Liberation of Le Quesnoy - tour #2

Liberation of Le Quesnoy - tour #2

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During WWI, the Australian Imperial Force & the New Zealand Expeditionary Force joined to become the ANZACS. Roughly 517,000 young men, mostly volunteers enlisted in the Corps – a huge contribution from a combined population of fewer than 6 million inhabitants. With courage and a sense of adventure they departed our shores to fight in strange and unknown lands.

With The Journey of Remembrance series, The Innovative Travel Company invites you to bring the past to life and explore the moving battlegrounds of the Western Front.

Hosted by a war specialist, this tour retraces history and offers a special opportunity to attend the 100th anniversary commemorations of the liberation of Le Quesnoy by NZ troops. In a strategic assault, the Kiwis freed this town-fortress in hand-to-hand combat. A hundred years after, the locals remember the great bravery of those who came from the Uttermost Ends of the Earth to liberate the area from occupation.

Once a land of devastation and mud, today, the Western Front is green again and dotted with sites of remembrance. This is your opportunity to honour those who went before us and those who never returned.

Day 1: Paris (D)

Independent arrival & check in.

Welcome dinner & overnight in Paris.

Day 2: Paris (B D)

Paris military experience – visit L’Arc de Triomphe, Musee de l’Armee and the Pantheon.

Time at leisure for lunch to discover French delicacies at L’Epicerie de Paris. In the evening explore the lively district of Saint-Michel and dine in a typical restaurant.

Overnight in Paris.

Day 3: Paris - Compiegne - Amiens - The Somme - Arras (B D)

This morning visit the Armistice Museum at Compiegne and discover the emblematic wagon where the agreement ending fighting on the Western Front was signed. The Armistice went into effect at 11am Paris time on 11 November 1918 – “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” The signing of the second Armistice, ending WWII, also took place in the same carriage at Compiegne.

Continue to the historic town of Amiens. Visit the XIIIth century gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral, a UNESCO world heritage site. The cathedral has survived the Great War and is now a place of remembrance. Inside, commemorative plaques pay tribute to soldiers who came from all over the world to fight in The Somme, including Australians & New Zealanders and six Allied flags hang in the Sacre-Coeur Chapel.

Time at leisure for lunch before continuing through The Somme, visiting Albert and the New Zealand Memorial to The Missing at Caterpillar Valley cemetery, Longueval.

Continue to Arras for dinner & overnight.

The Somme (15 September 1916)

The Somme Offensive was the first action undertaken by the New Zealand Division on the Western Front. On 15 September 1916 the New Zealand Division saw action at Morval and Thiepval Ridge. This action is also known as the Battle of Longueval. New Zealand suffered over 8,000 casualties and 2,000 deaths during the Somme Offensive.

Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, near Longueval

On the 6th November 2004, the remains of an unidentified New Zealand soldier were removed from this cemetery and entrusted to New Zealand at a ceremony held at the Longueval Memorial, France. The remains had been exhumed by staff of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission from Plot 14, Row A, Grave 27 and were later laid to rest within the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, at the National War Memorial, Wellington, New Zealand.

On the east side of the cemetery is the Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial to the missing, commemorating more than 1,200 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the Battles of the Somme in 1916, and whose graves are not known.

Day 4: Breakthrough the Hindenburg Line: Grevillers - Bapaume - Le Quesnoy - Arras (B D)

This morning travel in the footsteps of the New Zealand Division in its last advance on the Western Front – breaking through the Hindenburg Line. Pass local towns & villages that were liberated by Kiwis in August 1918 including Heburterne, Puisieux, Bancourt and Fremicourt. Visit the New Zealand Memorial at Grevillers and continue to Bapaume.

Time at leisure for lunch in Bapaume.

This afternoon, visit Cambrai Memorial, commemorating the first successful tank battle of the war (1917). Continue to Le Quesnoy following the route of the New Zealand Divison via Crevecour, Solesmes and Beaudignies. Locals have not forgotten those who came ‘From the Uttermost Ends of the Earth’ to liberate the area from years of occupation; to preserve the memory of the fallen many streets, public areas & monuments have been named after New Zealanders. Explore the cobbled streets of the town-fortress of Le Quesnoy before returning to Arras for dinner & overnight.

Le Quesnoy (4 November 1918)

The New Zealand Division’s last major action of the war was the capture of the French town of Le Quesnoy which had been occupied by German forces from August 1914. The New Zealanders scaled the ancient walls with ladders and took the German garrison prisoners. The town’s liberation was achieved without loss of civilian life or destruction of the ancient fortifications. The liberation of Le Quesnoy represents one of the high points of the war and the town’s residents have maintained close links with, and a high regard for New Zealand ever since.

Day 5: Wellington Quarry - Vimy Ridge - Arras (B)

This morning explore the historic centre of Arras and visit the town's famous bell tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to Carriere Wellington – The Wellington Quarry Museum which allows visitors to discover original sections of the large underground system of tunnels built by New Zealand Tunnellers in preparation for the Battle of Arras.

Time at leisure for lunch before departing to Vimy Ridge. The Canadian Memorial at Vimy is one of the most impressive monuments on the Western Front. Near the memorial, explore a preserved network of trenches before returning to Arras for overnight.

Arras (9 April 1917)

In November 1916, the New Zealand Tunnelling Company was sent to the French city of Arras to extend the city’s existing tunnel system. Prior to the Battle of Arras, the company dug underneath German lines where mines were laid for detonation and during the subsequent successful Allied assault, the Germans were forced to recede by more than 10 kilometres. Following the battle, the Company was entrusted with various tasks in the rebuild of the city of Arras. To navigate their way, tunnellers had named the various routes of the network after New Zealand cities. In memory of their heroic effort, the tunnels were named Wellington Quarry, which is now open to the public for visits. In April 2007, a memorial was also unveiled in Arras in remembrance of the 41 members of the company that died during their time there.

