Email from Philip & Amy Alfeld following Self-
My wife and I are just returned from our self-
Philip & Amy Alfeld
Email from Mr & Mrs Kirkland following Self-
Just a quick note to say thank you very much for the holiday we arranged through you. Neil and I returned last Sunday and can honestly say the holiday was exactly what we were looking for.
The arrangements you made were very well thought out indeed. We didn't get lost once, nothing unexpected happened, we found all hotels. battlefields and places of interest with great ease.
We will definitely recommend you to any friends who might be thinking of taking a similar trip.
As far as I was concerned the "thing" that made the whole experience complete was the personal accounts that you had interwoven amongst all the military detail you provided.
Anyway, thanks once again -
Kind regards, hope the Falklands trip was a success for you
Email from Mr S Fielding following Self-
A quick note to let you know that my son James and I thoroughly enjoyed our Somme visit which was an unqualified success and very moving experience due mainly to all your initial preparation, maps, Channel crossing bookings etc etc -
We both thought that the absolute highlight of our trip was the day we spent with Peter Smith who was so amazingly enthusiastic and knowledgeable and worth every penny -
Many many thanks again from us both -
Email from Mr J Lamb following Self-
Dear Mr Power
I thought you might like to know that we are safely home after, inter alia, our battlefield tour which we thoroughly enjoyed – if that is the right expression for a trip of that nature. Your route instructions were spot on and so easy to follow and the Part 2 Guide will be a permanent reminder in our bookcase of the stories and horror behind it all.
The weather was very cold for the time of year but perhaps that was why it was so quiet – a real bonus. Only saw two coaches the whole way round!
Email from Mr P Sinnott following Self-
Just a quick line to let you know that we had a great time visiting the Somme and Ypres battlefields. Your itinerary, directions etc. were excellent.
I shall be pleased to recommend your company if asked.
Email from Mr & Mrs Widdup following Self-
We would like to express our thanks for such a professionally organised trip that ran like clockwork. The amount of information supplied was more than adequate and struck the right balance in allowing us to explore to a depth that suited us and we felt comfortable with.
This is the first time we have spent much time in this part of France and Belgium and to see all the red poppies in full bloom made us appreciate more why this flower has become so emblematic. Also seeing the spectacular countryside it was difficult and sad to envisage what it looked like 90+ years ago and the horrors mankind can inflict on one another.
To say we enjoyed the break does not sound appropriate but we have no regrets in what could have been a very melancholy tour. We certainly came away better educated and fulfilled appreciating more the pleasure of living in peacetime.
Keep the good work up and your recommendation of where to eat was spot on. Thank you all round for what you did.
Meena & Alastair
Email from Scott Phillips following Self-
A belated email to say thank you for the amazing work you did on the tour information and the accommodation choices for our recent trip. As you know, it was a bit of a whirlwind visit, but we found the information you prepared to be amazingly informative, detailed and very helpful.
The hotels you chose were fantastic, with the staff at the Ypres hotel as helpful as any throughout our entire European holiday, and the location and restaurant at Albert second to none!
The tour was sobering and awe inspiring, and we would have missed most of the key sites and context were it not for your very thorough information.
Email from Mr & Mrs Wadeson following Self-
I just wanted to thank you very much for a wonderful battlefield self-
The hotels were just great in every regard. We particularly loved the Ariane at Ypres and I would like to thank you for your efforts in getting us in there -
Your battlefield itineraries were so interesting and helpful-
We have begun to think ahead and because we enjoyed it all so much my husband was wondering whether you have any details of the Battle of Waterloo -
We did also wonder whether you do similar tours for the World War two sites.
Thank you again for all your help,
Peter and Patricia Wadeson.
Email from Paul Collins following Self-
Thank you for providing us with such a great tour.
Your attention to detail was fantastic.
Everything from the driving directions, ferry crossings, accommodation etc was superb and without doubt your self-
You must have spent a considerable amount of time researching which became evident as we followed your tour and referred to your tour guide notes.
We found all the additional places we spoke about and again thank you for your assistance with this.
Once we have downloaded our photographs we will forward you a few showing the graveyard and headstone of our relative.
Again, thank you so much for providing us such a detailed tour and the information provided will also be useful reference documents for my daughter with her future exams etc.
We would be happy to recommend your services to anyone who is thinking of doing such a tour.
Email from Hilary Brooks, Walton-
What a fabulous trip Walton-
We only briefly met Jacques and our guide was Kristin in the end; but she had an absolutely encyclopaedic knowledge of the history and stories about Flanders. Kristin brought the whole scene alive for us. She was also amazingly helpful, even to the point of enabling us to eat our picnic lunch in her husband's fire station cafeteria!
