Death Railway: the history and the journey

Inquire Booking

Why the name the 'Byng Boys'? General The Honourable Sir Julian Byng's Third Army formations were popularly nicknamed 'the Byng Boys' (or 'Byng's Boys') because of the large numbers of young boy soldier conscripts in its ranks. Byng was loved and trusted by his troops, who soon began to call themselves the "Byng Boys.  They were also known as 'The Byng Boys' from a popular wartime London 'revue', 'The Bing Boys'. Whatever. They were magnificent. They were - "Byngs Boys". 

Our tour pays tribute to their sacrifice and bravery and takes you to the key battlegrounds of WW1 including Ypres, Vimy Ridge and the official ceremony of the Centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on 9 April, 2017. Come with Spirit of Remembrance to France and Belgium and walk over land that through courage and sacrifice has forever become part of Canada. 

Additional Information

Canadian forces
Year :
Start Location :
Lille, France
Tour operated by :
Inquire Booking

DAY 1: Thursday 06 April 2017

Early this morning you will meet your specialist battlefield guide at Lille Europe Station. After loading your baggage onto the tour vehicle we will travel to Ypres, Belgium. You will then have free time to make optional visits to St. George's Memorial Church, 'In Flanders Fields Museum' or have an opportunity for shopping in this quaint medieval town. Lunch is included today in Ypres.  In the afternoon we will visit the following:

Essex Farm. Dressing station where in 1915 a Canadian surgeon, John McCrae, wrote the famous poem "In Flanders Fields" and the story of the Poppy was born.
PPCLI Memorial – commemorating a gallant stand by the Patricia's in May 1915.
Vancouver Corner – where Canadians held the line during the first German gas attack April 1915.

At around 4.00pm we will then travel to the Watou area and and enjoy a great tour (and some world class Belgian beers) at the famous St Bernardus Brewery before we check into our hotel nearby for our overnight stay. Group dinner (included) tonight at the lovely Hommelhof restuarant nearby.

Accommodation: Ypres area: Watou: Hotel Callecanes
Meals:                  L D 

DAY TWO: Friday 7 April 2017
After early breakfast (included) at our hotel we depart for the Ypres Salient.

We will visit:

• Mount Sorrel – The 1916 British Front Line south-east of Ypres was situated on this high ground of the Ypres ridge at Zillebeke and the double summits of Hill 61 and Hill 62. Three divisions of the Canadian Corps were involved in the defence here when the German Army made an attack on 2nd June 1916.
Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) Canadian Memorial.
3rd Battle of Ypres – July to November 1917
Passchendaele Memorial Museum (admission included)
Tyne Cot Cemetery – the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. Act of Remembrance.
• Crest Farm Canadian Memorial 

Travel via Passchendaele New Cemetery viewpoint and hear how the Canadian Corps took Passchendaele in Oct/Nov 1917 after all else had failed. We will then return to Ypres with the rest of the afternoon at leisure. We then have an early dinner (included) tonight at around 5.00pm in a favourite Ypres restaurant. At 7pm we will assemble at the Menin Gate for the famous 'Last Post Ceremony' which takes place at 8pm. After the Last Post Ceremony we will return to our hotel.

Accommodation: Ypres area: Watou: Hotel Callecanes
Meals:                  L D

DAY THREE: Saturday 8 April 2017

After a leisurely breakfast this morning (included) we check out of our hotel and travel to the lovely city of Arras, nearly shelled into oblivion in WW1. We will visit:

• Notre Dame de Lorrette French Cemetery and International Ring of Remembrance view Vimy and Loos battlefields • Cabaret Rouge Cemetery Canadian Unknown Warrior

 Once we arrive in Arras you are free for the reminder of the day to visit your relatives graves in the immediate area (most of the Canadian casualties from the battle of Vimy Ridge and other battles in the area are buried in the Arras - Amiens area) or wander around this lovely city and enjoy its memorials,  great shopping and lovely restaurants. You will then meet up with your coach at 6pm in the Arras city square (unless you have made other arrangements with your guide) and we depart for our hotel for the next three nights. After check-in at our hotel , freshen up and time for a leisurely cocktail before our group dinner (included) where you will be briefed on the following days special commemoration ceremony and events of the day.

Accommodation: La Maison Rouge: Noeux-Les-Mines (* TripAdvisor Reviews) 
Meals:                 B D

DAY FOUR: Sunday 9 April 2017 ** Vimy Ridge Day - Centenary Ceremony ** 
Today is the most special of days, 9 April 2017: the 100 year commemoration ceremony of the Battle of Vimy Ridge: 9-12 April 1917. After an early breakfast (Included) we travel to the Vimy Memorial. Today is 'a once in a lifetime' opportunity to say - 'I. was. there'.. The  centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge - where Canada's right to nationhood was forever forged in a roaring crescendo of blood, mud and steel. "They fought as Canadians and those who returned - brought back with them a pride of nationhood that they had never known before." We will also visit the Wellington Quarries. (The official schedule for the day is not yet known and will not be released until later this year at which stage we will advise tour participants accordingly).  (We will also carry a packed lunch and juice/water (included) with us today to eat at our leisure.)

After the days events we will travel back to our hotel to get ready for tonight's Gala Vimy Dinner (included) which will be held in the Arras area, where at dinner we will toast - and remember all those brave Canadian men and women of all wars, who gave us all what we take for granted today.  Freedom.

