Anzac Day on the Western Front & Singapore War History

Visit the key Australian battlefield sites on the Western Front, Paris & Bruges – the highlight being the Dawn Service on Anzac Day

Accommodation Escorted Tours Fly Transfers

13 Nights from $ Per Person

Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tour

  Tour Package

  Paris & Singapore

  13 Nights

  PA10DI23


Description

On Anzac Day 1918 Australian soldiers captured the French town of Villers-Bretonneux, an action that was called ‘one of the finest feats of the war’. This is your chance to commemorate the anniversary of this outstanding attack, alongside fellow Australians, on the ground where the fighting took place. This tour visits the key Australian battlefield sites on the Western Front, Paris and Bruges – the highlight being the Dawn Service on Anzac Day.

Retrace Singapore’s World War II history with four days touring several museums and sites showcasing the remnants of the terrible war. Now a world-class city and economic powerhouse, during the war it was a scene of horror following the Japanese occupation. It is estimated that more Australian prisoners of war perished during incarceration in the labour camps than died in battle itself. Walk in the footsteps of these brave men and women during battle and their imprisonment, bringing this fascinating chapter of history to life.


Your Fly, Stay & Tour Package Includes:

  • Economy class flight from Sydney to Paris, returning via Singapore
  • Private transfer from Airport to Hotel
  • 1 night’s accommodation in Paris
  • 9 night Anzac Day on the Western Front with Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours
  • Includes 3-4 star accommodation, select meals, entrance fees, tipping & more
  • Private transfer from Hotel to Airport
  • Economy class flight from Paris to Singapore
  • 3 night Singapore Private Tour with Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours
  • Includes 3-4 star accommodation, Changi Airport transfers, select meals, entrance fees, tipping & more

Extend your flights and stay longer - talk to our travel experts about more option

Anzac Day on the Western Front

Your Tour Includes:

  • Services of an expert WWI Historian
  • All excursions, scenic drives and sightseeing as described in the itinerary
  • Anzac Day Service at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux
  • 9 nights’ 3-star to 4-star accommodation
  • Travel by comfortable air-conditioned coach
  • Breakfast daily, 4 lunches and 4 dinners
  • All entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • All tipping
  • Copy of Mat McLachlan’s definitive guide to the Western Front, Walking with the Anzacs
  • Souvenir cap and document wallet

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1 > Saturday 18 April 2020 | Arrive Paris

Welcome to our Western Front tour! After checking in to our Paris hotel, we will come together this evening for a welcome drink. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know our fellow passengers, Tour Manager and War Historian. After drinks, we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner together in the hotel. (D)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Welcome dinner in Paris

Day 2 > Sunday 19 April | Paris to Ypres

Our tour in the footsteps of the Anzacs begins today. After breakfast we depart Paris for Ypres in Belgium, one of the most significant towns on the Western Front and our home for the next four nights. On route we will travel through the Somme region and visit Villers-Bretonneux, the centre of Australian commemoration on the Western Front. Our first stop will be the Australian National Memorial, which features the names of nearly 11,000 Australians missing from fighting in France. We will have time to pay our respects at the memorial and the adjacent cemetery, before visiting the Sir John Monash Centre, the brand new audio-visual museum that tells the story of Australian courage and sacrifice on the Western Front on hundreds of interactive screens. We will then continue to Ypres to check into our hotel and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant walking distance to our hotel. (B, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux  Sir John Monash Centre

Day 3 > Monday 20 April | Ypres

Between 1914 and 1918 the town of Ypres was the centre of four great battles, and was completely destroyed by shellfire. Today the rebuilt town is one of the iconic places on the Western Front. This morning we will take a walking tour around the town, visiting key sights from the war such as the magnificent Cloth Hall, St George’s Chapel, St Martin’s Cathedral, the Menin Gate and Ramparts Cemetery. We will end the walking tour at the In Flanders Field Museum where we will have free time to wander at our leisure. This evening we will return to 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 of our passengers will be invited to lay a wreath on behalf of the group. (B)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Walking tour of Ypres  In Flanders Fields Museum  Participation in the Last Post service at the Menin Gate

