Loretto Hill and Vimy Ridge 1914-1917

Explore the First World War battlefields in Northern France, including the Loretto Heights, Vimy Ridge, Aubers and Fromelles.

The Artois Region is the area in France that suffered the most from the First World War and the resulting trench warfare and battles of attrition.

By the end of 1914 French and German troops confronted each other in violent battles on the Loretto Heights.  The climax of fighting in this area took place on Vimy Ridge in April 1917, when the Canadian Army Corps and British troops overwhelmed the Germans.  They pushed them back for several kilometers, which was a great success for the time.  The sacrifice of the Canadian troops in this offensive became an important milestone on Canada’s path to becoming an independent nation.  This explains the importance of the battlefield and the impressive Canadian monuments on top of and around Vimy Ridge.

Some of the largest French and German military cemeteries of the First World War can be found in this area.

Not far away, around the small villages of Aubers and Fromelles, a much smaller military action took place.  In July 1916, a diversional attack was conducted mainly by Australian units.  It resulted in heavy losses, with nearly 5,000 Australians being killed or wounded.  Its goal was to prevent German troops from being shifted to the Somme battlefield.  Recently, a mass grave had been discovered, containing hundreds of Australian soldiers.  Most of them could be identified, and all have been transferred to the newly built cemetery at Fromelles. 

In addition, an incredible number of bunkers and concrete buildings can still be seen around Aubers and Fromelles.

Tour length and geography can vary based on client availability, interest level and physical ability.  Tour length can last from six hours to several days to explore this operation in depth.