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WWI and WWII Battlefield Tours

In Remembrance - WWI and WWII Battlefield Tours

 

France, Belgium, Holland, Italy and UK's Home Front

 

Folks seeking to discover the experiences of a loved one may find our small, intimate journeys the way to go. Our guides are historians and/or retired military with a personal interest in the tours that they lead. If you wish to follow the path of a fallen loved one, have a student group, are a history buff or even if you are just curious about learning about these events that changed our world history, please come and join us on what is sure to be a poignant, informative and enjoyable journey of discovery.

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In Remembrance - WWI and WWII Battlefield Tours
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Commonwealth Experience, WWI & WWII in France & Belgium

May 06th - May 11th 2018
September 23rd - September 28th 2018

Experience the battle sites of both world wars, from the Normandy Beaches and Dieppe to the Great War reminders on the Somme and Ypres Salient. Our tour will trace the paths of the Commonwealth troops, focusing on the brave contributions of the American, Canadian and Australian divisions. Do you have a loved one who was lost here? Advise us and we will endeavour to incorporate sites of your personal interest, seeking out specific battle and/or grave sites as time and distance will permit. Folks seeking to discover the experiences of a loved one may find our small, intimate journeys the way to go. Our guides are retired military and/or historians with a personal interest in the tours that they lead.

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The Friendly Invasion, Masters of the Air, The Mighty Eighth 4 day Tour

Custom trip - As you please!

East Anglia, just a stone's throw from the capital of London, yet an area largely undiscovered by visitors. Here you can walk in the footsteps of the pilgrims fathers, Romans, Viking, Queen Boudicca, Anglo Saxons and Normans. It was here in the ancient corner, amid this history, that the US Air Force servicemen, those who fought and died defending our freedom and democracy, settled and fought the Nazis during WW II. Discover a rich, green land so indicative of England, a rural paradise of 'higgledy-piggledy' villages and market towns largely unchanged since Gainsbourough painted them or since the brave of the Mighty Eighth flew over them.

 

"The U.S. military presence in the United Kingdom during World War II was immense. Between 1941 and 1945, three million U.S. servicemen and women flowed through Great Britain (with the Yanks taking 50,000 British war brides and a few war grooms in passing). By itself, the U.S. Army Air Forces contributed 500,000 personnel to this “friendly invasion,” with 350,000 of those in the Eighth Air Force alone. Compared with U.S. service personnel in other regions of England, the Eighth Air Force arrived earlier, stayed later, and settled more heavily in East Anglia. In 1944, one in seven residents of Suffolk County was American." - by John Fleischman, AIR & SPACE MAGAZINE

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Walking the Spirit of…Jazz Age Paris & the Harlem Hellfighters, Heroes of WWI

May 28th - June 01st 2018
July 09th - July 13th 2018

First World War Centenary 2014 – 2018 – Special Tours in Remembrance

 

11 November, 2018 is Armistice Day in France

 

The US 369th Infantry Regiment, better known by their nickname “Harlem Hellfighters,” were one of the most successful units in the American Expeditionary Force of the First World War. Among the first units in the US armed forces to have black officers in addition to its all black enlisted corps, the 369th compiled quite an impressive war record. Formed in New York in 1913 and dispatched to France in late 1917, the Hellfighters rejuvenated depleted French troops, never lost a foot of ground or had a man taken prisoner. For service in the First World War, 171 members of the 369th were awarded the Legion of Honour and many Distinguished Service Crosses. For exceptional bravery, the Hellfighters were also awarded the prestigious Croix de Guerre, the first Americans to achieve what is France’s highest military honour.

 

Originally overlooked in America, the Hellfighters received more recognition on the home front for their musical qualities but their military service began a change of attitude. At the end of the war, the 369th returned to New York City and paraded through the city where thousands, of all races, lined the streets to celebrate their achievements.

 

The regimental band under leadership of James R Europe took France by storm, introducing the new and exciting rhythms of jazz to the continent, spurring Paris in particular on its continued love of jazz music. The 369th Regiment’s band were highly regarded and relied upon to boost morale for all Allied troops, which can be the difference between a battle being won or lost.

 

On this tour, follow the 369th through the musical streets of Paris and onto the front line, where they spent 191 days in combat, longer than any other American unit. On the battlefield, focus on the areas northeast of Paris including Belleau Wood, Chateau Thierry and the Meuse-Argonne where these brave soldiers fought in the trenches alongside French regiments. This area is a popular tourist destination, in the heart of Champagne Country, so we have the opportunity for a sample!

 

This one-of-a-kind tour is a partnership between Special Group Tours, which specializes in small group touring of fascinating destinations and themes in the UK and Europe, and Walking The Spirit Tours, the pioneers of Black heritage tourism in Paris and France.

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The Friendly Invasion: The Mighty Eighth & Dambusters 9 day Tour

Custom trip - As you please!

