Battlefields of Picardy


Departing from De Panne we drive to France and take the motorways to Lille. Via Armentières – well known for the song Mademoiselle from Armentieres – we drive to Fromelles. At VC Corner Cemetery we pay our respects to the many Australian soldiers who were killed during the attack on Fromelles in July 1916. Almost 100 years later a mass grave was discovered.

The CWGC therefore decided to establish a brand new WW I military cemetery at Fromelles: Pheasant Wood. On the old front line there is also the Australian Memorial Park with the famous Cobbers statue. Via Aubers Ridge we reach Neuve-Chapelle, scene of heavy fighting in 1915. We stop at the Indian memorial, the Portuguese military cemetery and of course also the Le Touret Memorial to the Missing. Next onwards to the battlefields of Loos, where John Kipling was killed. His father, the famous author Rudyard Kipling, spent the rest of his life looking for his son’s grave. Then onwards to Vimy Ridge, to see the impressive national Canadian memorial and the remains of trenches and tunnels.

From Vimy we drive through Neuville St Vaast to visit the largest German military cemetery in France. On route to Notre Dame de Lorette, the French national cemetery that lies on high ground overlooking the battlefields, we pass several interesting memorials and sites.
Lunch (picnic) is possible at Vimy Ridge. Return to De Panne for dinner.