After meeting your guide at Arras you will head off to the Somme Battlefields. On route your guide will give you a comprehensive time line of WW1, from the causes to the outcome.
Your first port of call is Lochnagar Crater, here the Germans met the French Army on the 'race to the see', and due to the proximity of the trenches extensive mining occurred. The crater there is the largest of the 17 mines that were detonated on the opening offensive of the Battle of the Somme.
You will then make your way to Caterpillar Valley Cemetery and New Zealand Memorial to the Missing, where the Unknown Warrior was exhumed in 2004. From the New Zealand Memorial you will get an excellent view of High Wood and Flers - this is the area where the New Zealanders went into action in the Battle of the Somme 15th September 1916. At the Thiepval Visitors Centre you have chance for a comfort break, an excellent film showing original footage from War, here the Somme Offensive is set out in an easy to digest format, there is also an excellent boutique for those essential fridge magnets.
After a light lunch you will make your way to Beaumont Hamel and the preserved trenches. Here you will see the battlefield laid out in front of you, you will learn about the tactics of trench fighting and how we used our artillery, the day to day struggle to survive. Mailly Maillet is thankful to the New Zealanders, thanks to those soldiers in 1918 the Germans were held back and it never fell into German hands until 1940.
You will hear stories of the tunnelers and see a house used as a dressing station by the New Zealanders. On route to Arras you will see La Signy farm, scene of the New Zealanders' success against the German offensive of March 1918. Follow the path of the German withdraw to the Hindenburg line in 1917 to Arras, where you will visit the Carrière Wellington (underground tunnels dedicated to the work of the New Zealanders) A fascinating tour of the underground quarries and film setting out the Battles of Arras in April and May 1917. Drop off at Arras station at 5.30pm to catch your return train.