Battlefield Tour: Canadians at War WW2: Dieppe 1942: Normandy 1944

This tour tells the story of Canada’s involvement in two of the iconic operations of the Second World War – the Dieppe raid in 1942 and the Normandy campaign that began on D-Day 6th June 1944. For Canadians this will be an insight into the fortitude and resolve of their forces as they fought the best of the German Army.

The Dieppe Raid of 19th August 1942 (Operation JUBILEE) was the first large-scale daylight assault on a strongly held objective on the Continent since the Allied withdrawal from France in 1940. The object of the raid was to destroy the Dieppe defences and neighbouring radar and aerodrome installations, raid a German divisional headquarters close by and to capture prisoners. The largely Canadian military force undertook the main assault on Dieppe itself, with flanking assaults by Commando units and additional Canadian battalions to the east and west of the town intended to neutralise batteries that commanded the direct approach. More than 250 naval vessels and 69 air squadrons provided support.

Only the assaulting parties on the extreme flanks came within reasonable reach of their ambitious objectives. The final outcome was a tragic failure at the cost of 3,367 casualties. There were also 550 Naval casualties. Many of those who died in the raid are buried at Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, where 948 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War are now buried or commemorated. The German Luftwaffe, out of 945 aircraft that attacked the beachhead, lost only 48 planes, whereas we lost 106 aircraft, a destroyer and many landing craft.

In Canada the raid remains the most controversial action of World War II. Was it necessary? Was it worth the sacrifice? On this battlefield tour you will be able to address these questions and discover what happened on that violent August morning.

Your guide will be one of our experts on Canadian military history several of whom have lived in Canada:       

Cost:                  £990 Per person based on twin/double share 

                          Single Supplement on application

Dates:                08-13 July 2016 (tour code CA16J6DLIL)

                          09-14 September 2016 (tour code CA16S6DLIL)


Dieppe – 1942  • Normandy – 1944 • Falaise Pocket – 1944  • V1 & V2

This tour tells the story of Canada’s involvement in two of the iconic operations of the Second World War – the Dieppe raid in 1942 and the Normandy campaign that began on D-Day 6th June 1944. For Canadians this will be an insight into the fortitude and resolve of their forces as they fought the best of the German Army. In Canada the Dieppe raid remains the most controversial action of World War II. Was it necessary or worth the sacrifice? On this tour you will be able to address these questions and discover what happened on that violent August morning. The landings at Normandy and the subsequent breakout saw the Canadians forces involved in some of the toughest confrontations in WW2 against a skilled and fanatical enemy. The Canadians got furthest inland than any other force on D-Day, 6th June, then took on some of the most difficult challenges in June and July after D-Day with their reputation for courage and skill enhanced by their considerable successes.

11.30 - Meet Guide and coach at Lille Europe station. Drive to Dieppe. There will be a briefing en route. Late afternoon:  Check in to Hotel in Dieppe. Drive to Pourville to visit:
Pourville - Green Beach – Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa & The South Saskatchewan Regiment.
The Esplanade - White Beach & Red Beach – Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, Essex Scottish, Fusiliers Mont-Royal, Calgary Regiment and Royal Marine ‘A’ Commandos.
Welcome dinner (included) in local restaurant & overnight in hotel.

Accommodation: Dieppe
Meals: D

Check out after breakfast and load baggage. Collect packed lunch. Tour of Dieppe concludes with visits to:

Blue Beach – Royal Regiment of Canada & Canadian Black Watch
Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery - Many of those who died in the raid are buried at Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, where 948 Commonwealth servicemen are now buried or commemorated, 187 of which are unidentified. Act of Remembrance
Picnic lunch. Drive to Calvados, Normandy – campaign briefing and film en route. We commence with visits in the area of operations 1st Canadian Parachute battalion:
Canadian Airborne memorial
Merville Battery - D Day Parachute assault
by 9th Bn The Parachute Regiment. Admission included
Pegasus Bridge - D-Day Glider borne assault on River Orne/Caen canal bridges by D Company, 2nd Bn Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
Refreshments at own expense in Café Gondrée area – first building to be liberated in France.
Opportunity to visit Pegasus Memorial Museum at own expense
Check into hotel. Dinner at own expense. Overnight in hotel.

