The Old Contemptibles at War

About the tour: The Old Contemptibles at War

  • Campaign: The Great War (WW1)
  • Campaign Dates Covered: Aug 1914 - Dec 1914

This tour will cover the following key events

  • Battle of Mons - 23 August 1914
    The Battle of Mons saw the British army attempt to stop the German 1st Army advancing, by holding the line at the Mons Canal. To say it was their first major action in WW1, the British Expeditionary Force faught hard, but they were forced to call a retreat, which took them two weeks to make.
  • Battle of Le Cateau - 26 August 1914
    During the British attempt to retreat from Mons, they were caught up by the Germans at Le Cateau. The Germans arrived and attacked the British, attempting to outflank them as they retreated. However, despite many casualties the British were able to withdraw to Saint-Quentin, due to the arrival of the Calvary Corps.
  • First Battle of Ypres - 31 October 1914
    One of the first fights to breakout between the Germans and the Britians during WW1, the First Battle of Ypres was fought in 1914. It saw a battle that lasted for 34 days, as the Germans faught to get to the English Channel, and the beginning of trench warfare on the Western Front.
  • Christmas Truce in Flanders - 25 December 1914
    Facing death in an evil war, soldiers of the Allied and German forces formed a truce on Christmas Eve 1914 and joined together in song, a game off football, exchanged beer and cigarettes, and gave humanity to a truly inhumane event.

Tour Introduction

Join us on this battlefield tour as we journey through Belgium and France, more than a century after some of the first shots of World War 1 were fired. We follow in the footsteps of the Old Contemptibles through Mons, Le Cateau and Ypres, seeing battlefield sites, war museums, memorials and cemeteries.

Tour Includes

  • 4 nights hotel with continental breakfast
  • Specialist Battlefield Guide
  • Convenient local joining points
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Once you have booked your battlefield tour either online, or by telephone (), you have the flexibility of how you pay off the remainder of your balance. You can -

  1. Use our balance payment facility online to make and track your card payments. You can pay as much as you want up until your final due date or pay it all, the choice is yours.
  2. Send payments via online banking.
  3. Send payments via cheque.
  4. Call us and make a card payment, either a small amount or as lump sum until your final due date.

Our contact and online banking payment details will be on your confirmation invoice to remind you of your choices.

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Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Local departure by coach then to Belgium for a four-night stay.

Day 2 - Mons: First Shots – War Horses at Audregnies

This morning we start with the Battle of Mons and travel to Casteau to see were the first shots were fired in August 1914. We continue on to Nimy Bridge looking at the story of the first Victoria Crosses awarded to British troops. Following lunch in Mons we then travel to St. Symphorien Cemetery where some of the first and last Commonwealth casualties of WWI are buried. We end the day at Audregnies examining the largest use of cavalry; when two regiments of war horses charged the Germans in 1914.

Included meals: Breakfast

St. Symphorien Cemetery

St Symphorien Cemetery (5)

Key Visits

  • St. Symphorien Cemetery
  • Nimy Bridge
  • First Shots Memorial, Casteau
  • Audregnies

Day 3 - Retreat From Mons – Battle of Le Cateau

We start the day at the excellent Mons War Museum and then follow the retreat south from the Belgian border and drive down near the Mormal Forest to the Le Cateau area. We look at the Guards at Landrecies, seeing their memorial, and then see where the Suffolk Regiment fought in August 1914, seeing the battlefield memorial site. Later we visit the Le Cateau Cemetery and follow the positions held on 26th August to the left flank at Esnes where General Snow’s men held these vital positions.

Included meals: Breakfast

Mons Military Museum

Mons Military Museum (4)

Key Visits

  • Le Cateau Cemetery
  • Landrecies
  • Esnes
  • Mons Military Museum
  • Memorial, Le Cateau

Day 4 - Ypres: Death of an Army – In Flanders Fields Museum

The remnants of the Old Contemptibles fought their largest battle in 1914 at Ypres. We start just outside the Menin Gate and walk through Ypres Town Cemetery, seeing the 1914 burials. We then visit the In Flanders Fields Museum, one of the most important WWI museums in Europe. Following lunch at Hooge, we travel to Zillebeke Churchyard seeing the Aristocrats Cemetery, where many officers who fell in 1914 are buried. In Messines, we see the Visitor's Centre and visit the church crypt where Adolf Hitler sheltered from British shells in 1914. We end with the story of the Christmas Truce at St. Yvon, seeing the new Christmas Truce Memorial at Prowse Point.

Included meals: Breakfast

Messines Visitor's Centre

Messines Visitor's Centre (8)

Key Visits

  • Menin Gate
  • Messines Museum
  • In Flanders Fields Museum
  • Ypres Town Cemetery
  • Zillebeke Churchyard
  • Messines Church
  • Prowse Point Cemetery
  • Messines Visitor's Centre

Day 5

Return home.

Included meals: Breakfast

Specialist Battlefield Guides

All of Leger’s battlefield tours are accompanied by specialist guides. Their individual in-depth knowledge of warfare will be informative, as well as enhance your overall experience, as they recreate a fascinating perception of the history and factual events of each battle. Discover the actual catalysts for war, the strategies employed and the final, inevitable outcomes, as well as experiencing the emotional human side of the front line.

Please note: On certain tours, you may get tour guides other that the ones listed below.

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You will stay for four nights at the 3-star Novotel Ypres Centrum, in the centre of Ypres.

Travel Options

All our coaches and transfer vehicles operate a 'no smoking on board policy'. The use of electronic cigarettes is strictly forbidden.
In the interest of fellow guests, do not take hot food or ice cream on board.
alcohol can only be taken on board our vehicles at the discretion of your driver.

When it comes to getting to the Battlefields, Leger Holidays make it easy, with a selection of travel options for you choose from.

Travel Extras

With an overnight stay or the option to meet us at the interchange, our travel extras allow you to create a travel experience to suit your needs...

Join coach at Interchange

Join your tour coach at the interchange.

On most tours if you’d prefer to join your tour coach at Stop 24 services, you can park your car in the car park which is accredited by the Park Mark safer parking scheme and is monitored 24 hours a day by CCTV. Payment for the parking is made on arrival using the self-service machines.

Excludes tours to Ireland and the U.K. and tours travelling via Brittany Ferries.

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