NORMANDY, THE SOMME AND FLANDERS
2014 has been such a year of anniversaries, commemoration, pilgrimage and celebration that we felt it wise to resist the temptation to repeat our successful battlefield tour of July 2012 and have elected to visit in August 2015 – when the area might be a little quieter and our energy levels have been restored.
We are privileged to have secured the services of Gareth Hughes, our Head of History and author of the recently published Visiting the Somme and Ypres Battlefields Made Easy, to lead this latest tour for adults connected with the School. “I first visited the Battlefields of the Great War as a 14 year-old student in 1995. The experience was humbling, emotional and, ultimately, life-changing. It is a pilgrimage that I have subsequently taken every year since becoming a teacher, taking students to France and Belgium not just as an accompaniment to their history studies but also, more importantly, as a wider aid to their human understanding. The last four years have seen Pocklington students make this journey. I hope their parents and other friends of the School will want to join me next summer.’
Although he doesn’t really need it, I have offered to assist him.
This time we will deploy through Normandy and recover from Zeebrugge. We will leave early on Wednesday 26 August 2015 and return on Sunday 30 August. Travel is by coach throughout and packed lunches will be provided each day. Although not finalised and subject to change, the proposed itinerary is:
Day 1: Leave Pocklington, visit Southwick House, the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, take an evening meal and then travel by overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen
Day 2: Normandy – visits to the Normandy beaches, Pegasus Bridge, museums and the American Cemetery. Move to hotel in Arras and evening meal.
Day 3: The Somme (France) – a day following the progress of Kitchener’s volunteer army during this most harrowing of battles in 1916. Visits would include the battlefields, cemeteries and monuments around Serre, La Boiselle, Pozieres and Thiepval. A short visit to Loos (1915) on the journey north. Hotel in in Ypres. Self-found evening meal after the Menin Gate Ceremony (2000hrs).
Day 4: Ypres (Belgium) – a day focused on the battles for the Salient. Likely visits: Lijssenthoek, Sanctuary Wood, Tyne Cot, Langemark. Overnight ferry, Zeebrugge to Hull; meal on board.
Day 5: return to Pocklington School by 1030hrs.
The trip will be a mixture of battlefield tours interspersed with the stories of infamous days; inspiring and moving individual tales will be told whilst also taking the time to simply remember the sacrifice of a generation. We will trace the steps of Old Pocklingtonians who lost their lives and, where possible, we will track down links/memorials/graves of any relatives of the party in these localities.
The cost of the trip is likely to be around £525, less if we can reach a total of 40 people. This includes all accommodation (based on twin rooms and 4-berth cabins), entrance fees, and all meals with the exception of the evening meal in Ypres.
If you would like to be a part of the trip then can I please ask you to complete the booking form which can be downloaded below and return it with a non-refundable (unless the trip does not run) deposit of £100 by cheque made payable to the Pocklington School Foundation (for OPs, if payment by bank transfer would be easier please let the OP Office know and they will contact you with details). Once numbers are confirmed then I will write back to you with more details, hopefully before Christmas.
Paul Bennett (Bursar)
 The following supplements are likely to apply, subject to availability:
- Ferry To Caen: 2 Berth Cabin – supplement of £20 per person, single cabin; £40.
- Arras Hotel: single supplement £46
- Ypres Hotel: single supplement £60
- Ferry to Hull: 2-berth supplement, £17 per person. No single berths likely to be available.