Accommodation: Caen
Meals: B L

Depart for Courseulles-sur-Mer after breakfast in hotel. Our first stop is at Juno Beach, Courseullessur-Mer. The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6th June 1944. Juno Beach was one of five assault beaches on D-Day and was assigned to the 3rd Canadian Division and 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade. By nightfall on 6th June, they had carried the Canadian front further inland than any Allied division that day. We will see:

Nan Green Beach – D-Day assault by Queen’s own Rifles of Canada.
Juno Beach Centre – admission included.
MIKE RED Beach – D Day assaults by Royal Winnipeg Rifles and the Canadian Scottish. See German positions
Lunch at own expense in Courseulles. We move on to visit:
Visit Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery & Memorial to Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. Many of those buried in Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery died either on 6 June or during the early days of the advance towards Caen, when the 3rd Canadian Division engaged a German battle group formed from the 716th Division and the 21st Panzer Division. The cemetery contains 2,048Second World War burials, the majority Canadian. An Act of Remembrance will be held here.
Authie – Nova Scotia Highlanders Memorial –Fighting on 7th June
Bretteville – Regina Rifles defence against 12th SS (Hitler Youth) Division - 8th /9th June.
Audrieu Chateau – Memorial to Canadian POWs murdered by the SS.
We return to hotel before our Farewell Dinner. Overnight in hotel.

Accommodation: Caen
Meals: B D


Check out after breakfast and load baggage. Collect packed picnic lunch. Depart for area of operations of 3rd Canadian Division. In the morning we will cover the area of Operation TOTALISE (7 – 14 Aug 1944) which was a mainly Canadian attack to seize the high ground above Falaise and support the American breakout further west (Operation COBRA). It began with tactical bombing by allied bombers. New tactics were used and the Kangaroo armoured personnel carrier made its first appearance (a Canadian adaptation of a self propelled gun). Polish forces joined their British and Canadian allies on the drive down the Caen-Falaise road. The ground above Falaise was stoutly defended by the young soldiers of the 12th SS Division. Highlights include:
Line of Departure for Operation TOTALISE.
(If time permits) St. Aignan de Cramesnil –The death of German tank ace Michael Wittman.
Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery
The destruction of a ‘lost’ Canadian armoured column – Worthington Force.
The Canadian capture of Point 195 (Worthington’s original objective).
Picnic lunch

In the afternoon we will cover the area of Operation TRACTABLE (14 – 21 Aug 1944) – an attempt to trap the retreating German Army in what became known as the Falaise Pocket. Closing the pocket from the north was the first real task of Lt Gen Guy Simonds’ II Canadian Corps, which included the Polish Armoured Division. We will see:

Hill 117 and St Lambert - the story of Major David Curry VC, South Alberta Regiment – how a small group of Canadians denied the Germans an escape route.
Moissy hamlet – the ford over the River Dives – a choke point in the “Corridor of Death” - Destruction of German 7th Army and Panzer Group West
Viewing platform at Hill 262
Mémorial de Montormel – a museum devoted to the battle (admission included)

This evening we now travel to the picturesque seaside town of Honfleur for our accommodation for the next two nights. Famed for its picturesque port, beautiful architecture and easy access from Le Havre Honfleur with its old harbor lined with 16th- to 18th-century townhouses has been a subject for famous artists including Claude Monet and native son Eugène Boudin. Places to visit in Honfleur include the beautiful Notre Dame de Grace, a church with a seafaring legacy that offers stunning views across the sea, and the towns winding roads lined with great restaurants, cafes and bars.
On arrival check into hotel and evening free for dinner and to wander around this picturesque town.

Accommodation: Honfleur
Meals: B L

This morning is free to enjoy an extra hour or two in bed (!) or to partake of a leisurely breakfast (included) and wander around this lovely old town, maybe a coffee or photographic mission, or some great shopping and souvenirs. After an early lunch (own cost) we meet back at the hotel at 1pm for our afternoon excursion to the  ancient city of Rouen, with a comprehensive briefing en- route by your guide. This ancient city was liberated by the Canadians on 30 August 1944 after the breakout from Normandy. Heavily bombed by the Allies in WW2, over 45% of the city was destroyed with the German forces not allowing French firefighters access to the many fires that raged. This afternoon after arrival you can wander the city, and maybe take in the’ Historial Jeanne D'Arc’ the museum for Joan of Arc, patron saint of France,  burned at the stake in 1341. This evening we return to Honfluer and our hotel for our farewell dinner with our group.      

Accommodation: Honfleur
Meals: B D

Today is an early start as after breakfast we check out of our hotel and head up the coast to a nearly lunch in the beautiful seaside town of Le Touquet (included). After lunch we have a quick visit to Etaples military cemetery (the largest in France). During the First World War, being remote from attack from the front line, the area around Etaples was the scene of immense concentrations of Commonwealth reinforcement camps and hospitals. In 1917, 100,000 troops were camped among the sand dunes and the hospitals which could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick. The cemetery contains 10,771 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. Hospitals were again stationed at Etaples during the Second World War and the cemetery was used for burials from January 1940 until the evacuation at the end of May 1940.

After Etaples  we travel onto Eperlecques , the biggest WW2 bunker in the north of France with walls 5 metres thick, and the infamous home of the German WW2 V1 and V2 weapons, repeatedly bombed by the RAF to little avail. After a tour of this massive artefact we then travel back to Lille where our tour finishes.

Accommodation:  None

Meals: B L


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