Canadians in Battle of Britain: 2020 - 80th Anniversary

CANADIAN PREMIUM BATTLEFIELD TOURS & JOURNEYS OF REMEMBRANCE - 80th ANNIVERSARY TOUR: 2020: BATTLE OF BRITAIN

 

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80th Anniversary Battle of Britain Tour: September 2020: "The Few"

12 - 21 September 2020:  9 nights/10 days Fighter Command WW2 – The Battle of Britain

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12-21 September 2020: 9 Nights/10 Days:
Costs: Per Person Twin/Double Share: 3,400
Single Room Supplement: 900
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ITINERARY:

DAY 1: Saturday 12 September 2020
Arrive London. Make own way to your hotel.
Check into your hotel from 2.00pm, (early check in can be arranged for an additional cost)
Remainder of day and evening at leisure
Accommodation: Central London 4* Hotel or similar (e.g. St. Ermins or similar)
Meals: None

DAY 2: Sunday 13 September 2020
Breakfast in hotel. After breakfast we set off on foot for a WW2 familiarisation walk guided by your battlefield historian which will cover the Battle of Britain and the Blitz in London. WW2/Blitz familiarisation walk: The following places will be visited: (approximately 2 hours in total - 1 hour walking)  Guards Chapel (Context of D Day). (A reminder of Hitler's strategy for 1944 – To terrorise London) Thames Embankment: RAF Memorial  Fleet Air Arm memorial and Battle of Britain memorials. (Learn of air force contribution to victory). The route takes us past No 1 Richmond Terrace (the location of Combined Operations HQ.) Then onto Whitehall - past the cenotaph and memorials to Women in War.  Montgomery and Alan Brooke.  

We then cross Horse Guards Parade to the statue of Lord Louis Mountbatten. As chief of Combined Operations he led the organisation which did much to develop the techniques used on D Day, as well as preparing the ground with the aggressive raids on occupied Europe. Onto the Admiralty Citadel, the Royal Navy's command and communications centre for its world-wide operations. In passing we see the Royal Marines' memorial. We then walk via Waterloo place where bomb damage can still be seen, and 3 Carlton Gardens, and onto St. James's, London, the Free French HQ in London. Walk onto St James' Place and Norfolk House, where Operation Overlord was planned by the COSSAC staff.

We then stop for a short break at the 'Churchill and Roosevelt figures' on a bench statue, where we talk about their special relationship Travel onwards to Grosvenor Square, HQ ETOUSA and Eisenhower's HQ. We then finish at the Grosvenor Hotel. This hotel has the biggest ball room in London and the only one big enough to serve as the ETOUSA mess hall. We then have time for tea and scones or cocktails (!?) here (not included). From here we can also look out at Hyde park to where Mary Churchill served in a searchlight battery, where she and her mother were witnesses to the V1 falling on the Guards Chapel.
Lunch: Not included

This afternoon we are free to visit the * Churchill War Rooms & Imperial War Museum with your guide (optional)  We then return to your hotel for a well- deserved rest and to freshen up before dinner.
Dinner: Our official 'Welcome Dinner' at an exclusive London Services club.
Accommodation: Central London 4* Hotel or similar (e.g. St. Ermin's or similar)
Meals Breakfast, Dinner
(*Interesting note: Today is the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Buckingham Palace!)

DAY 3: Monday. 14 September 2020
Breakfast
in the hotel. After breakfast we check out of our hotel and board our coach to drive north to Bentley Priory. We start the with a visit to the nerve centre of Fighter Command, Bentley Priory, where Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding was based. Visit Fighter Command HQ
Lunch: Bentley Priory Caf (Light Lunch) Next we visit the underground HQ of Uxbridge No 11 Group Bunker from where the main air battles of Britain were fought. In this bunker on 15th September Winston Churchill watched the climactic day of the battle of Britain here. (Note The bunker is accessed via 76 steps and may be unsuitable for those with reduced mobility)

