Soldier Poets of WWI: Suggested Four-Day Itinerary
Day One (Outward): Local pick-up
to Dover. Ferry to Calais. Onward travel to your accommodation in/near Ypres (3* B&B for two nights). Check-in & evening free. (Note: This itinerary can be adapted for groups wishing to travel via P&O North Sea Ferries sailing overnight from Hull. Please ask our staff for details).
Day Two (Ypres Salient, 1914-16): The war in Flanders from the end of mobility & the stalemate of the trenches to the attrition of Passchendaele. The poetry of Rupert Brooke, Lawrence Binyon, Jessie Pope, John Freeman, John McCrae & Charles Sorley. Visits to:
Hooge: The Salient; idealism, patriotism, jingoism & nationalism; the mood in 1914
Langemark German Cemetery: Attitudes towards the foe; at home & at the front
Pilckem Ridge: Gas & the reality of war; stalemate & endurance
Essex Farm Cemetery & Dug-outs: Injuries, death & the experience of war
The Menin Road & Hellfire Corner: The poetry of resolution & stoicism
Tyne Cot Cemetery: Changing perception of war; from field of honour to charnel house
Free time in Ypres in the early evening before attending the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate at 8.00 pm to remember the fallen. Return to accommodation.
Day Three: (The Somme):
The war in Picardy. The Somme & attitudes to the war. Poetry of Alan Seeger, Noel Hodgson, Robert Graves & Siegfried Sasson. Women's poetry. Visits to:
Pals' battalions at Serre: The volunteer spirit & the first day on the Somme
Newfoundland Park Preserved Battlefield: Trench warfare & the end of optimism
Thiepval Memorial to the Missing: Altered perceptions in the wake of the Somme
Blighty Valley: Soldiers, wounds & casualties
Ovillers & Mash Valley: A killing field. The industrialisation of warfare
Dartmoor Cemetery: Diverging views between the front line & civilian attitudes
Mametz & Mansel Copse: Noel Hodgson's grave; the Somme as a watershed event
Check-in at 3* B&B hotel accommodation in Arras & evening free. An evening meal can be added to your tour if required.
Day Four (Arras, Vimy & Return): Growing antipathy towards the war. The conscript army. The poetry of Isaac Rosenberg, Siegfried Sassoon, Ivor Gurney, Wilfred Owen, A.P. Herbert, Edmund Blunden & Robert Graves Visits to:
Edward Thomas' grave: Disillusion & disaffection; cynicism & bitterness
Isaac Rosenberg's grave: Soldier Poets; voices of a generation or disaffected minority?
Vimy Ridge reconstructed trenches & Memorial : The pity of war & aftermath
Depart for Calais & ferry crossing to Dover. Return to your local drop-off point. A hypermarket visit can be included en-route, time permitting (excluding Sundays).