Leger Holidays Battlefield Tours

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Shot at Dawn - Military Executions in WW1

4 days from £299

More than 300 soldiers were executed for a variety of military crimes including desertion and cowardice, these men were subsequently pardoned in recent years.

Itinerary

4-Day Tour

  • Day 1 – Local departure by coach, then to northern France or Belgium for a three-night stay.
  • Day 2 – We start in the town of Poperinghe in Flanders; the scene of many British executions during the war. We see the town hall courtyard where some of these took place, the Shot At Dawn Memorial and the so-called ‘Death Cells’ where men were detained by the Military Police. We see the graves and examine the stories of 17 executed soldiers in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery, the largest number buried in one place. We also take time to visit the Behind The Lines museum at Talbot House, which covers the subject of military discipline, as well as following the story of ‘Tubby’ Clayton and Talbot House itself. After lunch we visit the impressive In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres and then look at the story of executed soldier Private Herbert Burden who is commemorated on the Menin Gate; he inspired the ‘Shot At Dawn’ Memorial at the National Arboretum. We then walk along the Ypres Ramparts where some executions took place in WW1 to the moving Ramparts Cemetery at the Lille Gate. We spend the evening in Ypres, attending the Last Post Ceremony. Breakfast
  • Day 3 – Today we travel down into northern France to St. Pol where we look at the story of three men of the 19th Durham Light Infantry executed together in 1917; a rare occurrence. We then journey to the Somme and after lunch we visit Thiepval where we follow the story of Private Harry Farr, whose family were one of those who led the pardon campaign. At Becourt we examine the story of two men who made it back to England after deserting before being brought back to France to be shot and then see the Somme museum in Albert. We look at the moving story of James Crozier, one of the youngest to be executed. We see where his execution took place in Mailly-Maillet and visit his grave nearby. We end the tour at the the graves of Privates Ingham and Longshaw; executed in 1916, Ingham's grave is the only one which bears the inscription ‘Shot At Dawn’. Breakfast
  • Day 4 – Journey to Calais then return home. Breakfast

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