Laurette on 30 March 1918. As we work our way east each day we will discuss the battles at Villers-Bretonneaux, visit The Adelaide Cemetery, Museum above the School and the Australian National Memorial, Le Hamel, Proyart, Morcourt, Mont St Quentin and then the areas further east until we finish at Montbrehain on the 5th October. Each day we will take a boxed lunch with us so that we can spend the appropriate time at the sites discussing the action there. We will return to our hotel each evening for a deserved drink and dinner. B/Boxed Lunch/D
Saturday 6 October 2018 PARIS: Today we leave the battlefields and make our way to Paris where we will have time in this beautiful city following a ½ day escorted tour. After our tour we will settle into our hotel for tomorrow will be a free day in Paris. B/Boxed Lunch/D
Sunday 7 October 2018 - PARIS: This morning after breakfast our coach will take those wishing to spend the day in Paris and drop at a location accessible to many of the sites of the city. The coach will return to pick up and return to the hotel at a time to be advised on the day. B/D
Sunday 8 October 2018: This morning following breakfast, our tour concludes. B
Your Tour Leader Colonel Graham Fleeton RFD
Colonel Graham Fleeton RFD served 44 years with the Australian Army Reserve, and had a parallel career with the Sydney County Council then as a consultant. He has a degree in history, chairs the Army Museum of New South Wales Foundation and has hosted battlefield tours since 1999. Grahams military knowledge and familiarity with the sites you will visit is unsurpassed.