Belgian Tourist Office – Wallonia
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.
Battle Honours has been delivering class leading battlefield tours for 18 years for the discerning enthusiasts and military alike.
Known for their innovative approach to Guiding and their unbridled passion for their subject, owners Clive Harris and Julian Whippy are extremely proud of their association with the International Guild of Battlefield Guides which echoes their thirst for a quality narrative befitting of those who fought and died across history. Battle Honours are the chosen tour partner for The British Commission for Military History, The Western Front Association, The Gallipoli Association, The Salonika Society, The Royal Hospital Chelsea and the US National WW1 Museum of Kansas City.
In the Footsteps
In The Footsteps is proud to be a partner of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides.
In The Footsteps was established in 2007 and specialises in delivering battlefield, historic, and heritage tours. We are a UK market leader, providing tours to individuals, couples, families, and small groups as well as tours for larger organisations and groups wanting to explore battlefields, historic, and heritage sites around the world.
All our tours are designed to suit the customer’s needs and our specialist tailor-made service is totally flexible; you tell us where you want to go, when and for how long, and we design a tour just for you. Our award-winning service is guaranteed to meet and even exceed your expectations.
Our Battlefield Studies are specifically designed packages for military formations and units. These are different from our battlefield tours and are designed in consultation with the formation or unit to meet the specific outcomes of the commander.
With In The Footsteps it is what you want that matters!
Anglia Tours (NGT)
Next Generation Travel Group is the innovative parent company and driving force behind the UK’s fastest growing educational travel brands; offering a wide range of tours and sports events in the UK, Europe and Worldwide, for young people aged 10-21 years at Schools, Colleges and Universities as well as British Army establishments, recruits and junior soldiers and adult groups. All our tours are designed to open minds and empower learning.
Next Generation Travel consists of many leading brands in educational travel, including WST Travel, FHT, Study and Sport Experiences and Anglia Tours – the market leader in fully guided history tours to key European destinations.
We are proud to be a partner of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides and ensuring that our guides and tour managers operate to the same exceptional levels.