Day 4 > Tuesday 21 April | Ypres Salient

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, which features a recreated British dugout. We will then visit the 5th Australian Division Memorial at Polygon Wood and 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 Cafe de Dreve, where the owner, Johan Vandewalle, will tell us about his discovery of the bodies of Private Hunter and Sergeant Calder in a Belgian field. 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 Langemarck, 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 Langemarck, marking the spot where poison gas was first used in the war. (B, L)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Full day touring the battlefields of the Ypres Salient  Passchendaele 1917 Museum  Presentation by Johan Vandewalle

Day 5 > Wednesday 22 April | Bruges

Today we will spend time exploring Bruges, one of Europe’s most charming medieval cities. Wander the cobbled streets, take a cruise on one of the city’s enchanting canals, ride through the picturesque squares in a horse and cart or sample the lace boutiques, chocolate shops and cafes that make Bruges famous. On the drive back to Ypres we will stop at Essex Farm Cemetery, where in 1915 Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae composed ‘In Flanders Fields’, the most famous poem of the war. (B)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Bruges  Essex Farm Cemetery

Day 6 > Thursday 23 April | Ypres to the Somme

Today we leave Ypres and travel south to the battlefields of the Somme. Our first stop is the battlefield of Messines, scene of a huge Allied attack in 1917 that was heralded by the explosion of 19 massive mines. We will then travel to French Flanders, and the very moving 1916 battlefield of Fromelles, where Australia lost 5533 men during its first action on the Western Front. While here we will visit the Australian Memorial Park, VC Corner Cemetery (the only all-Australian cemetery in France), the site of the recently discovered Australian mass grave at Pheasant Wood and the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery, where 250 Australian and British soldiers were laid to rest in 2010. We will also visit the Fromelles museum, opened in 2014, which tells the story of Australia’s disastrous involvement in the Battle of Fromelles. Our final stop of the day is the battlefield of Bullecourt, where Australia lost 10,000 men in two great battles in 1917. We will pay our respects to them at the Slouch Hat memorial in the centre of town and the Australian Memorial Park on the site of the German front line. A packed lunch is included today. (B, L)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Touring of the battlefields between Ypres and the Somme including Fromelles and Bullecourt

Day 7 > Friday 24 April | The Somme

This morning we will spend some time in the town of Villers Bretonneux and visit the Franco-Australian Museum and neighbouring remarkable Victoria School where we will see the sign that entreats the children of Villers-Bretonneux to ‘Never Forget Australia’. We will also visit Adelaide Cemetery, the place where Australia’s Unknown Soldier lay for 75 years before being returned to Australia in 1993. We will enjoy lunch at the town of Naours before visiting the underground tunnels where many Australian soldiers left their mark with graffiti. Their names have become a self-made memorial at a site that has been a tourist attraction since the 1800s. Our final stop for the day will be Vignacourt, a city that remained behind the lines during WW1 and was therefore a place of refuge for Australian soldiers on a break from the front line. We will visit Vignacourt 14-18, a new photographic museum located in the old Thuillier family farmhouse. We will enjoy dinner at our hotel before the much anticipated Anzac Day Dawn Service. (B, L, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Franco-Australian Museum  Victoria School  Vignacourt 14-18 museum

