2016 marked 100 years since the Battle of the Somme, a sobering moment in British history. One of the largest battles of the Western front it caused almost 60,000 British casualties including 19,240 killed on the first day alone (1 July 1916).
On our first ride out lead by our motorcycle riding tour guide we head for Peronne with its famous war museum, then onwards to the major memorials. Our itinerary (which covers the Somme from the North to the South) will include the Ulster Tower, Newfoundland Park and its preserved trenches, Thiepval Monument dedicated to the 73,000 British and South African Missing in action and a visit to Lochnager mine crater where the British detonated 30 tons of explosive packed into tunnels dug beneath the German front line to devasting effect.
Our ride out the following day will include Wellington Quarries located 20 metres beneath Arras which could accommodate up to 24,000 soldiers in a maze of tunnels beneath the town - some of which extended all the way out to Vimy Ridge. We will ride to Albert to see the Madonna atop the Cathedral and visit the underground museum which has some fascinating recreations of life in the trenches. If time permits we will take in the Australian battlefield at Pozieres and finally Vimy Ridge itself.
Our hotel proprietor is unique in his enthusiasm for World War One history and owns a surviving and partially wrecked battletank which he located and unearthed with REME engineers quite a few years back now. Christened Deborah, the tank is an extraordinary exhibit in a private museum to which we will get privileged access during our stay. Note that in the pictures of the tank you will see is the unpreserved one. The green tank is in a museum in Ashford, Kent.
Accommodation is in a quality Hotel close to the town centre with secure parking. Whether you’re going for a short break or on a mission to track down some family history this is an absorbing tour.
The Somme conflict was 100 years ago but the legacy lives on in the historical sites that we will visit.
Come with us and see for yourself...