Leger Holidays Battlefield Tours

The UK's Leading Battlefield Tour Operator


Tunnellers on the Western Front - The Underground War

The war beneath the Western Front in Belgium and France was the Underground War, fought by tunnellers deep beneath the surface where they blew charges to destroy each other or positions on the surface. This tour follows their story in WWI visiting mine cra


4-Day Tour

  • Day 1 – We make our way to the port of departure and coach interchange where you will join your tour coach for the crossing to the continent. Upon arrival in France we head to Belgium and our hotel for a three-night stay.
  • Day 2 – We begin our tour in Flanders where tunnelling began for the British Army in 1915. At Hill 60, one of the most mined sites near Ypres, we see evidence of the craters and learn the story of the Tunnellers, also visiting the mighty Caterpillar Crater. We then travel via the site of Vampire Farm- a massive British dugout built by the Tunnellers. Continuing on to Zonnebeke visiting the Passchendaele War Museum and their dugout experience. After lunch at Hooge, we look at the story of 177 Tunnelling Company and see the unique RE Grave. We then travel down the Messines Ridge, the scene of the ‘big bang’ in June 1917, when 19 mines were blown simultaneously, and see the Spanbroekmolen and Peckham craters. Later at Kemmel we look at the fate of trapped miners and then on the Ploegsteert Memorials to see the only Tunneller VC: Sapper William Hackett. We end the day in Ypres for the moving Last Post Ceremony. Breakfast
  • Day 3 – We travel to the Somme for our specially arranged visit to the medieval caves located under the village church at Bouzincourt, which are rarely opened to the public. Approximately 40 feet underground the caves were extended during WWI by British tunnellers and used for troop accommodation. You will see names, poems, regimental cap badges, other drawings and carvings made into the chalk walls by the soldiers. Access to the cave system is made through a 3 feet high hole in one of the interior walls of the church, the floor in the cave system is chalk and, if damp, can be slippery. You are able to stand upright, but there are places where the cave roof gets lower and you will have to crouch (the tunnels have no lighting so it is essential that you bring a torch). Following our cave visit we see the largest British mine crater on the Western Front at La Boisselle. We lunch at Thiepval and visit the Memorial to the Missing and the visitor centre. In the afternoon we visit Tunnellers graves at Becourt, look at the story of the Livens Flame Projector, and visit the scene of the Hawthorn Mine at Beaumont-Hamel; filmed and photographed, the explosion here has become an iconic image of the Great War. Breakfast
  • Day 4 – We leave the hotel after breakfast and travel to the channel port. You will leave your tour coach behind as you join your transfer vehicle for your return journey to your original departure point Breakfast