A Battlefield Tour of the Lochnagar Crater

August 28th, 2014 admin

There are so many battlefield and memorial sites to visit in France and Belgium that, in order not to become overwhelmed by them and end up visiting none, an itinerary is essential!

Of course, travelling on an organised battlefield coach tour with an experienced operator is another way of doing it. They know the most popular sites that people like to see and plan their journeys around Normandy and Ypres with this is mind.

One such popular location is the Lochnagar Crater, a massive scar on the landscape outside the town of Albert, Picardy, which has survived as a memorial to all who fought and died in the first world war.

The Lochnagar Crater was created on the first day of the Somme Battle, by the 179th Tunnelling Company of the Royal Engineers on 1st July 1916 – the sappers.

The plucky and inventive 179th exploded four large mines in tunnels within enemy territory, collapsing German dug-outs and creating a hole in the La Boisselle countryside of around 91 metres in diameter (300 feet) and 21 metres (70 feet) deep.

Lochnagar Crater is a privately owned first world war battlefield memorial or, as owner Richard Dunning describes on his website, “unique Garden of Remembrance”.  A memorial ceremony is held yearly on the anniversary of its creation, the first day of the Somme.

The Somme, as might be imagined, has a great many memorial and battlefield sites suitable for inclusion in an organised tour, which can be the best way to see these locations.

For example, experienced guides from Battlefield Tours, a family run business working in partnership with The War Research Society, looks after tourists, from their pick up point in the UK until they are dropped off again. Travel on the coach tours is free via National Express, as is entrance to all the museums and historical locations visited.

As well as coach tours the company has also devised a battlefield tour schedule further afield for those who wish to fly to destinations such as the Channel Islands, Malta and Poland.

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