Genevra met us to take Marion through the Menin Gate ceremony and she was fantastic [...]
Your choice of hotel was spot on and the literature you sent us was excellent.
I could not rate your company more highly and would happily recommend you.
very best wishes
Email from Bishop Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, following Self-
Dear Mr Power,
My family and I want you to know at this 'Remembrance-
We 'enjoyed' our time together on this journey of learning which, because of our interest in my grandmother's first husband, was also very much one of personal pilgrimage.
Your guides were excellent. We would not have survived without them and we accomplished the entire routes in both regions: Ieper and the Somme. We added in our diversion to Hermies (to visit the grave) and also spent hours reconstructing the final days of Serjeant Dan Griffith in the lead up to his death on the first day of the Battle of Cambrai.
Our accommodation -
Our journey was followed with interest by many others on both Facebook and Twitter, one of the consequences of which is that, later this afternoon, I am recording an interview about our trip with one Irish radio station which will be broadcast on Sunday.
With renewed thanks,
Bishop Paul Colton
Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross
Email from Nigel Turner following Self-
This is a very belated email to thank you for the Somme and Ieper trip you organised for us in September 2010.
We had read in some detail about the places we visited, Lyn MacDonald’s books, Peter Hart's work, William Philpott and so on. But nothing could beat the experience of actually being there. We learned so much from just standing on a particular battlefield, orientating the (very impressive) written guide accordingly and just trying to imagine what it must have been like 90 odd years ago. It was fascinating and humbling to piece together what happened on a particular bit of ground.
Highlights? Lots of them. Ravebeek (that "obscure" piece of farmland on a back road), Tyne Cot (hugely emotional), Mash Valley (the thought of crossing all that open space toward Ovillers), Newfoundland Park...and much else besides. We even got a tour into Thiepval Wood, courtesy of a friendly custodian and a school party from Lincolnshire. My most memorable experience was standing at the German machine gun position at Thiepval (highlighted in your guide) and imagining what it must have been like to have been attacking and defending it on 1 July. Living where we do in southern Africa, we have spoken to our many South African friends about Delville Wood and suggested that they make a point of visiting it (we were struck by the fact that there were so few South African names in the visitors book).
The work of the CWGC is inspiring, to say the least. Yes the cemeteries are poignant, but also uplifting in a way I had not expected. And they are so beautifully kept. I don’t know of any relatives of mine who died at the Somme or Ieper, but I bet there is at least one. My next task is to do a bit of family history research to see if there are any. My colleague, Keith Rettig has German ancestry and he found some Rettigs on the wall at Langemark – maybe there’s a connection – who knows. Not knowing whether I had any relatives involved or not did not stop me from weeping at Tyne Cot -
You were right about the coaches. We did not see too many coach parties, but when we did they certainly made their presence felt. Made us thankful that we chose the self drive option at a quieter time of year.
The Ariane Hotel was excellent in every respect. The Royal Picardie was not quite of the same standard, but good nonetheless. Your guides are substantial, easy to follow and informative. One small point is that we got a bit confused going into Ieper -
We felt that the Belgians were a bit more customer friendly than the French and that they were perhaps a bit more commercially aware. It's a difficult point, I guess, because so much of the Somme is working farmland and the integrity of the battlefields needs to be maintained, but maybe the French could invest a little more in facilities for the battlefield tourist. Compared to Ieper, Albert has rather scarce amenities. But this is a quibble,and obviously nothing to do with you, both tours were first class.
So, two very satisfied customers. We will definitely be back.
As one Englishman we met at Thiepval said, "this used to be a passion for me, now it's simply an obsession." just about sums it up.
Thanks and regards
Email from Roz Webster, Managing Director of Cream Travel, London, following Self-
We have returned from the Battlefields tour and defrosted!
It was fantastic. When I first got the paperwork I admit I was overwhelmed by the amount of reading and wondered if we’d ever get anywhere but it was so easy to use and once we were in situ it was very user friendly.
Hotel Basilique perfect, and we ate there one night at the L’Auberge the other night. We had drinks and lunch in a rather non-
On our way back to Calais we stopped at the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge. It was a one of the highlights I must admit (snow covered ground and a misty winters morning – quite breathtaking). Obviously not quite within the remit of the 2 day Somme tour but definitely worth recommending to people who have a bit of spare time. We found that because we had the places to ourselves, and probably also because it was so cold, we had more than enough time to fit in everything we wanted to see.
A huge success, so thank you very much
Somme Battlefield Tours Ltd
19 Old Road, Wimborne, Dorset, UK BH21 1EJ
Tel: 01202 880211 or 07776 195773