The Great War in Weppes: A new remembrance tour

The Great War in Weppes: A new remembrance tour

After launching the Battlefield tours in Ypres in 2007, the Lille (Nord-pas-de-Calais region) tourism office is developing an offer on the theme of memorial tourism. Each Sunday starting April 4, a new tour leaving from Lille explores Weppes, including the new cemetery of the Commonwealth at Fromelles.

The first stop is made in Fromelles:
It is here that six communal graves were discovered, containing the remains of some 250 British and Australian soldiers buried during this terrible battle of July 19, 1916. The Commonwealth has made this a military cemetery, the first established by the War Graves Commission in 50 years!

The official inauguration, very much anticipated by the public and by the English and Australian media, will take place July 19, 2010 in the presence of, notably, a member of the British royal family.

The visit continues with a stop at the Australian memorial, then to the military cemeteries of the Trou Aid Post and of the rue Pétillon. The circuit also pays homage to the other countries engaged in the combat alongside French and British troops, stopping at the Portuguese cemetery of Richebourg and the Indian memorial of La Couture. At La Basée, the guide evokes the reconstruction of the towns after the war.

Finally, on the return trip, the guide signals the presence of German cemeteries.

All along the circuit, your guide will mix grand and lesser-known history, telling of daily life during the war and revealing numerous little-known facts.

Visit in partnership with Atout Nord and the Office du Tourisme of the communities of the pays des Weppes.

Practical information:
Tour by car, every Sunday from April 4 to September 26, 2010 (except September 5, which is the day of the Braderies de Lille).
Departure at 9:30 a.m. from the Lille office of tourism (place Rihour) or 9:50 a.m. from the Fournes-en-Weppes tourism office (Place de l’Eglise).
Duration: 3.5 hours
Commentary in French and English
Price: 44€ per person
Reservations can be made at the office of Tourism of Lille

About the battle of Fromelles
The battle of Fromelles was the first important battle on the western front that involved Australian troops. It is also considered as the 24 bloodiest hours in the history of Australian military history. On the night of the 19th-20th of July 1916, there were 5,533 dead, wounded, or disappeared among the Australians and 1,547 among the English. The German losses were estimated at at least 1,600 men. For many, this battle was as tragic as it was useless. There was only one diversion maneuver that benefited the great offensive of the Somme, which was raging 80 km to the south. The battle brought no strategic advantages or lasting benefit.

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