"The Friendly Invasion" of US Airmen in East Anglia, Cambridge; "Dambusters" in Lincolnshire & Peak District

 

East Anglia, just a stone's throw from the capital of London, yet an area largely undiscovered by visitors. Here you can walk in the footsteps of the pilgrims fathers, Romans, Viking, Queen Boudicca, Anglo Saxons and Normans. It was here in the ancient corner, amid this history, that the US Air Force servicemen, those who fought and died defending our freedom and democracy, settled and fought the Nazis during WW II. Discover a rich, green land so indicative of England, a rural paradise of 'higgledy-piggledy' villages and market towns largely unchanged since Gainsbourough painted them or since the brave of the Mighty Eighth flew over them.

 

"The U.S. military presence in the United Kingdom during World War II was immense. Between 1941 and 1945, three million U.S. servicemen and women flowed through Great Britain (with the Yanks taking 50,000 British war brides and a few war grooms in passing). By itself, the U.S. Army Air Forces contributed 500,000 personnel to this “friendly invasion,” with 350,000 of those in the Eighth Air Force alone. Compared with U.S. service personnel in other regions of England, the Eighth Air Force arrived earlier, stayed later, and settled more heavily in East Anglia. In 1944, one in seven residents of Suffolk County was American." - by John Fleischman, AIR & SPACE MAGAZINE

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Cambridge & Duxford Airfield/Aviation Museum THURSDAY Day Trip

Day Trip!

London Escapes with a Difference! Small Group Touring, from 2 to 16 guests

 

Special Themes: Gardens, Literary Heritage, Downton Abbey, Antiques, Tudors, Britain at War...

 

What makes us different? SGT strives to get you off the beaten track so you can have an authentic experience, the opportunity to mingle with the locals. We do not like 'whistle stops' and it is our goal to have guests off of the vehicle exploring as much as possible.

 

Your SMALL GROUP day trip accommodates from a minimum of 2 guests to a max of just 16 guests per departure. Travel in (dependant on participant numbers) a standard car, MPV/SUV or mini-coach.

 

DEPARTURE POINT: Novotel Hammersmith, 1 Shortlands, London W6 (approx 5 minutes walk from Hammersmith tube station/District & Piccadilly lines; Mall/King Street exit, go right out of the station onto Hammersmith Rd then right onto Shortlands)

 

DEPARTURE TIME: 09:00

 

 

 

All scheduled day trips go out weekly with a minimum of 2 guests per travel date. Also available any day/date for private departures, subject to vehicle and driver/guide availability. Private departures cost will depend on how many in your party/size of vehicle.

 

SGT DAY TRIPS Year Round Departures (Saturdays, as noted)

 

MONDAYS    Shakespeare Country: Stratford-Upon-Avon & Cotswolds Villages...including Downton Abbey villages

 

TUESDAYS   Jane Austen’s Hampshire: Chawton & Winchester

 

WEDNESDAYS Jane Austen’s Bath & Lacock

 

THURSDAYS Cambridge & IWM Duxford RAF Aviation Museum

 

FRIDAYS      London Antiques Markets & Globe Theatre

 

SATURDAYS ‘Garden of England’ Sampler: Sissinghurst & Great Dixter (April - September)

 

SATURDAYS Heroes of WWII: Royal Air Force & Codebreakers of Bletchley Park (October - March)

 

SUNDAYS    Royal Gardens/Winter Hothouse Gardens: Kew & RHS Wisley 

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Canadian European Battlefields, WWI & WWII: Normandy, Somme, Ypes Salient, Vimy Ridge, ‘Operation Market Garden’

Custom trip - As you please!

They came between 1914 and 1918, from across the seas in answer to the desperate call of the Motherland. They came as representatives of a dominion; they left as representatives of a new Nation. Then in 1939 they again heeded the call, this time to help liberate Europe from the Nazi horde.

 

This tour visits some of the most memorable and important sites where young Canadians fought and died for their new county’s honour and the countries of their ancestors. Their ferocity and courage, on both land and in the air, earned them legendary status. They were often ‘shock troops’ who achieved victories where others had failed. The names of the various sites are etched into Canadian history for all time; Vimy Ridge, Juno Beach, Courcellette are but a few. This is as much a pilgrimage as a tour, honoring those whose actions helped ‘The Forging of a Nation.’

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Heroes of WWII: Royal Air Force & Codebreakers of Bletchley Park WINTER SATURDAY Day Trip

Day Trip!

London Escapes with a Difference! Small Group Touring, from 2 to 16 guests

 

Special Themes: Gardens, Literary Heritage, Downton Abbey, Antiques, Tudors, Britain at War...

 

What makes us different? SGT strives to get you off the beaten track so you can have an authentic experience, the opportunity to mingle with the locals. We do not like 'whistle stops' and it is our goal to have guests off of the vehicle exploring as much as possible.