Day 8 > Saturday 25 April 2020 | Anzac Day

An Anzac Day we will never forget! We have an early start this morning in order to make our way to the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. We will gather here with thousands of other Australians to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle of Villers-Bretonneux as we pay our respects to our 45,000 countrymen who were killed during fighting on the Western Front. As the sun rises over the imposing memorial to Australia’s 11,000 missing in France, the strains of the Last Post will echo across the countryside, peaceful now, but the scene of a monumental Australian victory on Anzac Day 1918. After this moving ceremony we will enjoy a piece of Australia in the heart of the Somme – breakfast with the townspeople of Hamel. This town was liberated by Australian troops in July 1918, and we will be made very welcome by the local people. Following breakfast we will conduct a memorial service at the Australian Memorial Park near the town. This very special breakfast event is being conducted exclusively for Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours, and is a wonderful highlight of the tour. Later in the morning we will begin our tour of the 1916 battlefields of the Somme. Our first stop will be the imposing Lochnagar Mine Crater, which was detonated beneath the German lines on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Even though erosion has reduced the size of the crater it is still enormous – more than 100 meters across and 30 meters deep. We will then visit the village of Pozieres, scene of the most costly battle in Australia’s history. 23,000 men were killed or wounded in six weeks’ fighting, and we will visit the scenes of their heroic sacrifice at the 1st Division Memorial and the Windmill. We will also have time to walk the battlefield with our historian, gaining a better understanding of the fighting that led to more Australian casualties than any other battle in our history. We will then return to our hotel where our evening is free. (B, L)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Anzac Day Service at Villers-Bretonneux  Hamel Breakfast  Lochnagar Mine Crater

Day 9 > Sunday 26 April | The Somme to Paris

Our last day in the footsteps of the Anzacs will see us return to the 1916 Somme battlefields, where we will visit the maze of trenches at the Newfoundland Memorial Park. The Newfoundland Regiment was almost wiped out here on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. We will then drive past the Ulster Tower, modelled on Helen’s Tower in Northern Ireland, before visiting the spectacular Thiepval Memorial, where the names of more than 72,000 British men missing from the Somme fighting are recorded. We will also see Mouquet Farm, scene of a costly advance by Australian troops in August 1916. We will then visit the battlefield at Mont St Quentin, where Australian troops won a great victory in August and September 1918, and pay our respects to them at the Australian 2nd Division Memorial. We then farewell the battlefields and return to Paris. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner cruising along the Seine River, a wonderful opportunity to see the landmarks of Paris bathed in light. (B, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Touring of the Somme battlefields  Farewell Seine Dinner Cruise

Day 10 > Monday 27 April 2020 | Paris

Sadly our Western Front Tour ends this morning after breakfast. The journey may be over but the memories will last a lifetime. (B)

Singapore Private Tour

Your Tour Includes:

  • Services of an English speaking expert Guide
  • All excursions, scenic drives and sightseeing as described in the itinerary
  • Comprehensive touring of all the major WW2 battlefield sites
  • 3 nights’ accommodation in a 3.5- to 4-star hotel
  • Convenient pick up and drop off at Changi Airport (Singapore)
  • Travel by comfortable air-conditioned vehicle
  • Breakfast daily and 1 lunch
  • All entrance fees as per itinerary
  • All tipping
  • Bottled water daily

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1 > Arrive Singapore

On arrival into Singapore Airport, we will be met by a representative of Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours and transferred to our hotel. The rest of the day is at our leisure.

STAR INCLUSIONS  Arrival transfer

Day 2 > Full Day Battlefield Tour

Today we will explore sites associated with the bitter fighting in Singapore in 1942, and the horrendous ordeal of prisoners of war who were captured here. The first stop today is Changi Village, once the site of many prisoner-of-war camps during the Japanese Occupation, Changi has since gone down in history as a place of much pain, torture and human suffering. It is said that more Australian POWs perished under incarceration than in the battle itself. You will then take a leisurely 15-minute walk to Changi Beach to visit the memorial plaque at one of the sites where the Sook Ching Massacre took place. This massacre lasted from 18 February to 04 March 1942 and was a means of “cleansing” the Chinese who were seen as hostile, anti-Japanese elements. Afterwards you will visit Johore Battery, built by the British in 1939, it is a gun emplacement site consisting of a labyrinth of tunnels. The tunnels were used to store ammunition to support three large guns that could fire 15-inch shells. The guns were the largest installed outside Britain during World War II. They were destroyed before the surrender of the British army and the tunnels were sealed up after the war. The location remained a secret until the Singapore Prisons Department rediscovered them in April 1991. Today, replicas of the large gun and a 15-inch shell are located at the Johore Battery. You will see Selarang Camp en route to Sembawang, where over 15,000 prisoners of war were held in a space designed to hold 1,200. Next you will pass the Sembawang Park and Sembawang Shipyard, used as a British Naval base complex from the 1920s until Singapore’s independence. You will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before visiting the Kranji War Memorial, to pay respects to more than 1100 Australian soldiers who are remembered in the British Commonwealth Memorial. You will also visit the Kranji War Cemetery, the final resting place for 4,458 allied servicemen in marked graves laid out in rows on maintained and manicured lawns. After you will take a scenic drive towards the Civic Centre to visit the City Hall. The significance of the City Hall lies in the involvement during the World War II. British prisoners-of-war were rounded up in front of the building for a march to POW camps at Changi Prison and Selarang. On 12 September 1945, the Japanese General Itagaki surrendered to Lord Mountbatten to end World War II in Singapore. While in the city, you will visit 2 memorials: Lim Bo Seng Memorial, a tribute to a local hero with his involvement in anti-Japanese activities and the Cenotaph Memorial, built in memory of the 124 British soldiers born or resident in Singapore who gave their lives in World War I (1914–1918), with a second dedication (but no names) added in remembrance of those who died in World War II (1941–1945). The last stop of the day is the Battlebox, built in 1936  and a former WWII British underground command centre inside Fort Canning Hill in the heart of Singapore City. It was part of the headquarters of Malaya Command, the army which defended Malaya and Singapore in WWII. It was inside the Battlebox that the British made the decision to surrender Singapore to the invading Japanese on 15 February 1942. At the end of today’s touring, you will be dropped back to your hotel where the evening is at your leisure. (B, L)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Changi Village and Beach Memorial Johore Battery  Selarang Camp  Sembawang POW camp

Kranji War Memorial  Cenotaph Memorial  Lim Bo Seng Memorial  Battlebox  Fort Canning

Day 3 > The Old Ford Factory and Old Forts

Your first stop for the day is The Old Ford Motor Factory which is a historic building in Bukit Batok, Singapore, located along Upper Bukit Timah Road. It is the place where British forces under Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival surrendered to Japanese forces under Lieutenant-General Yamashita Tomoyuki on 15 February 1942 after the Battle of Singapore. The Former Ford Factory was restored by the National Archives of Singapore and currently houses a permanent World War II exhibition on the war and its legacies. You will continue your journey to Labrador Park which besides its rich biodiversity, this headland played a significant role in the history of Singapore during World War II. Remnants of the past like the tunnels and a fort enable visitors to have an interactive learning experience of the military history of the British rule during that era. Proceed thereafter to Fort Siloso, one of twelve coast artillery batteries which made up “Fortress Singapore” at the start of World War II. Although there are visible remains of some other batteries to be found on Singapore, Fort Siloso is the only restored battery open for public visitation. Today’s final stop is St Andrew’s Cathedral, the oldest Anglican house of worship in Singapore. After a morning of touring, the afternoon is at leisure to explore the sites of Singapore at your own pace. Drop off to your hotel will be approx. 1.00pm. (B)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Old Ford Factory Labrador Park  Fort Siloso St Andrews Cathedral

Day 4 > Depart Singapore

Unfortunately your tour ends today. You will be transferred to Singapore airport for your departure flight. (B)

STAR INCLUSIONS  Departure transfer

Terms and Conditions

*Conditions apply. Subject to availability and change without notice. Prices listed are in Australian Dollars, based on twin occupancy/travel, unless otherwise stated. Prices/Offers are correct at the time of distribution. Full travel supplier booking conditions apply.

Prices listed are per person in Australian Dollars, based on twin occupancy, including all discounts unless otherwise stated. The offer is subject to availability at time of booking. Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice. Prices/Offers are correct as at 15 October 2019 and can be withdrawn without notice. Visas are not included.  Airfares are based on economy class flights from Sydney and subject to the carriers’ flight schedules and conditions, please call us for prices from other cities. Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge.

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