Peter started 'Springs Military History' in 2014, which offers family military research and personalised battlefield tour itineraries. His knowledge of military history and his many years of research make him the ideal person to lead the 2020 Military History Battlefield tour.VIEW ITINERARY
DAY 1: Thursday 15 September 2022
Depart Australia Today we depart for London, UK.
DAY 2: Friday 16 September 2022 Cambridge, UK
On arrival we will transfer to our accommodation in Cambridge. Cambridge is a city on the River Cam in eastern England, home to the prestigious University of Cambridge, dating to 1209. The rest of the day is free for independent sightseeing. This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner.
DAY 3: Saturday 17 September 2022 Cambridge, UK
Duxford Air Show Today is the first of our two days at The Battle of Britain Airshow at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. During the Second World War Duxford played a prominent role during the Battle of Britain and was later used by United States Army Air Forces fighter units in support of the daylight bombing of Germany. We will get to witness all the aerial displays of vintage Second World War planes such as the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster right through to the modern jets of today.
DAY 4: Sunday 18 September 2022 Cambridge, UK
Duxford Air Show Today is our second day at the Air show. Peter will point out some of the highlights of the show. At the conclusion of the Air show we will travel to London for a three night stay.
DAY 5: Monday 19 September 2022 London, UK
In the morning we will enjoy a guided coach tour of London. See Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben and many other famous landmarks. In the afternoon visit the Churchill War Rooms built underneath the streets of London. This underground Head Quarters was where Winston Churchill and the Chiefs of Staff planned and directed the Second World War. This evening you may like to attend a West End Show.
DAY 6: Tuesday 20 September 2022 London, UK
This morning we head straight to HMS Belfast, one of the largest and most powerful cruisers ever built. Now moored on the Thames in London, HMS Belfast played a crucial role in protecting the Artic Convoys, Russia’s supply route throughout the war until 1944 when she supported the D-day landings. In the afternoon we will visit the Imperial War Museum, recognised as one of the great military museums in the world.
DAY 7: Wednesday 21 September 2022 Caen (Normandy),
Today we catch a morning service on the Eurostar train to Paris. On arrival in Paris we will board our coach and head towards Normandy. At the town of Vimoutiers we’ll stop to see a preserved German Tiger Tank just to the side of the road. As we head towards Caen we will travel through the town of Falaise. This was the site of a huge encirclement of the German army as they retreated from Normandy.
DAY 8: Thursday 22 September 2022 Caen (Normandy), France
British Sector of Normandy Today is the first of two days covering the Normandy landings. Operation Overlord launched on the 6th of June 1944 was the largest amphibious military operation in history. The British landed on 3 beaches code named Gold, Juno and Sword with Paratroopers landing to cover the Eastern flank of the operation. Our first site for the day will be Pegasus Bridge and the Airborne Museum at Benouville. Captured in the early hours, this vital bridge was the first objective taken on D-Day. After a visit to the Ranville War Cemetery where many of 6th Airborne troops are buried we will cover all 3 invasion beaches and see the remains of the pre-fabricated Mulberry Harbour off Gold beach. The British Cemetery in Bayeux will also be visited.
DAY 9: Friday 23 September 2022 Caen (Normandy), France
American Sector of Normandy Our second day covering the Normandy landings sees us in the American Sector. Our first stop will be the museum at Utah beach. From here we will see the area of the US paratrooper landings around Ste-Mere-Eglise and Ste-Marie-du-Mont. Thousands of Germans died fighting in Normandy and many of them are buried at La Cambe German Cemetery which we’ll stop at as we move around to Point-du-Hoc. See where the US Rangers scaled the cliffs to capture the German gun position. Dog Green sector of Omaha Beach was the worst sector of the beach, depicted in Saving Private Ryan. It’s here that we set foot on Omaha Beach. See the infantry man’s view of the beach and marvel how they made it across the open beach against the German Beach defences which are still visible. A fitting final stop for the day is the US Cemetery set atop of the bluffs overlooking Omaha Beach.
DAY 10: Saturday 24 September 2022 Cambrai, France
Travel to Cambrai Today we leave Normandy and head to Cambrai in Northern France. Along the way we will visit Dieppe. The Dieppe Raid was an Allied assault on the German-occupied port of Dieppe, France on 19 August 1942. Our accommodation in Cambrai will be our base for the next 4 nights.
DAY 11: Sunday 25 September 2022 Cambrai, France
Australia on the Western Front (Somme 1916) Today we switch our attention to the Battlefields of the First World War. On the 1st of July, 1916 the British attacked along the Somme River to break through the German lines. Our first stop will be the massive Lochnagar crater blown on the first day of the attack. The Australians were brought into the attack a few weeks later at Pozieres. The 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions were used and sustained 23,000 casualties over 6 weeks. We will spend some time in Pozieres, seeing the Pozieres British Cemetery, 1st Division Memorial, Gibraltar fortification, and the Windmill site. Also a walk along the front line of the initial attack. From here we pass Moquet Farm and head to Thiepval Memorial to the missing. From here it’s a short drive to Newfoundland Memorial Park at Beaumont Hamel. This section of the line was attacked by the Newfoundland regiment on the first day of the attack and were virtually wiped out. This area still bears the scars of war with shell holes and trench lines clearly visible. Our final stop will be at Flers where the Australians spent the horrible winter of 1916/17.
