Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

Tour 89 / Passchendaele 1917 Centenary Tour

Sunday 29 October – Friday 3 November 2017

This special centenary tour visits the Flanders battlefields. If you are interested in both beer and battlefields this is the tour for you and is guaranteed to be like no other battlefield Tour. We will be exploring the Ypres Salient at the centenary of the Second Battle of Passchenedaele, the last desperate engagement of the Third Battle of Ypres offensive (31 July to 10 November 1917). Your guide will be Podge's partner Siobhan McGinn who is undertaking a PhD in Alcohol, Moral and Discipline in the First World War.

Memorial Museum Passchenedaele

For this Tour our coach is booked on the outbound Eurotunnel on the 09.20hr crossing, and on the return leg we are booked on the 19.50hr crossing, local time.

Our base for this Tour is the comfortable and centrally based Novotel Ieper Centrum Flanders Fields Hotel. As our Tour coincides with the centenary of the Second Battle of Passchendaele 26 October to 10 November 1917 we will be spending some time in the key battlefield area around Zonnebeke-Passchendaele. We will be visiting Tyne Cot CWGC the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world in terms of burials with 11,961 named soldiers headstones, 8,373 unnamed graves plus 35,000 names engraved on the rear cemetery wall. We will be visiting the main museum devoted to this battle the Memorial Museum Passchendaele. We’ll be concentrating on the last push carried out by Canadian troops under General Currie’s command and visiting the Crest Farm Canadian Memorial and finding out why the Canadian’s were called upon to carry out this worst part of the offensive.

German soldier at Passchenedaele in 1918

We’ll be spending some time in Langemark-Poelcapelle visiting the vast Langemark German War Cemetery and having a look at the new Guynemer Pavilion, incorporating an exhibition on French flying Ace Georges Guynemer who was killed over Poelcapelle in 1917. We will have a look at the Tank Memorial in the village and discover what happened to the tanks sent in to the Battle of Poelcapelle on 9 October 1917. In response to a special request we will be calling in at Cement House CWGC cemetery.

Memorial to British at Nieuwpoort

We will be spending some time in Nieuwpoort, originally part of the coastal roll-up which was to be the objective for the planned Flanders assault which would become the Third Battle of Ypres. Here we will engage in a unique memorial exercise and contribution to an art project. We will go to a modelling workshop run by the organisation Coming World Remember Me and each traveller will make a small clay figure which will be fired, and have a identity tag fixed with the makers name and the name of a person who died in Belgium in the First World War. The organisation aim to have 600,000 figures by March 1918, when all will be gathered together in no man’s land in front of Ypres and form part of an outdoor art installation, something along the lines of the poppies at the Tower of London. In Nieuwpoort we will also visit the Goosefoot Complex and underground museum to the flooding of the area in the First World War and visit the Newport Times, a new beer café in Nieuwpoort offering some special beer with Great War connections.

One of the projected 600,000 clay figures for art installation Coming World Remember Me

Other visits planned include a once in a lifetime look at the stone lions which are returning to their place on the Menin Gate from Australia, a visit to the Ramskapelle Old Station Observation Post, a visit to Dixmuide and the extraordinary Ijzertoren (Museum aan de Ijzer) which has an exhibition on the war in the air, plus a visit on 31 October 1914 to Gheluveld on the anniversary of the First Battle of Ypres which centred on this village.

Siobhan’s work on alcohol on the Western Front specialises in the Ypres Salient and she will be sharing her latest research on beer, breweries and the British Expeditionary Force in this area. Siobhan is working on creating a WW1 estaminet pub crawl especially for this Tour which features estaminets (cafes, pubs) which existed in the First World War and which were known to and frequented by Tommies behind the lines, such as De Veuile Seule (The Dirty Bucket) and Den Hertog. On the beer front we also hope to include visits to St Bernardus Brewery and De Kinderbrouwerij in Reningelst which was brewing throughout the Great War and providing for troops behind the front.

Tyne Cot CWGC

Siobhan will explain why the Battle of Passchenedaele is still so controversial and look at the performances of Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig’s and his key Generals in this campaign fought in arguably the worst conditions on the Western Front in the whole of the First World War. We will also investigate the German army’s defence of the strategic Passchendaele ridge including elastic defence and defence in depth and why this campaign cost hundreds of thousands of casualties on all sides. The tour will also look at the role the weather (rain!), army morale, Mark IV tanks and concrete blockhouses played in this battle of attrition.

As always, Siobhan has loads more for this Tour in the pipeline, so come back for regular updates, or join our email newsletter list for early updates on new additions. If you want to join the Tour and have any special requests for visits to places nearby any of our scheduled stops, let us know and we will try to fit them in if possible. This Tour is still being built so keep an eye on this web page for updates. If you want to join us on this Tour please send Podge an email or call him on +44 (0)1245 354677 to find out how to pay the £120 deposit per person or if you have any questions.

Tour Price: £885 per person based on sharing in a twin or double room

Single Supplement: £225

If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller please contact Podge as we are regularly able to pair up travellers in twin rooms to avoid the need for payments of Single Supplements.

Included in the cost of this Tour are:

Hotel accommodation and breakfasts;

Hotel city taxes;

Luxury coach travel on a 49 seater coach with toilet;

All brewery visits, tours and brewery beer tastings;

Entrance fees to attractions, museums and historical sites;

All items marked with an asterisk above and on the individual detailed tour itinerary when issued;

Copies of Podge’s City Bar Guides and Maps for the town where we stay or spend some time;

Still and sparkling water on the coach;

Pick up from Ipswich (bus shelter outside Crown House, Crown Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 3HS (opposite NCP Car Park), Colchester (Southway Chapel St South Layby) or Chelmsford (The Woolpack, Mildmay Road). Arrangements can be made for different joining points on the way to Folkestone or even on the other side of the channel.

Travellers are responsible for the costs of all food and drink apart from items marked with an asterisk on the detailed itinerary plus all passport and insurance costs.

All itinerary times are local and approximate.

Personal insurance is not included in the Tour price but is strongly advised, as is carrying the European Health Insurance Card available online, by phone or via the Post Office.

If you have any questions or would like to be added to the interested list please send Podge an email or call him on +44 (0)1245 354677.

All Tours are subject to our Terms and Conditions.

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