We then are privileged to visit the historic Sector HQ and Battle of Britain fighter airfield at RAF Northolt and the spiritual home of the exiled Polish Air force. Outside the airfield is the memorial to the members of the Polish wild geese who played such a big part in defending Britain. We visit the Polish Memorial and the RAF Northolt Sector Operations room. We then drive to the Orchard Public House and restaurant frequented by Polish airmen in WW2. We then leave outer London and drive south to Folkestone and our hotel for tonight's stay and dinner.
Accommodation: Folkestone area 3+* Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4: Tuesday 15 September 2020 (Battle of Britain Day) 
Breakfast
(early) in hotel and checkout. A momentous day today – the official Battle of Britain Day. (Hellfire Corner- and the the airfields under attack) Today we visit "Hellfire Corner" - the south east of Kent and the closest points in England to the Germans bases in the Pas De Calais in France.  Weather permitting, we may be also able to see Cap Gris Nez in France where Herman Goering inspected the British defences. This morning (11am) we will first attend a very moving an historic 80th Anniversary Battle of Britain Service at the official Battle of Britain Memorial to 'the Few' at Capel-le-Fern. (Read more here about 'the 100 Days of the Few') Time permitting, we will try and fit in a quick visit to the Kent Battle of Britain Museum on the old Hawkinge airfield as it is only three miles from Capel-le-Ferne. Across the road is Hawkinge cemetary, with both British and German graves from the Battle of Britain.

We then drive to Ramsgate via the 'White cliffs of Dover' -  where in WW2 journalists reported dogfights over the Channel live on radio - as if they were sports matches. At Ramsgate we will visit the Spitfire & Hurricane Memorial Museum on the site of WW2 RAF Manston – a key Battle of Britain Hurricane fighter base for day ops and heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe during WW2. Manston has quite a history being so close to the channel and was frequently used by the 'heavies' (bombers) for crash landings after European missions when they could not make their  bases in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and other UK bomber basis  due to battle damage.
Lunch: Manston Museum Merlin Caf (*Light Lunch)

After lunch we then depart for RAF Kenley. This is a long trip (2 hours) but necessary to position ourselves for the remainder of the tour. RAF Kenley is the most intact airfield from WW2 and was also a pivotal base during the Battle of Britain and for the duration of the war, again heavily bombed in WW2. Its importance was such that it took on the role of a Sector HQ in 11 (Fighter) Group for Shoreham-by-Sea, Gatwick, Redhill and Croydon airfields. After a quick visit here, we will move onto what was RAF Croydon, London's main airport pre WW2 in South London. It was taken over in WW2 and became a major front-line airfield for the Battle of Britain and all during the war. The Canadian No. 1 squadron flew from here also. It was also heavily and repeatedly bombed during WW2. Today, like most other WW2 airfields/airdromes there is very little remaining. Croydon airport pre- war was very luxurious - with the world's first control tower and ironically German Deutsche Luft Hansa (Now Lufthansa) aircraft operating regular services to and from Germany to Croydon.

Our hotel for tonight and tomorrow night (2 nights) is the Hallmark Hotel London, previously called Croydon Aerodrome Hotel.The Aerodrome Hotel and the terminal building including its grand booking hall were built in the neo-classical geometrical design typical of the early 20th Century – with a host of world famous 1920s/30s guests staying here. Today it is a modern 4-star hotel steeped in WW2 fighter command history, and served as accommodation for pilots of 111 Squadron RAF based at Croydon Aerodrome as well as a RAF Hospital, and is an authentic Battle of Britain location (damaged by bombs on 16th August 1940). It was also a favourite of the Polish pilots from the famous *Polish 303 squadron (*major movie released 2018) at nearby RAF Redhill along with the Canadian, Australian and NZ fighter squadrons based at RAF Redhill in WW2. 

(Redhill Commonwealth Fighter Command Squadrons WW2: Australia:  No. 452 Squadron RAAF – Spitfire No. 457 Squadron RAAF – Spitfire Canada:No. 110 Squadron RCAF – Lysander (Used for secret Resistance fighter drops in occupied France in WW2) No. 400 Squadron RCAF – Mustang No. 402 Squadron RCAF – Mustang No. 414 Squadron RCAF – Mustang No. 416 Squadron RCAF – Spitfire No. 421 Squadron RCAF – Spitfire New Zealand:No. 485 Squadron RNZAF – Spitfire.) 
Dinner: Tonight we will have dinner at a local restaurant frequented by Polish airmen in WW2.
AccommodationHallmark Hotel London Croydon Aerodrome   (History)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 Day 5: Wednesday 16 September 2020
Breakfast.
After breakfast we drive to Brooklands and Brooklands Aviation Museum  Brooklands was the birthplace of British engineering & aviation (and motor racing!), and is the birthplace of the famous WW2 British fighter – the much-overlooked Hawker Hurricane. In the early days of the Battle of Britain and even later - It was planned that the Hurricanes took on the bombers - and the sleek Spitfire the fighters – or so it is was in theory - however the 'Hurri' more than proved itself in aerial combat in experienced pilots hands - it initially matched the best of the Luftwaffe fighters (ME109) at that time and took much heavier battle punishment as well than the lighter ME109, and its its superior turning circle over the ME 109 (and the Spitfire) saved it many times. However it was a good 50-60 mph slower in a 'head to head' dogfight with a ME 109 and later in 1941 with the introduction of the deadly German Focke Wulf Fw190 it was totally outclassed and withdrawn from European Ops to the Middle east and Asia.  In WW2 Brooklands was also the location of the Vickers and Hawker factories, all frequently bombed also.
Lunch: Sunbeam Caf Brooklands (Light Lunch)