DAY 12: Monday 26 September 2022 Cambrai, France
Australia on the Western Front (Bullecourt) Early in 1917 the Australian pursued the German Army as they withdrew to the Hindenburg Line at the town of Bullecourt. The Australians attacked the frontline twice to the right of the town. The first was a disaster and in the second attack they were able to hold their positions. Both attacks brought high casualties. We will visit the Australian Memorial Park and Digger Statue situated between the two main German front lines. We will also visit the Canadian National Memorial and preserved Trenches of Vimy Ridge.
DAY 13: Tuesday 27 September 2022 Cambrai, France
Australia on the Western Front (Somme 1918) Villers-Bretonneux was a significant point for the Australian’s as this is where they stopped the German offensive heading for Amiens. We will visit the grave from which the Australian Unknown Soldier was exhumed and the school which bears the sign to ‘Never Forget Australia’. We will travel to the Australian National Memorial. On this site also a visit to the new Sir John Monash Centre. From here we will trace the advance of the Australian Corps from July 1918 at Le Hamel to Montbrehain in the October stopping at the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Division Memorials’ along the way.
DAY 14: Wednesday 28 September 2022 Ypres, Belgium
Australia on the Western Front (Fromelles and Messines) Today we head North towards Fromelles. The 5th Division attack on the German Trenches at Fromelles was Australia’s first major attack on the Western Front. Here we will visit VC Corner cemetery, the Australian Memorial Park and the new cemetery at Pheasant Wood. Those interred at Pheasant Wood are those from the recently discovered mass graves. Then we travel into Belgium with our first stop just outside Ploegstreet Wood. Just to the North of the wood was the site of the famed ‘Christmas Truce’ soccer match. Nearby is the town of Messines. In June 1917 Messines Ridge was captured by the Australian 3rd and 4th Divisions along with the NZ Division. Here we’ll see the NZ memorial and old German Pillboxes. Our accommodation for the next 2 nights will be in the iconic Western Front town of Ypres. This will allow us to attend the 8pm Last Post service at the Menin Gate.
DAY 15: Thursday 29 September 2022 Ypres, Belgium
Australia on the Western Front (Ypres Salient) The 3rd Battle of Ypres, better known as Passchendaele saw the BEF struggle in the mud to claw their way towards the Passchendaele Ridge. The Australians featured prominently, most notably along the Menin Road, at Broodsdiene and Polygon Wood. We’ll see the 5th Australian Division Memorial inside Polygon wood and Tyne Cot Cemetery, ground captured by the Australians and now the site of the largest Commonwealth War Cemetery in the World. Again at 8pm we will attend the Last Post ceremony held daily underneath the impressive Menin Gate, containing the names of 53,000 names of soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient but have no known grave. Other sites visited on this day will include Hill 60 and Hooge Crater.
DAY 16: Friday 30 September 2022 Arnhem, Netherlands
Operation Market Garden Leaving the World War One battlefield behind we head North into Holland. Gen Montgomery devised an audacious plan to ‘finish the war by Christmas’ by capturing the bridges of Holland allowing the Army drive into the top of the German industrial centres and cause German war production to collapse. The plan happened to be ‘A Bridge Too Far’. Today we will drive up the route (known as Hell’s Highway) taken by the Army to relieve the 3 Airborne Divisions dropped ahead of them to capture the bridges. We will visit the landing zones of the Airborne troops and stop at the major bridges along the way such as Son, Grave and Nijmegen. At Arnhem we’ll see the British Landing zones and head along the route they took to get to the bridge at Arnhem stopping at the Oosterbeek Cemetery. At Arnhem we’ll visit the Bridge and where the rescue of the last British troops took place.
DAY 17: Saturday 1 October 2022 Frankfurt, Germany
Target Germany: 617 Squadron Of all Bomber Command’s Squadrons used during the Second World War 617 Squadron is the most famous. This squadron was specially raised for the raid on the Dams of the Ruhr Valley. Today we will see 3 of the 4 Dams that were attacked that night. The first Dam we will see is the Sorpe and then we head to the Mohne Dam. This was the first of the two Dams destroyed by the ‘bouncing bomb’ in May 1943. On the way to the Mohne we pass through Arnsberg and see the bridge destroyed by the Grand Slam Bomb. Our last site of the tour will be the Eder Dam. Set amongst imposing hills, marvel at the skill of the pilots to get the aircraft down and onto the target and destroy the dam. Our accommodation is in Frankfurt. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate the end of our wonderful tour.
DAY 18: Sunday 2 October 2022 Departure
Time for last minute shopping and sightseeing. In the afternoon we drive to Frankfurt airport to catch our flight back to Australia
DAY 19: Monday 3 October 2022 Arrive in Australia
The tour concludes as we arrive back in Australia.
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Touring can involve a considerable amount of walking and stair climbing in the places visited and it is important that all tour participants have a level of physical fitness that allows them to take part in this tour without the need of assistance from others.
International touring can involve a considerable amount of walking and stair climbing in the places visited and it is important that all tour participants have a level of physical fitness that allows them to take part in this activity without the need of assistance from others.
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