Our group will attend the intimate Anzac Day Dawn Service at Polygon Wood, before exploring the key Australian battlefields of the Ypres Salient. This evening we will attend a very special Anzac Day Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate.
The Ypres Salient was a bulge in the front line that curved around Ypres for most of the war. More than a million men were killed or wounded trying to gain control of this small patch of ground. Today we will explore the Australian battlefields in the Salient, places where the Anzacs made history in 1917. Our first stop will be the Passchendaele Museum, a provocative collection of relics and displays that chronicles the fighting in Flanders. We will then visit the 5th Australian Division Memorial at Polygon Wood, where we will see the graves of Private Hunter and Sergeant Calder, the two Australian soldiers who featured in Mat McLachlan’s documentary ‘Lost in Flanders’. Lunch is included at a local cafe. We then get a taste of the devastation caused by four years of continuous artillery fire at the cratered landscape of Hill 60, before visiting Tyne Cot, the world’s largest Commonwealth war cemetery. Tyne Cot sits in the heart of one of the most horrific battlefields of the war – Passchendaele. Our final stop today is at the German Cemetery at Langemark, where we will learn about the men on the other side of the line. As we drive back to our hotel, we will see the magnificent Canadian memorial at Langemark, marking the spot where poison gas was first used in the war. This evening we will visit the Menin Gate where the names of 54,000 missing British and Commonwealth soldiers are recorded, for the moving Last Post ceremony. The Ypres fire brigade has performed this bugle ceremony every day and in all-weather since the memorial opened in 1927. The only interruption was during the four years of German occupation during the Second World War – the ceremony recommenced on the day the town was liberated. Two passengers will be invited to lay a wreath on behalf of our group. (B, L)
STAR INCLUSIONS ★ Anzac Day Dawn Service at Polygon Wood ★ Passchendaele Museum ★ Hill 60
★ Tyne Cot Cemetery ★ Langemarck Cemetery ★ Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate