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Whilst the Dawn Service at Gallipoli is famous the world over with both Australians and New Zealanders as the most revered of the overseas Anzac Day ceremonies, the ceremony at Villers-Bretonneux, first initiated in 1998 has rapidly gained ground as "the" ceremony to attend if you are in Europe or the UK. On 25 April 2020, it is the 102nd anniversary of the Second battle of Villers-Bretonneux.
Villers-Bretonneux is famous as the area where the Germans nearly broke through the Allied defences during the German spring offensive of 1918. The German High Command worked out that if they captured Amiens, then push quickly to the coast they would split the Allied Forces in two and win the war – or at least sue for peace on their terms. Their first major offensive had actually reached to within ten miles of Amiens, before being stopped in the first battle of Villers-Bretonneux.
Brigadier General Grogan VC,who saw the attack on Villers-Bretonneux, described the successful counter attack by night at short notice across unknown and difficult ground as "perhaps the greatest individual feat of the war". The Allied Supreme Commander, Marshal Foch, referred to the "altogether astonishing valiance" (valour) of the Australians.
Meet you guide at Gard De Nord coach Park (next door to Gard du Nord Railway station)
Coach departs location near Gare du Nord, Paris
Arrive at Villers Bretonneux Memorial
The Official Anzac Dawn Service - Australian National Memorial
Entrance to the site is via the promenade at the front of the memorial, and you will walk 300 metres uphill through the cemetery to the memorial site. The surface is grass and may be slippery if damp.
Temporary seating is installed at the site. Reserved seating is only available for official delegates and for visitors with limited mobility (please advise us if you have limited mobility as space is limited and must be requested in advance - we cannot guarantee seats). If seating is full, there will be standing room on the grassed areas to the side and rear of the seats.
Should you have relatives buried here please advise your guide so he can locate them or consult the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website at www.cwgc.org
Commemorative program to explore the Australian experience of WW1
After the Service: Please join other group members on the promenade area ready for pickup.
What about the weather?
The weather in the Somme region in April can be extremely cold (close to freezing). The Australian National Memorial site is exposed to the elements and is normally very cold before and after dawn. You should ensure you are appropriately equipped for cold, wet, and windy weather, and take appropriate clothing with you when you disembark from the coach. The ground surface of the National Memorial is grass, so warm socks and waterproof shoes should be worn.* Included in your Tour inclusions are a waterproof raincoat/poncho that also doubles as reflective heat blanket and a foldable travel blanket/pillow.
What should I take with me?
• You will receive in your tour inclusions a commemorative backpack as a small bag is quite useful
• Wet weather jacket
• Warm, layered, thermal clothing, jacket, hat or cap, gloves, scarf (*You also will recieve a thermal (*Thinsulate) wool beanie from us as part of your tour).
• Comfortable, sturdy walking shoes
• Lighter clothing for later during the day
• Drinking water and snack (water will be available from your coach driver for a small fee)
As detailed, there will be an excellent commemorative souvenir pack for everyone travelling on the tour including your ANZAC commemorative tour booklet.
What facilities are available during the Dawn Service?
• Temporary toilets, including disabled toilets, and hand washing facilities
• First Aid Services
• Rubbish bins
• Bottled Water
A packed lunch is included.
We then move onto the famous small town of Villers-Bretonneux, scene of the famous 2nd battle of Villers-Bretonneux on the 25th April 1918 where the Aussie counter attack on Anzac Day stopped the German advance on Amiens and changed the course of the war in the Allies favour.
We will then visit
2230 Approximate arrival time at Paris Gare du Nord station.
Please CONTACT US if you require more information regarding this tour to this moving and wonderful ceremony. Space is strictly limited on the tour and at the ceremony.
|Date||Sat. 25 April 2020|
|YOU PAY (EURO)||TBC|
• Services of an expert highly qualified Battlefield Guide & Historian for the duration of tour with specific knowledge on Australian battles in France & Belgium in WW1. The tour uses the same luxury coach throughout the tour with the services of two experienced coach drivers
• Full sit down breakfast
• Attendance at Anzac Day ceremony Villers-Bretonneux
• Commemorative high quality Anzac Day gifts:
High quality full colour souvenir book of the tour including Western Front Maps (Incl in book)
Tour does not include:
• Meals and snacks as not included as above
• Museum fees (if applicable) unless specified as above
• Items of a personal nature
Please Note: Hand Luggage only: We cannot take large suitcases on this day tour.
NO child rate applies & infants cannot be taken on this tour. Minimum age 12 years