Entente Cordial Battlefield Tours showed the way again, how to organise a tour – even at the very last minute!. Our trip to the 100th anniversary commemoration at Villers Bretonneux (24/25 April 2018) was well worth the sleep deprivation! Thanks very much, John Rubin, Manchester, England.
How could it possibly be any better? Ged was a magician. He spent a great amount of time researching the areas where our grandfather served during the very end of World War 1. Ged dug deep and we were amazed at what he found and the tour he crafted for us.The magic was in the details. For example, we had lunch in the little town where my grandfather had quarters for a time. We stood atop a bridge that my grandfather’s unit rebuilt after it had been destroyed by the bad guys. We visited four battlesites including their cemeteries, and at one we had the quite emotional honor of lowering and folding the American flag at day’s end. We already knew that Grandpa had been injured during the war, and Ged taught us that he was actually injured three times with mustard gas, the last time just 2 days before the armistice. Thanks to Ged’s efforts and guidance, we’ve come to know our grandpa in a richer, deeper way. We are indebted to Ged; he truly provided us the trip of a lifetime. Dee Stayner (on behalf of the Stayner family), Sacramento, California, USA.
Would recommend ententecordialetours to anyone! Very personal, fun and tailored to suit our needs. Paul & Lisa Hitchcox
Fantastic weekend with the best tour guide by far! Jonathan & Angela Whiteley – all of Chester, UK
AN UNFORGETTABLE TRIP! Right from the start when a battlefields trip was suggested for Hoole History Society members, Ged was invaluable in advising and planning all the details of the trip. He focused especially on meeting the needs of one of our member who was anxious to visit the memorials to her two uncles (brothers) who have no known graves. The trip itself was a model of efficient organisation – four full days to visit Belgium and northern France, covering Mons, the Ypres battles and the Somme battlegrounds. Ged’s enthusiasm was both boundless and infectious, and it was matched by his encyclopaedic knowledge of both the geography of the sites we visited and the actions fought there. Newfoundland Memorial Park was especially memorable, sitting below the Caribou Memorial and looking out as Ged gave a very detailed account of the actions of the Newfoundlanders on July 1st 1916. We could both see and “read” the battleground in front of us to understand the bravery and sacrifices of the troops. If any proof were needed of how individual Ged’s tours are, we saw it clearly evident during our visit to Lochnagar Crater. While our group was enthralled by Ged’s account of the movements of the infantry from the woods beyond and the personal stories remembered on the walkway, a tour bus pulled up and the passengers “did” the Crater in about ten minutes! Just another place ticked off the list rather than a true insight into the scale of sacrifice on the Somme! Ged’s attention to the needs of his clients was nowhere more apparent than in his care to provide two crosses with poppies to be laid at the apt panels of the Thiepval and Vis-en-Artois memorials where the two brothers, sons of Hoole, are separately remembered. We know how much the leaving of a personalised remembrance meant to our friend and to us who were truly privileged to share in her longed-for pilgrimage (which commercial tour companies had been totally unable to provide for!) Tired but elated as we headed for home our thoughts were already on the next trip – with Ged of course! Gerald Kelly, Hoole History & Heritage Society, Chester UK
Just to say a really big thank you, Ged, for everything that you did to make our trip to the Western Front such a memorable experience for us.We really enjoyed our time with you and appreciated all the time and effort that you put into planning and arranging it. Clearly, for you, it is not just a job but a real passion and this helped to prevent us becoming too “cemeteried out”. Listening to you explaining events and illustrating them in situ really helped to make complicated circumstances much clearer. What was especially helpful was setting it all in context for us and giving us some idea of what life might have been like for our ancestors.You and your knowledge must be the greatest asset that Entente Cordiale has! Once again many, many thanks. John & Kathy Ricketts, Hoole History & Heritage Society, Chester UK.