Day 6: Le Quesnoy - Ieper (B L)

Today is dedicated to the 100th Anniversary Commemorations of the Liberation of Le Quesnoy. Attend the official military services and commemorative events as organised by the Government of New Zealand and its partners, in association with local representative bodies & associations.

Travel to Ieper for overnight.

Day 7: Salient of Ypres: Messines & Passchendaele - Ieper (B D)

This morning visit the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 and its Memorial Garden, where a special section is dedicated to New Zealanders in The Great War.

Later, explore the unique Zonnebeke Church Dugouts. The underground complex is one of the best preserved dugouts in the region because the Allies built the dugout beneath the foundations of the former Zonnebeke church. The structure consists of a main gallery of nearly 29 meters long, side corridors, five rooms and two access stairs and is about 5 meters underground. Visitors will be able to walk through the entire main gallery.

Time at leisure for lunch in Ieper.

Time to reflect at Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the world and the German Friedhof at Langemark. Also known as the ‘Student Cemetery,’ Langemark is a poignant reminder of the heavy casualties suffered on both sides of the war.

Continue to the village of Messines – a WWI strategic point, captured by Kiwis in one of the most successful offensives of the war following the simultaneous detonation of 19 mines. Visit St.-Nicholas Church with its Peace Carillon formed of bells donated from all over the world, including New Zealand. See the Statue of The New Zealand Soldier and the New Zealand Memorial & Park commemorating the soldiers of the New Zealand Division that fought in the Battle of Messines Ridge and honouring the bond existing between New Zealand and Messines since WWI. Since 1975, Messines fraternizes with the town of Featherson, New Zealand, where over 8,000 soldier were trained before departing to the Western Front.

Return to Ieper for some time to relax & freshen-up before walking towards the Menin Gate to attend the Last Post ceremony. This traditional final salute to the fallen is played daily at 8.00pm by the buglers to honour the memory of soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies, who died in the Salient of Ypres during WWI.

Dinner at local restaurant & overnight in Ieper.

Messines (7 June 1917)

Messines refers to a ridge south of the town of Ypres (Ieper today) captured by New Zealand forces. Thanks to careful planning, the capture of Messines Ridge was a stunning success and paved the way for the main attack later in the summer by removing German forces from the dominating ground on the southern face of the Ypres Salient. New Zealand suffered 3,000 casualties and 700 deaths at Messines.

Passchendaele (12 October 1917)

The 12 October 1917 attack by New Zealand forces on Bellevue Spur near Passchendaele was poorly prepared, partly because of the extreme weather conditions. The New Zealanders were exposed to German machine-gun fire along with being held back by barbed wire.  Within the first few hours the New Zealand Division suffered 2,700 casualties, of which 845 were fatalities. These casualties amounted to six percent of New Zealand’s total casualties in the entire First World War.

Day 8: Ieper - Poperinge - Diksmuide - Bruges  (B)

This morning visit the German trenches at Wijtschate. Continue to Poperinge. Visit the grave of former All Black captain Dave Gallaher at Nine Elms Cemetery and Talbot House, a former resting place for soldiers travelling to and from the front line. This living museum is filled with original items, including the “Friendship Corner” where visiting soldiers left messages for their friends.

Time at leisure for lunch at Diksmuide and afternoon visit of the ‘Trench of Death,’ located in the European Peace Domain formed by the Gate of Peace, the Crypt and the Yser Tower.

Travel to Bruges & check-in. Late afternoon, explore the historic centre of Bruges on foot.

Evening at leisure. Overnight in Bruges.

Day 9: Bruges - Waterloo - Brussels (B L D)

Morning at leisure. Early lunch and departure to Waterloo. Visit Wellington Museum named after the Duke of Wellington who set up his HQ on this site and wrote his bulletin of victory within the walls of this building. Climb the Lion’s Mound; from the top of the 226 steps, you will be able to take in the expanse of the battlefield. Later, experience The Panorama, an immense colour & sound fresco depicting the charge of the French Cavalry.

Continue to Brussels. Upon arrival, take a short orientation tour including the most important highlights outside of the historic centre the Atomium and the Royal Palace of Laeken.

Check-in followed by some time to freshen-up before joining the farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Overnight in Brussels.

Day 10: Brussels (B)

Morning at leisure – the perfect opportunity to explore the historic centre of Brussels on foot.

Group departure transfer to Zavertem Airport based on flight EK182 departing at 2.35pm; private transfers available at supplement.


  • Join New Zealand tours hosts ex Paris : Roy and Dawn Ferguson
  • 9 nights accommodation at 4-star hotels (local grading)
  • Daily breakfasts (picnic breakfast when an early start is involved)
  • Welcome dinner in Paris
  • Farwell Dinner in Brussels
  • 3 lunches, + 4 other dinners
  • Professional Tour Manager/WWI local guide throughout the programme
  • Air Conditioned coach
  • Sightseeing & activities as per itinerary
  • Entrance fees for: Pantheon, Museum de L’Armee, Arc de Triomphe, Museum de L ’Armistice, Amiens Cathedral, Carriere Wellington, Memorial Museum Passchendaele, Zonnebeke Dugouts, Talbot House, Trench of Death, Bayernwald at Wijtschate, Waterloo as per programme
  • Tipping for group activities
  • Local taxes


  • Paris Armistice Extension
  • Arrival transfer
  • Personal insurance
  • Personal expenses including minibar/drinks/meals not specified
  • Porterage & tipping for non-group activities
  • Mini bar drinks or other room expenses
  • Tipping for non-group activities or additional non included sightseeing
  • Any service not mentioned in the inclusions above

Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable).   All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country.   Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.

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