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“Flanders and the Somme”

Flanders Battlefield Tours
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Glossop, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Flanders and the Somme”
Reviewed October 11, 2012

Friends had previously urged me to visit WW1 sites and when my wifes sister rang and said were we interested we said yes.I had only superficial knowledge of WW1 and picked Flanders Battlefield Tours from the internet and rang Genevra. FBT then put together three full day tours for the four of us, I will not relate the details but will say that our guides Jacques and Andre made the whole experience absolutely worthwhile. Their pleasant easy manner and perfect English coupled with their evident and profound respect for the millions who fell was coupled with an incredible grasp of the history and detail of the areas we visited. I can truly say they inspired us all to learn more about the whole of WW1.
One of the highlites of the tours for me was the beautiful Vimy Ridge memorial to the Canadians who gave their lives for us in Europe. In fact I felt quite guilty at my lack of appreciation of the amazing part played by all our allies from far beyond Europe, Canadians, Australians, South Africans, Indians, Chinese, and many more.
Although we had no relatives, that we were aware of, to search for we were intersted in finding more detail about a VC winner from our sons regiment. From remarkably little evidence we were presented with a detailed history of the soldier and were able to visit his grave.
The last visit on the third day, a beautiful sunny afternoon, was to Tyne Cot cemetery the emotions cannot be descrbed you must visit to understand!
I can only thank my luck for picking FBT out of the internet air, but there luck ends for the absolute professional and personal sevice we found from FBT was second to none and for that we thank Genevra, Jacques and Andre most sincerely.

Visited August 2012
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1 Thank robert c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Australia
Level 6 Contributor
290 reviews
93 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
“Touching and unexpected”
Reviewed October 7, 2012

Four of us (two couples travelling together) booked Jacques of Flanders Battlefield Tours as our guide for a four hour tour of the Messines Battle area. My uncle had been killed in this battle in 1917, and he was buried in Croonaert Chapel Cemetery. When arranging the tour I mentioned that if it was possible I would like to see his grave.
We were picked up a few minutes to nine in the morning and driven to the battle area. We were shown various military advantage points as Jacques explained how the battle was fought. After some time (about an hour) we were shown the German trenches at Bayernwald and how the British attacked up hill. It was then that Jacques took us to the small cemetery where my uncle is buried. I was surprised to see how small it is with ‘only’ 66 graves. It is in the middle of a field which is farmed for crops (wheat I think). It is not a church cemetery just a well maintained area behind a small wall that remembers those who died. I found the grave of my uncle and this was when Jacques offered me a small white cross and a single poppy to place on the grave.
As I did so, Jacques quoted the words of the ‘Ode of Remembrance’ by Laurence Binyon - They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: – it was a very moving moment for us all, which will be remembered by my wife & I and our friends for a very long time. The thoughtfulness of Flanders Battlefield Tours, and Jacques in particular, offering the cross and poppy was something that I never expected. At the end of the tour I was presented with a folder, which contained all the known details of my uncle, a copy his service record and details of the part that his regiment (Cheshire Regiment) played in the Messines Battle. Being interested in military history the four hour tour was stimulating, and ended all too quickly as we were returned to our hotel. If you want a battlefield tour to be brought ‘alive’ then Jacques of Flanders Battlefield Tours is the man for you.

Visited September 2012
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Thank Geoff W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stafford, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Absolutely brilliant”
Reviewed October 1, 2012

First class tour - our tour guide for the tour of the Ieper North Salient was (we now know) Jacques, whose knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject was truly inspirational.

Despite driving rain and a strong wind (the more poignant because it gave us a better idea of the terrible weather conditions the troops had to endure, let alone the fighting) he took time and trouble to show us key elements of the battlefields and to explain the overall strategies, such as they now, with hindsight, seem to have been. This was a memorable day for us - neither of us knew of any of our respective families who had been involved in the fighting in the Salient, but it brought home so vividly and effectively the hell that the troops must have endured, the horrific slaughter of men and women on both sides, and why those who took part are so deserving of everlasting respect. It also showed why each side fought so resolutely for the advantage of the higher ground.

Thank you Jacques for a wonderful afternoon with you - you were inspirational and so knowledgeable - we would recommend your tour to anyone who has an interest in the Flanders/Somme conflicts.

Visited September 2012
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Thank Alan649010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The original oracle of the Ypres Salient - Jacques.”
Reviewed September 30, 2012 via mobile

Having not tried any of the other tour companies I cannot compare but I suggest that unless they dress in period costume & use a time machine to take you back 97 years, they will not be surpassing the experience, personal tailored research & passion for their work as demonstrated by Jacques.
My wife & 2 girls (10 & 14) booked our day long tour on the recommendation of Benoit (owner of the Menin Gate House & CO of the Last Post committee) & like all his recommendations we were not disappointed. In between booking & the day itself, Gen had researched my Great Grandfather & his cemetery & place of death which were added to our itinerary.
Personal accounts from both sides were all supplied by Jacques @ all the various sites we visited, who explained the battles when, why, what happened & why they were especially important to the various countries involved.
Lunch was fresh rolls with fresh meats & salads - perfect to make up your own after visiting the museum with reconstructed trenches & complete with cats under your feet (you'll see).
To do the rounds by yourself is cheating yourself of the most important part - the stories, the special, unusual events that hit home & bring a lump to your throat of pride & thanks to those who have gone before us.
When we arrived @ the small cemetery where my Great Grandfathers grave was, Jacques produced a dozen pages of research showing aerial photographs from 1915 of the area, a copy of the report of his death & more things that I hadn't found on ancestry.com. Jacques read out the ode to remembrance (?) & gave us a small wooden cross c/w poppy to write on & leave next to the headstone. A simple "thank you" was all I thought of but it said it all. We then walked to where he was killed.
In summary, Jacques should be on the top ten list for national treasures of Belgium. Thank you again Jacques. It was a privilege to have the day with you.

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Thank Andrewktm450
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bridgend, Wales
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Tasteful, Well-Informed and Second-to-None Customer Service”
Reviewed September 28, 2012

A visit to Ieper had been on the to-do list for over 25 years, my Father having spoken so much about it following his war time experiences but, unfortunately, not getting back himself. We undertook the Grand Tour and were expertly guided by Jack. However, despite protestations from us and with the consent of companions on the tour, he willingly diverted off route for us to visit another cemetery having learned something about us from a conversation.

Having undertaken tours all over the world, this is way above the norm... a guide that does not quote the guide books but has in-depth knowledge of the subject, knows the area intimately, handles very difficult subject matter with the utmost dignity and takes time to understand what customers are seeking to gain from the tour. Brilliant.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank AlB56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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