The whole tour came together very well indeed and resulted in a fantastic trip for our family. We were delighted to pay homage to our loved ones who never made it back home again. We would all have no hesitation in recommending you and your company, Colin, to friends, family or anybody wishing to take a similar trip as you both helped to make our tour very memorable indeed. Thank you and very well done to the both of you! Harry Bleakley and family, Northern Ireland
We really enjoyed meeting you Ged and everyone found your style very engaging – I think it was quite an achievement that you held the attention of five teenagers (well, technically four) – I’m sure your background as a teacher helped no end! There was much discussion over dinner that night about the Great War and the thoughts your tour had provoked. Everyone felt quite emotional about it. Thanks so much for the day. James Caddy and family, Bristol, UK.
We are extremely grateful for your very knowledgeable effort in introducing us to the Somme area and finding Gordon’s grave. Your narrative of the whole disaster left us in no doubt as to the waste of human life that was prevalent at that stage. One cannot but feel for the families of the young soldiers who were sacrificed. Bruce and Elizabeth Larner, Auckland, New Zealand.
I would certainly have no hesitation in recommending Entente Cordiale Battlefield Tours to any military groups looking for a World War 1 guide. Major Andrew Morris, R SIGNALS 93 (North Somerset Yeomanry) Support Squadron, Bristol, UK.
Thank you for an informative, imaginative tour and for joining in with the military banter. A super couple of days and we all appreciated the way in which you allowed and took part in those bits we wished to add. For me having the actual area of the first action, in November 1914, pointed out before I gave the little piece on Capt Alexander Liebert was especially helpful and poignant. Major David Manners, RAO, 39th (Skinners) Signal Regiment, Bristol, UK
Many highlights, but of course for me the 100th anniversary ceremony for Lt Malcolm Hepburn and the truly extraordinary coincidence of a congregation of people who had come to commemorate the Scottish divisions on St. Andrews day, the day of Malcolm’s death, complete with Chaplain to the Pope (?) and bagpiper – for a Seaforth Highlander! – arriving at the café at just at the right moment. Thank you for arranging the wreath for me, that was generous of you. I just about got through my eulogy and people were very indulgent with that. It meant a lot to me. Then, thanks to Colin’s use of a trench map, the determined search for the field between the two lines, where the regimental diary had indicated that Malcolm was on the day he was shot by a sniper, near Le Rodeburg Chateau and La Petite Douve Farm. Finding those landmarks was special, as well as finding some Lee Enfield bullets in the mud too on the very battlefield where they were!! Thank you both so much. Marion Stevenson, London, England.
We only have positive things to say and our daughter was saying it would be great to do it all over again. As with any tour like this it is afterwards that you have the time to digest all the information and ponder over it all. Simon and the kids were very moved by the Newfoundland memorial and seeing the original trenches and of course Thiepval memorial and all the kiwi graves at Longueval. In fact, we appreciated every single stop so the whole day was brilliant! Highly recommend Entente Cordiale Battlefield Tours to anyone as a great way to see so much and honour the memory of so many who gave their lives 100 years ago in such dreadful conditions. A very moving experience for our family of four on a bright sunny July day, poppies out, yet the ground aches with the burden of what lies beneath the fields of Flanders and the Somme. An exceptional day out with memories now for a lifetime. Many thanks again, Colin, and we’re glad we managed to find your site on the internet and undertake an Entente Cordiale Battlefield Tour. The Russell family, Auckland, New Zealand.
We really did value the chance to visit our relatives at rest in their gravesites and to experience that strange overwhelming sadness of all that had happened nearly 100 years ago. We will go back to Australia far better informed and more able to share the feelings that we have all had thanks to Colin and your organisation. Bob Boorman, Adelaide, Australia.
THE TOUR – I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN!!! It was truly the best thing I have done EVER!! I am filled with superlatives just now, which I know lose their power in the telling, but this tour was just wonderful. Thank you Colin & Ged. Doreen Nicolson, Hamilton, New Zealand.
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