 

Your SMALL GROUP day trip accommodates from a minimum of 2 guests to a max of just 16 guests per departure. Travel in (dependant on participant numbers) a standard car, MPV/SUV or mini-coach.

 

DEPARTURE POINT: Novotel Hammersmith, 1 Shortlands, London W6 (approx 5 minutes walk from Hammersmith tube station/District & Piccadilly lines; Mall/King Street exit, go right out of the station onto Hammersmith Rd then right onto Shortlands)

 

DEPARTURE TIME: 09:00

 

 

 

All scheduled day trips go out weekly with a minimum of 2 guests per travel date. Also available any day/date for private departures, subject to vehicle and driver/guide availability. Private departures cost will depend on how many in your party/size of vehicle.

 

SGT DAY TRIPS Year Round Departures (Saturdays, as noted)

 

MONDAYS    Shakespeare Country: Stratford-Upon-Avon & Cotswolds Villages...including Downton Abbey villages

 

TUESDAYS   Jane Austen’s Hampshire: Chawton & Winchester

 

WEDNESDAYS Jane Austen’s Bath & Lacock

 

THURSDAYS Cambridge & IWM Duxford RAF Aviation Museum

 

FRIDAYS      London Antiques Markets & Globe Theatre

 

SATURDAYS ‘Garden of England’ Sampler: Sissinghurst & Great Dixter (April - September)

 

SATURDAYS Heroes of WWII: Royal Air Force & Codebreakers of Bletchley Park (October - March)

 

SUNDAYS    Royal Gardens/Winter Hothouse Gardens: Kew & RHS Wisley 

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Dickens' Kent: Rochester & Chatham Historic Dockyards Day Trip

Day Trip!

Rochester is a gem of a city with a cathedral and Norman castle. It overflows with Dickens sites. Chatham Historic Dockyard is a maritime museum covering over 80 acres located on part of what was the Royal Navy's main docks for several hundred years. Dickens loved the Docks, returned often as an adult, and referred to them as a "place of wonderment."

Enjoy a fabulous day out from the capital!

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Ian Fleming, the 'Birth' of James Bond and the Battle for Dieppe

Custom trip - As you please!

For decades, the Raid on Dieppe was considered to be nothing but a general rehearsal for the real thing to come in Normandy. But was that really the only objective to off-set the immense loss of lives? Join us and explore the possibility of the Dieppe raid being a cover for a “pinch” by the Commando’s to steal the German Enigma code machine. Find out about Ian Fleming’s involvement, from the Whitehall offices where he encountered the real life 'characters' that inspired the James Bond stories to the double agents from the XX-Committee that would provide him with the 00-moniker used in the naval department.

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Wartime Kent & Ian Fleming/James Bond Weekend...including Dover & Canterbury

Custom trip - As you please!

Mr Churchill passed away at age 90 on 24 January, 1965. Personal items from Churchill's family including the last photograph of the wartime leader are now on display for the first time in his home of Chartwell. Explore the life and times of this great leader, the man who led Britain through its darkest hours.

 

On this short tour, see Britain’s Homefront during WWII, amazing countryside, Churchill’s beloved home and gardens of Chartwell, places of Ian Fleming’s inspiration, some James Bond film sites, historic Dover Castle and the charming town of Canterbury with its famed cathedral.

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Roman Britain, England and Wales: A Classic Route

Custom trip - As you please!

The Romans ruled Britain for nearly 400 years. It wasn't an easy task - Queen Boudicea inflicted the heaviest defeat on Imperial Rome but, ultimately, the local Celtic tribes were no match for their organized military precision. Romans settled in, built highly decorated villas resplendent with mosaics, ornate gardens with fine statuary, extensive towns, bathhouses, amphitheaters and temples. They even left us with their language! Despite the intervening 1600 years with Saxon, Viking, Norman and Mediaeval settlements often built on top of Roman buildings, there's still plenty of physical evidence of their occupation to discover.

 

This tour, while focused on historical and ancient Roman remains, visits some of the prettiest parts of the UK. Tour companions who might not be quite as keen on the main theme will find plenty of distractions!

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Maritime Britain

Custom trip - As you please!

"Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves..."  This sceptred isle, set in a silver sea, has long depended upon its prowess as a maritime power. History records that, in the context of its time, it was the greatest maritime power ever. But in addition to the great fighting ships and traditions established by Nelson, Penn and Jellicoe, Britain's maritime past is rich with other seafaring traditions. It has been a nation of sea going explorers - Cabot, Raleigh, Drake and Cook.  It has been a nation of pirates and privateers, real and imaginary - Captain Kidd, Henry Morgan and Long John Silver.  It's also been home to unnamed smugglers and 'wreckers'.  It once boasted the world's largest commercial marine fleet.  It was, and still to some extent is, a nation of fishermen plying their trade from a hundred ports and harbours.