Battle Guide Great Retreat in 1914 Tour



Great Retreat Tour – 14th – 17th  September 2023


£675 per person (£145 single supplement)

The cost – includes, hotel accommodation and breakfast, transport, ferries, museums and guides, but not lunch, dinner and drinks.

Your Guides

Dan Hill and Dr Spencer Jones



Retreat and Rear-guards

Our tour begins with an overview of the British Expeditionary Force’s struggle against overwhelming odds in August 1914. By 27 August the BEF had been in constant combat for four days and was reaching its breaking point. German forces continued to pursue the weary Tommies leading to several bloody rear-guard actions. Today we will look at two of these: the last stand of the 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers at Etreux and the fierce cavalry action at Cerizy.

Day 2

The Retreat Continues

We continue in the footsteps of the retreating BEF and study two crucial rear-guard actions that protected the army. We will examine 4th Guards’ Brigade’s action in the woodland around Villers-Cotterets  and walk the ground at Nery, where 1st Cavalry Brigade snatched victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to the incredible courage of L Battery Royal Horse Artillery, resulting in the award of three Victoria Crosses

Day 3

The Miracle of the Marne

In early September the Allied armies turned and counterattacked the German invasion. The results were decisive and the battle would become known as the Miracle of the Marne. We tell the story of the battle from two remarkable memorials: Le Ferte-Sous-Jouarre, which commemorates British casualties suffered in the campaign, and the stunning Butte Chalmont, a French memorial which commemorates the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918.

Day 4

The Aisne

By mid-September the Germans had retreated to a new defensive position on the River Aisne. The BEF advanced assaulted these defences on 13-15 September in the Battle of the Aisne. The BEF attacked with courage and skill, establishing bridgeheads over the river, but were unable to clear the ridge of its defenders. The bloody battle gave the British Army its first taste of trench warfare. The tour will focus on the intense fighting for control of the Chemin-des-Dames.