This afternoon after lunch we board our coach again to drive to Brookwood Military Cemetery where many of the WW2 airmen are buried. Those buried here represent all branches of service and all six of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's member governments: Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Also here is the Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial which is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. There is a Canadian Records building here also.

We then re-board our coach to visit the RAF Memorial to the Missing at Runnymede, Sited overlooking London Airport this magnificent memorial commemorates more than 20,000 airmen and women who were lost in the Second World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe who have no known grave. There will be a short act of Remembrance for those who wish to take part. We then return to our Croydon hotel for tonight. Tonight: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodation: Hallmark Hotel London Croydon Aerodrome   (History)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner  

Day 6: Thursday 17 September 2020
Breakfast
(early) and depart hotel. Our first stop today is the magnificent and recently refurbished RAF Hendon museum. Note. The famous Australian WW2 AVRO Lancaster bomber S-Sugar  - with a record 135 operations in Bomber Command is on display here - and a quite amazing sight. Hendon is a superb aircraft museum with all the WW2 fighters on static display. A great aviation museum! Some quite amazing WW2 airmen stories here also.
Lunch in Claudes Caf. Museum Caf: (Light Lunch)

After lunch we then depart for central London and visit:  St Clement Danes Church (RAF central Church), St Pauls, (time allowing) and also (time allowing also) a driving tour of RAF sites in and around London, with our last stop the powerful Battle of Britain monument on the London Embankment. After this full day we will then proceed to our London hotel to check in for tonight.  Dinner tonight is own arrangements. Tonight is left free for you to explore this vibrant city and its thousands of amazing restaurants and pubs!
Accommodation: Central London 4* Hotel or similar (e.g. St. Ermin's or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Friday 18th September 2020 Duxford
Breakfast
(early) After breakfast we check out early to drive to Cambridge, famous in WW2 as the location of Fighter Commands (and Douglas Bader's) Big Wing. Today it is a beautiful bustling modern city and a centre of ancient learning and academia – as it always has been - with its 12th century roots and often referred to as the "City of Dreaming Spires". In WW2 however it was very different. An absolute highlight today – and for the tour will be a visit to the Eagle Pub. The Pub itself dates to 1525, but it is the ceiling in the back bar that brings WW2 into sharp focus – still. During the dark days of WWII, the pub became a favourite haunt of off duty R.A.F personnel eager to unwind.

Sometime in late 1941/42, a young airman stood up on a table in the back bar, then using a candle he burned his Squadron's number into the ceiling. This started a tradition that was to continue until war's end and beyond. In 1942 the 8th American Airforce arrived in England and many of the former RAF airfields became home to American Bomber and Fighter Groups. Many of the young US airmen also visited the pub and using lipstick (??!!), charcoal, candles and Zippos, proudly added their units to the ceiling's now crowded surface. It is totally unique and in fact, quite amazing.
Lunch is here or in a nearby pub.

After lunch we then head off to visit the Duxford Imperial War Museum. This is one of the greatest aviation museums in the world – Duxford was also home to the USAAF 8th Airforce in WW2. Famous WW2 Spitfire and Hurricane fighter squadrons based here in WW2 include the legendary Polish 302 & 303, Czech 310 Squadron, Douglas Baders RAF 'Duxford Wing' plus many others. Duxford also was a development test bed location for the new Hawker Typhoon (*'Tiffy') aircraft (*successor to the Hurricane) and the fitting of Merlin engines into the new American Mustang fighter. The USAAF 8th air force arrived here in 1943 and it was the base for the USAAF 78th & 350th Fighter Groups. Every year tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world attend the prestigious air shows conducted at Duxford - so we are in for a real treat tomorrow!

