- Researching the war service of Ioan Gruffud’s Great Great Uncle, Rhys Griffiths, for BBC Wales ‘Coming Home’
- New BBC Two series: The Somme 1916 – From Both Sides of the Wire
- Attending the unveiling of a new memorial to commemorate the losses of the 1st Battalion Essex Regiment and the Essex Yeomanry at Monchy-le-Preux
- New battlefield tour announced! ‘Bristol on the Western Front’ 7-10 October 2016
- Local War Memorial now granted ‘listed’ status: success for Fishponds Church of England Academy
"Your gift is in putting your research in such a moving way that it comes alive, never to be forgotten"- Grace Acott
One Day Arras Tour
One Day Arras Tour
Standing between the 1916 Somme battles and the Third Battle of Ypres in the second half of 1917 the Battle of Arras is strangely overlooked by many battlefield tourists and historians. Despite this omission it is a fascinating battlefield to visit and is far quieter than the more popular tourist spots.
Battle commenced on Easter Monday, 9 April 1917. The aim was to push the Germans from the hitherto impregnable Vimy Ridge and drive east towards Cambrai. This British effort was the precursor to a larger French offensive launched a week later on the Aisne. The initial attack, despite taking place in driving wind and snow were, on the main, successful with Vimy Ridge falling to the Canadian Corps and one sector recording a spectacular advance of up to 3.5 miles in one day.
However, the momentum could not be maintained and stiffening German resistance and adoption of new elastic defence methods soon turned the tide against the British efforts. Despite repeated attacks the line barely moved any significant amount from the first few days of battle to its bitter end in mid-May.
Encompassing the First, Second and Third Battles of the Scarpe the Arras offensive was the most deadly battle of the war with a daily casualty rate of over 4,000 men – higher than the Somme, Passchendaele and the Last Hundred Days of 1918. Discover the Arras battlefields with me and let me show you many forgotten areas of the front.
Possible stops could include:
- Vimy Ridge – Canadian Memorial. Preserved trenches, craters & tunnels
- Roclincourt & German cemetery at Saint-Laurent-Blangy
- 9th (Scottish) Division Memorial & Point du Jour Military Cemetery for Grimsby Chums found in 2001
- Gavrelle for 63rd (Royal Naval) Division and Oppy for 31st Division and Hull Pals
- Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery & Arras Memorial to the Missing
Lunch in Arras
- Fampoux – Seaforths Cross & Donald Mackintosh VC
- Roeux – site of Chemical Works & Brown’s Copse Cemetery
- Across the River Scarpe to Monchy-le-Preux & Infantry Hill
- Guemappe & Wancourt
- Hindenburg Line pillboxes
- Bullecourt or Wellington Quarry