When you explore Wallonia’s soft green hillsides, rolling fields and landscapes fringed with rivers, woodland and pretty farmhouses it’s hard to imagine that this tranquil land runs deep with stories of wartime past. Three of the most important conflicts of the last 200 years – each of which, by historical coincidence, was either wholly or partially fought in Wallonia.
Over 200 years ago, it was Napoleon’s last victory at Ligny against the Prussians only to be defeated 2 days later on 18 June 1815 by Wellington & Blucher’s armies. Bonaparte had finally met his match at the battle marking the end of the Napoleonic wars.
The region saw the very start of WW1, when the city of Liège was invaded by the Germans in August 1914. It also witnessed some of the fiercest battles of WW1, including the Battle of the Frontiers, and also the Battle of Mons, the first to pit the British army against the German invader. It was in Mons that the first British shot of the war was fired, and that the first and last British soldiers to lose their lives on the Western Front.
WW2 is also a defining aspect of Belgian war history from May 1940 with the Germans’ attack on the Forts around Liege and Hitler’s HQ in Bruly de Pesche to lead the French campaign (May-June 1940) until January 1945 with the end of the Battle of the Bulge. Just as Wallonia staged the last military engagements of the First World War, it took centre stage again towards the end of the Second World War, when the Germans, apparently on the brink of defeat on the Western Front, mounted a daring counter-attack in the Ardennes shortly before Christmas 1944 and briefly created a salient between the American and British armies.
Everywhere you go, from east to west, from forest to field, war history is hardwired into the landscape. From immersive and contemporary war museums with impressive collections and multi sensory re-enactments to poignant war cemeteries filled with the well kept graves of allied and enemy soldiers. Even old buildings bear the scar of its significant role with farmhouses still pockmarked with bullet holes and rifles embedded in tree roots. Listening to the locals share their region’s stories – both tragic and heroic of evacuated villages, vicious battles and the efforts of resistance to protect and defend their country makes you realise how important Belgium’s role in wartime history really is.
Discover the indus experience – a collection of carefully crafted holidays designed with you in mind – offering you an outstanding selection of individual and group tours from our exclusive brochures. We also specialise crafting tailor-made experiences for discerning travellers. Our expertise has been recognised with our numerous awards for excellence.
We are proud to be a partner of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides and look forward to assisting and arranging more engaging and experiential battlefield and family history tours and pilgrimages.
Let Indus Experiences, ATOL bonded tour operator organise everything from flights, transfers, transportation, hotels and local guides to allow the Tour Guide to concentrate on the core business.
Founded in 2014 Jersey War Tours (JWT) specialises in private tours of WWII sites in Jersey. The places we visit are off the beaten path, and all provide a truly custom and personal insight into the Second World War Occupation of the Channel Islands. Our tours are a perfect complement to understanding the history of the D-Day invasion, which took place less than 30 miles away.
JWT is an independent, non-government funded tour & research business. Funds raised from our tours directly support our continuing work on digitally recording all WW2 sites, which includes the use of 3d mapping technology.
After the celebrations and commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the Parachute Regiment’s Orsogna Battle Honour (Casoli, December 2013) and the first Battlefield Study visit by the 4th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment along the Gustav Line (October 2014), the promoters of these events have been given the responsibility by the SATAM VIAGGI SRL (which is the travel division of Gruppo La Panoramica) to set up a new section in charge of understanding the relationship between tourism, war remembrance and memorialized battlefields.
At the beginning of 2017, after a gestation period, the Satam Viaggi officially launched HISTORY & GEO TOURS, worldwide journey in the footsteps of history . The primary task of this new branch is to promote and undertake remembrance tourism, battlefield tours, geological & natural world tours, and cultural tours in general.
We are a history tours specialist with over 20 years’ experience of organising successful and inspirational school tours. Our programmes have been developed in line with the curriculum to ensure your tour facilitates and reinforces classroom teaching, inspires students and provides valuable cultural and social experiences.
We walk the battlefields. In our view the best way of understanding warfare from down the ages is get out on the ground. Our scheduled tour groups rarely exceed 20 participants, it ensures a quality guide to customer ratio and helps promote a convivial atmosphere and foster lasting friendships, many of our customers returning to tour together year after year. We guarantee personal requests that are far more than a cemetery visit, they are about putting that soldier into context, by remembering one we remember them all. Our Guides are not just Guides, they are your hosts, tour leader and entertainer. Our tours are led by badged members of the Guild of Battlefield Guides. This standard is now the established benchmark for quality in the craft of battlefield guiding.
Equity is a leading provider of battlefield tours to the school market. Its specialists have put together a number of itineraries specific to the history or relevant countries and can also tailor make a tour to the specific needs of a group.
Equity, together with UCL Institute of Education, is delivering the government’s secondary school initiative as part of the First World War National Centenary Education Programme. All state maintained schools in England teaching Key Stage 3, 4 and/or 5 are entitled to free teacher training and a free 4 day Western Front tour for one teacher and two students. Running through to spring 2019, this education initiative develops students’ key skills and values through enquiry based learning, and creates a legacy through their post-tour community project. Cross-curricular linkage with English, art and maths make this more than just a history programme.
With over 50 years’ experience organising group tours to Europe, Galloway provide expertise and peace of mind to help you organise your school, local community or social group’s tour of the Western Front.
As well as their own fleet of coaches and knowledgeable drivers, the company also employs a military historian to ensure the planned itinerary is relevant to your own specific requirements.