In 2020 the special 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain air show will be like no other. Today at Duxford on our itinerary we hope to visit (time permitting) *  1940's Operations Room*  Duxford 8th Airforce Museum *Duxford Battle of Britain exhibition * As the 80th anniversary air show will start tomorrow we will also see quite a bit of preparation on the tarmac area for the show - plus if we are lucky -  some practise flying! After our visit here we will also get in a quick visit (time permitting!) to the * Cambridge American Cemetery - a 30.5 acre cemetery containing the remains of *3,811 American war dead – and the names of *5,127 of the missing - (from the strategic WW2 bombing campaign over Europe and the Battle of the Atlantic) After our visit we then depart the cemetery and check into  our hotel for the evening.
Accommodation: University Arms, Cambridge or similar 
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 8: Saturday 19th September 2020  Duxford 
Today we are up EARLY and after breakfast we depart for another tour highlight – the official 80th Anniversary 'Battle of Britain Airshow'. It's a very busy day and lots to see, smell and hear! After arrival early morning at the airshow – we get a chance to visit the 'flight line' walk and get up close to the aircraft you'll be seeing in the skies during the action-packed flying display. Also included in your visit is entry to the Grandstand area – to enjoy a tiered seating enclosure especially created to provide photographers, enthusiasts and aircraft fans with an uninterrupted view of all the flying action. As it's a 'DIY 'day here for meals  - lunch is not included. This evening – after the show is finished – we leave the Duxford Air Show for our Cambridge hotel tonight. As today has been a quite full day dinner tonight is not included – leaving you free to wander this historic city and its myriad of ancient buildings, pubs, bars and restaurants.
Interesting note: ** Today is the 75th Anniversary of Lord Haw Haw being sentenced to death in London **
Accommodation: University Arms, Cambridge or similar  
Meals: Breakfast

Day 9: Sunday 20th September 2020  London
Today we leave Cambridge very early to travel to London and take part on arrival at the very special 'Battle of Britain Annual Service' at Westminster Abbey. (Note This is a by Invitation' event - and we are required to apply for this honour - no later than June 2020. Space will be limited so we do advise that the earlier you book the earlier we can submit tour participant names (in STRICT date booking order) (Space is NOT guaranteed until after we apply for this very special historic event.) (Note: A tradition has also grown with this event in that the remaining Battle of Britain veterans and their families hold their own, private service in the chapel prior to the Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication on Battle of Britain Sunday. (We can also apply to provide this extraordinary special event for you if you qualify for attendance - family members especially - given the sad demise of so many now of the remaining 'few'.)
Lunch today is not included

After the service we then check-in to your London hotel. Rest of the day is then at leisure to wander this amazing city and take in some more historic sights. Farewell Gala Dinner tonight is at the breathtaking and very historic 'Churchill War Rooms' at Westminster Abbey: Tonight, we will also have a special VIP Guest Speaker from the RAF historical section.
Accommodation: St. Ermins or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Gala Dinner

Day 10: Monday 21st September 2020 London
Today our tour finishes after breakfast. (We can book extra nights for you (*at extra cost) on this tour if you require extra time in London.
Meals: Breakfast


Tour Costs Include:
 Family Historian research on client family members
9 nights accommodation in  3*+ 4*+ hotels
Highly experienced (and qualified) Battlefield Historian/Guides
Local guides where necessary
All museum/exhibition/ admission/entrance fees for all venues/museums as detailed in the itinerary
Premium coach travel throughout tour
Breakfasts Daily (European-style breakfasts) Day2 - Day 10
All lunches a shown in itinerary
All dinners as shown in itinerary
All VIP/Gala dinners as shown in itinerary
Special deluxe souvenir colour tour booklet
High quality commemorative clothing: hat & backpack
SOR earphone headphones (earbuds)
SOR baggage tags
SOR commemorative pen 
(Optional) 'Dragon Rapide' flight over Cambridge (Enquire)

Tour Costs do NOT Include:
Lunches, dinners, refreshments and beverages not detailed above
Tips, porterage and all personal extras
Airfares/Transport/Trains to and from start and end point of tour
Travel/Cancellation/Medical Insurance. (*YOU must have travel insurance for us to travel on the tour)
Passport & related visa/documentation fees
Any optional excursion(s) not specifically stated as included in the tour cost
Items of a personal nature

ITINERARY & COSTS

CANADIANS IN THE AIR:  (FIGHTER COMMAND) UK: EUROPE: WW2

AUSTRALIANS IN THE AIR:  (FIGHTER COMMAND) UK: EUROPE: WW2

NEW ZEALAND IN THE AIR:  (FIGHTER COMMAND) UK: EUROPE: WW2

AMERICANS IN THE AIR: (EAGLE SQUADRONS) (FIGHTER COMMAND) UK: EUROPE: WW2

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