Accommodation: La Maison Rouge: Noeux-Les-Mines
Meals:                 B L D

DAY FIVE:  Monday 10 April 2017
After breakfast (included) in our hotel and collecting a packed picnic lunch we will depart at around 9am for our visit to the Battle of the Somme 1916. The Battle of the Somme raged for over four months and resulted in over a million casualties to Allied and German troops. The Canadians, originally in the Ypres sector, missed the first months of the fighting, but had moved to the Somme by early September. On 15 September, in a carefully prepared infantry attack, the Canadians captured the ruined village of Courcelette. Despite thousands of casualties, it was a victory, one of the few for Allied forces on the Somme. Further attacks through September and October were just as costly, but less successful. Operations against Desire Trench and Regina Trench, to the north of Courcelette, were grinding affairs where soldiers attacked and counterattacked repeatedly over the same ground, and always under heavy enemy fire. In late October, the three battered divisions of the Canadian Corps limped off the Somme having suffered 20,000 casualties. 

We will visit the following today:

• Beaumont Hamel - Newfoundland Memorial Park. Here, the 1st Newfoundland Regiment, attached to a British division, was cut down on 1 July 1916 by German machine-gun fire as it attacked over open ground. Within 30 minutes the regiment suffered horrific casualties with 324 killed and 386 wounded out of a total of 801 soldiers that attacked.
• Domart Bridge – A Canadian engineering story.
• Hangard Wood & War Cemetery – the story of three VCs
• Beaucort Wood – another VC
• The defence of Hallu by the Winnipeg Grenadiers & the Calgary Battalion.

**We will have a picnic lunch (included) in the Albert area.

• Adanac Military Cemetery*, (* 'Canada' spelt backwards!) Miraumont. Act of Remembrance.
• Mouquet Farm area – 3rd Canadian Division. Where the Canadians finished off the costly Aussie action from the terrible Battle of Pozieres, where over 23,00 Australians  were killed and wounded in 6 weeks. 
• The story of Pte John Kerr VC, 49th Battalion.
• Courcelette – 2nd Canadian Division. The first use of tanks.

** If we have time today we will also visit the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux (16 klm from Amiens), scene of the famous 2nd battle of Villers-Bretonneux, fought on Anzac Day 25 April 1918, where the Australians fought and won one of the most significant actions in WW1, suffering over 1100 killed and thousands wounded in the one action. ** 

We then return to our hotel with the remainder of the evening and dinner (not included) at leisure. We will have shuttle transport available to take you into nearby Arras if needed. Cost will be at own expense. 
Accommodation: La Maison Rouge: Noeux-Les-Mines
Meals:                  B L

DAY SIX: Tuesday 11 April 2017
After an early breakfast (included) in our hotel and checking out we depart to the Mons area via theHindenburg Line 1918. After the victory at Amiens, Allied commanders agreed on a multi-army offensive along the Western Front against German forces that, for the first time in the war, appeared vulnerable. The ensuing campaign, known as the Hundred Days (August - November 1918), ended in the defeat of German forces in the West. After almost a month of planning and preparation, the Canadian Corps attacked across the Canal du Nord in a high-risk operation on 27 September. Behind a complicated fire plan and the work of engineers, the Corps crossed the canal and pushed through the enemy defences, eventually capturing strong points like Bourlon Wood and Cambrai on 9 October. We will visit:

• Canal du Nord
• Bourlon Wood Canadian Memorial
• Cantimpre Canadian Cemetery

The German Army Retreats - The Arras and Canal du Nord battles cost over 30,000 Canadian casualties but helped break the German army's final defensive positions. After Canadian and other Allied troops crossed the Canal du Nord, the German forces were in full retreat. The end of the war was near. In the final month of the war, Allied forces pushed ahead on all fronts. 

The Canadians, having lost more than 40,000 killed and wounded since August, closed in on Mons, a city of huge symbolic value. From here, British troops had staged an epic fighting retreat in the early days of the war, delaying the Germans in their advance towards Paris but suffering heavily in the process. Now, the Canadians had a chance to capture Mons on the last day of the war... which is exactly what they did. Today we will have lunch in the Grand Place Mons (own expense). This is where the Canadian Corps Commander, Lt Gen Sir Arthur Currie, took the salute on 11th November 1918.

After lunch we will visit:

• St Symphorien Cemetery – Buried here is the last Canadian soldier to die in combat in the First World War. He was Private George Price of the 28th Battalion, killed by a German sniper northeast of Mons only a few minutes before the Armistice. The war ended at 11am on 11 November 1918.
• The Last Shot memorial

We will leave here late this afternoon to drive to Lille and plan to arrive at Lille Europe station around 7-730 pm where the tour finishes. .
Accommodation: None
Meals:                  B


Tour Name Vimy 100 Day Tour: Ex Paris 
Tour Code  CA171DVPAR
Date 09 April 2017
Your Guide Simon Hopkin
CAD (approx) $500.00
EUR €360.00

* Luxury air conditioned/heated coach travel with onboard toilets and *Wifi (*when available)
* Services of a highly experienced expert Canadian * WW1 Battlefield Guide/Historian throughout the tour.
* Meals: 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners & 1 Gala Dinner 
* All museum entrance fees, excursions and sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary 
* 5 nights' 3 and 4-star accommodation including hotel porterage 
* Extensive touring of the WWI battlefields
* High quality full colour comprehensive Vimy 100 souvenir book with detailed WW1 Battlefield Maps 
* High quality souvenir VIMY 100 Clothing (Thinsulate Beanie or T-Shirt)
* Luggage tags
* Quality Spirit of Remembrance backpack 


  1. Lille
  2. Ypres
  3. Watou
  4. Zillebeke
  5. Zonnebeke
  6. Arras
  7. Nœux-les-Mines
  8. Vimy
  9. Courcelette
  10. Beaumont-Hamel
  11. Mons
  12. Lille