It was a decade ago when Phil Hora said goodbye to the beaches of Australia for a new life in France on the Western Front.
Together with his wife and daughter, the family moved to the charming old town of Arras and Sacred Ground Tours (SGT) was slowly created.
Their uniquely Australian battlefield tours are for singles, couples and small groups who are keen to learn more about this country’s contribution in France and Belgium during the First World War. Whether you are a leisure traveller, reconnecting with ancestors, or simply there to experience where history happened, SGT have a tour for you.
To get a proper and insightful understanding of the defining moments of the Diggers contribution to the war effort, it is important to tour the Western Front with a qualified guide – and hopefully an Australian one.“Our aim is to leave clients a little more educated, moved and proud of Australia’s achievements on the Western Front,” says Phil.
Arras is a quick 50-minute train ride north of Paris and the pick-up and drop-off for tours is at guests’ accommodation in Arras or at the train station. Arras is full of charm, history and is ideally located in the centre of the Western Front. SGT can recommend accommodation, hotels or guest houses that previous clients have stayed at.
The small group tours offered by SGT allow for a personal experience, following a relative’s footsteps or visiting a special grave.
The company offers a choice of three uniquely Australian day tours that can be booked individually, or combined for a two- or three-day visit to cover all of Australia’s major action across the Western Front.
The ‘Out in the Somme Day Tour’ takes guests south-west from Arras down through the rolling hills of the Somme and Villers-Bretonneux where travellers will spend the morning. In the afternoon the tour moves into selected areas of the Battle of the Somme, which saw massive casualties on the allied side on the very first day.
This contrasts to the allied battles of 1918 where, after stopping the massive German thrust known as ‘Operation Michael’, the Germans were driven back so convincingly, that they knew it was all over.
This tour runs every Monday and Thursday, but other days are available on request.
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