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Surgery & Treatment on the Western Front

Prices start from:

£115

per person

1 -
4 Days
World War 1
Belgium, France
12 - 300 travellers

Overview

The First World War acted as a catalyst for technological changes. It led to innovation and advancements, even if some of these changes were morally questionable. Both sides deployed new methods of fighting, including poison gas, flamethrowers and tanks, how the resulting injuries were treated had to evolve with the utmost urgency and behind the front-line huge advances were made to treat the ever-growing numbers of casualties.

Medicine, surgery and patient treatment was a key area of change and advancement, as the war evolved so did the innovations, such as the ‘Thomas traction splint’ and the mobile X-ray machine, introduced by Marie Curie for the French army. Serving alongside the men of the Royal Army Medical Corps on the Western Front were thousands of women who served as nurses. The units included the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, The Red Cross VADs and the FANY’s along with the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. We will follow the route of a medical evacuation and explore the stories of those who dealt with those who needed care as we discuss how medical changes were made, how they evolved during the war years and how they had a long-term impact on military and civilian emergency care procedures in the years following the war.

Stories of doctors and stretcher-bearers as well as nurses will be brought to life – all non-combatants who were essential in the support and help to those injured and dying.

The battles would claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of men from all sides. Millions more would return home with injuries that had changed their lives and mental health, how and in what condition they returned will also be addressed.

Key Subject Knowledge

  • Medicine and medical evacuation
  • Women and the First World War
  • Diversity and the range of troops that served and where they came from
  • Technology and how it changed over the war
  • The Pals Battalions
  • Daily life in the trenches
  • The relationship between the Home Front and the Western Front
  • Propaganda and communication
  • Commemoration and legacy

 

Also available supporting elements of wider Humanities (geography, English, social sciences and citizenship)

  • The battlefield and the physical landscape
  • War poetry and war artists
  • Decision making in the British Armed Forces and the relationship between politicians and Generals
  • The different faiths that were in the British Forces

What’s included

Return Channel Crossings
Full services of an executive coach for the duration of your Battlefield Tour
Pick up and drop off from your chosen location
Full Board accommodation
Full Services of an expert Battlefield Guide
Entrance to museums (2-day x 2, 3-day x 3, 4-day x 3)
Travel Insurance
Tailormade itinerary
1 free teacher for every 10 paying students
Full administration and booking service
24 hours on call Duty Manager whilst tour is operating

Not included

Inspection visit – available at additional cost
Items not clearly shown as included

Itinerary

Below is a sample itinerary for a 4 day tour, all tours are personalised and once your tour is booked your expert guide will get in touch to start working with you to produce an itinerary for your bespoke tour.
Day 1:
An early start, as we make our way to France, collecting our guide before crossing to Calais, en-route your guide will give you a full introduction into the First World War. Arriving in Arras, we will take a guided tour underneath the city streets at Wellington Quarry, which was created by the New Zealand tunnellers. These tunnels were both hiding place and home to thousands of soldiers and included accommodation, a chapel and a hospital. From here we pay our respects at two of the Memorials in this area dedicated to the servicemen with no known grave, the Arras Memorial and the Royal Flying Services Memorial. Lt Walter Tull and Maj Mick Mannock VC are just some of the names that we will be learning more about. Then it’s time to head to your hostel for check in and dinner.
Day 2:
A full day today exploring the battlefields and memorials around Ypres in Belgium. First, head to Lijssenthoek, which as well as a rear area and training camp was also the site of the largest evacuation hospital in the Ypres Salient, starting in the visitors’ centre, before heading out to the cemetery, where we find 10,785 burials including French, British, German, two Americans and one woman – Nurse Nellie Spindler. The story of mining in the First World War is brought to life at our next stop, Hill 60, a small area of elevated land in an otherwise flat landscape, still showing the battle scars from over a hundred years ago, with craters and bunkers. At Hooge Crater Museum, the war comes to life, with full scale reconstructions of war scenes, an extensive medical display, including an original Ford T Ambulance and reconstructed German and British trenches. At the rear of the museum, we can follow the front line in the footsteps of the soldiers with a walk to Railway Wood. Stopping at Vancouver Corner site of the first ever large-scale gas attack during the second Battle of Ypres, we learn more about this type of warfare and how scientists and medical staff learnt to respond to the new ‘weapon’. Langemark German Cemetery, is one of only four German cemeteries in the Flanders region, compare the stark contracts to our own cemeteries, including a mass grave containing 25,000 soldiers and hear some of the stories associated with this cemetery, including Adolf Hitler’s visit here. Our final visit today is Tyne Cot CWGC Cemetery, learn more about the third battle of Ypres and the misery of the mud at the largest Commonwealth War Cemetery in the world. Then it’s back to the hostel for dinner, followed by free time and chocolate shopping!
Day 3:
Leaving the hostel we head to Poperinghe, site of the death cells and execution pole - shell shock was not recognised as it is today and the soldiers affected did not receive care and understanding, instead a terrifying example was made of them. From here we head to Brandhoek CWGC Cemetery where we investigate the stories of many of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) burials, including Captain Noel Chavasse VC, who won the Victoria Cross twice. Essex Farm, was an advanced dressing station and now a CWGC Cemetery and the location where Canadian doctor John McCrae wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields”. Amongst those buried here is Pte Strudwick, who died at only 15 years old and Pte Barratt VC. Next we make our way to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum, an interactive exhibition giving a good overview of the Battles of Ypres, with emphasis on the horrific Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, before heading back to Ypres, to visit the Menin Gate and hear the story of this “Memorial to the Missing” and the Last Post Association. Following dinner, you will attend and participate in the Last Post Ceremony, where a few selected students will lay a wreath on behalf of the school. Highlighting the theme of remembrance, it is a time for reflection, to show respect for others and recognise the sacrifices made by an entire generation on our behalf.
Day 4:
This morning we head for the Somme, en-route our guide will tell us about the first day of the Battle of the Somme and show us supporting videos. Our first stop sees us a Sheffield Memorial Park, where we learn about the Pals Battalions and the New Model Army. Then it is onto Newfoundland Park, which is on the ground over which the Newfoundland Regiment made their attack on the 1st July 1916, resulting in them being all but wiped out. Nearby at Thiepval stands the largest British Memorial in the world and here we will learn more about some of names found amongst over 72,000 inscribed on this Memorial. Just a short drive away, we will stop at Lochnager Crater, the result of a huge mine that was placed under the German lines and whose massive explosion signalled the start of the Battle of the Somme. Here we take time to discuss underground warfare and the reasons behind this type of fighting. As we start to make our way back to Calais, we make our final stop at Vimy Ridge, the Canadian National Memorial on the Western Front. The memorial, took eleven years to build and is visible for miles around, it makes for the perfect location to hear about the Battle of Vimy Ridge and to pay our final respects before departing for the coast and your journey home.

All our tours and itineraries are tailormade and put together to match your requirements, please get in touch to discuss your tour.

Pricing options

People

Days

Price per person

48
1
from £115 pp
48
2
from £195 pp
48
3
from £295 pp
48
4
from £389 pp

Our sample prices are per student, based on 44 students (+4 staff travelling free of charge) departing November 2022. Please note all prices and tours are subject to availability and prices may vary, depending on your bespoke package, what is included and the number of students and staff travelling.

Prices start from:

£115

per person

All our tours and itineraries are bespoke and put together to match your requirements, please get in touch to discuss your tour.

Why travel with us
Got a question?

We would be happy to talk to you about your tour requirements, please get in touch to talk to an expert.

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