August 2011 Newsletter

Dear Pals,

I hope that this (brief) letter finds you all in good health and enjoying the Summer. It’s not over yet! I have been over to the old frontline a few times since our May trip, more recently taking the guides from the Arras Tunnels around the battlefields. Also a very enjoyable trip, walking the Arras battlefields with Clive Harris and his ‘Battle Honours’  clients.  (great crowd of people)

Many of you have expressed an interest in going on an Autumn tour to the battlefields. In fact, ‘demanded’ one! So I have finally got around to planning it. Firstly I tried Amiens. But all the central hotels were already booked at the time of writing. Cambrai  & the cosy Hotel Beatus, where I stayed with Battle Honours, would be a handy base for us, as it is 30 minutes from the Somme Battlefields. However the Beatus can only offer me 15 rooms (Sun – Wed)  and, as most of you require single rooms, then it would not be viable.

I have this week, sent out a short ‘survey’ to some of you via email. (If you didn’t get one it’s probably because I don’t have your email address) Thank you so much for your quick and supportive replies. Firstly, it seems the vast majority of you are quite happy to stay at the good old Moderne Hotel in Arras.  It is sensible value for money. As Dick West says, ‘I suppose the Moderne is like an old slipper – we are comfortable with it and it has treated us well over the years so we are reluctant to dispose of it’ Secondly, the majority of you want to do a Great War 1914-18 tour, the Somme and Ypres being the most popular destinations. One or two of you liked the idea of going to Waterloo but the general consensus is, ‘keep it Great War 1914-18’ The Autumn tour is also an opportunity to introduce new friends to Pals Tours and the Western Front of 1914-18.

So I propose an Autumn tour;  Sunday 30 October – Thursday 3 November 4 nights.  I can assure you of an interesting pilgrimage, with visits to many battlefield action spots we have not done before such as the town of Peronne and it’s museum which contains the remains of the Livens Flame Projector, discovered buried in a field near Fricourt by Peter Barton.  In order to keep the prices as low as possible, I have given you the basic, lowest price possible for a group stay at the Moderne hotel, including travel via Jeff’s coach with Ray Waters driving. We will not be eating at the Moderne but each night in a local restaurant in Arras whereby, you can dine according to your pocket. So if you want Fois gras and Chateau Briand with fine wine, or merely Mussels, chips & glass of beer it’s up to you. I will reserve a group table in different restaurants. The bar in the Moderne and the Pas Temps will of course be open for us all hours. Light weight lunches can be taken in certain town cafes on the Somme and at Ypres for which, once again, you can pay individually.  You will need warm clothes for this one! I am sure we can also raise a collection via a book raffle, for a complimentary bar on the coach.

From time to time, I will be notifying some of you (via email) as to my ‘research’ trips to Arras & Cambrai. I go over there twice a month in a 4×4 which is great for tearing off road and up sunken roads to remote cemeteries. You will need to pay for food and accommodation. Your fare is taken care of. Let me know if you are interested in 2-3 night short breaks. You will need a digital camera, notebook and walking shoes! I also have planned, a trip to the Somme in September (4 nights) on mountain Bikes! Staying at The Passe Temps Hotel in Arras. Once again let me know if you can ride a bike..

Please see this link, for our popular, May Battlefield tour of 2012. The dates have now changed. If you want to come on this you need to let me know now, as it is limited to 45 persons and 30 have been sold already. Please note, I have kept the price the same. (let’s hope the £ does not collapse!)  I do hope you will be able to join us on future trips. Enjoy your summer and I look forward to seeing you soon.

All the best,

Jon Nicholls

p.s. You can always find full details of forthcoming battlefield tours here. If you would like to stay up to date with current changes on this site, you can subscribe here which includes RSS and email options

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