THE DEFEAT OF GERMANY, 1945
The second and final volume of the British Official History of the Second World War that covers the defeat of Germany concludes with a quotation from Sir Francis Drake: “There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it is thoroughly finished yields the true glory.” The Anglo-Canadian armies that contributed to Victory in the West have had their critics. But these citizen soldiers, devoid of any hint of fanatical zeal, demonstrated remarkable courage and fortitude to the very end and, to paraphrase General Sir David Fraser, “without histrionics … came to know its business.”
The BCMH Battlefield Tour for 2020 will take place between 23 and 27 April and will consider elements of Field Marshal Montgomery’s 21st Army Group in the major break-in battles in Germany of early 1945 through the Reichswald and across the Rhine. In the month between the end of February and the end of March, Anglo-Canadian soldiers fought some of the hardest and grimmest fights of the War, achieving all objectives and setting the conditions for the subsequent sweep across northern Germany to the Baltic and the Elbe and the German surrender on Lüneberg Heath.
The Tour, over five days, will spend three full days on the ground, with hotel accommodation provided in central Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The itinerary, subject to confirmation, will cover:
- Thursday 23 April – Travel by coach from England to Nijmegen. Introductory talks and group dinner.
- Friday 24 April – Operation VERITABLE: 1st Canadian Army – II Canadian Corps and XXX British Corps and the Battle for the Reichswald.
- Saturday 25 April – Operation PLUNDER: 2nd British Army – XII Corps and XXX Corps’ assault crossings of the Rhine.
- Sunday 26 April – Operation VARSITY: 2nd British Army – 6th British Airborne Division’s (XVIII US Airborne Corps) concurrent airborne assault in support of the Rhine crossings.
- Monday 27 April – Possible visit to the War Museum at Overloon. Return by coach to England.
Detailed timings will follow. The coach will likely pick up from two locations, one on the M25 (South Mimms/Junction A1M) and one just off the A2 (Ebbsfleet), and will drop off at the same.
The Tour will be administered by Battle Honours Ltd, a highly regarded, ATOL protected company, well-known to many members, with Guides – Jim Tanner, Geoffrey Vesey-Holt and Philip Pratley – provided in-house by BCMH. The cost of the Tour is £800.00 per person, which includes bed and breakfast and the group dinner on the first night, with a single room supplement of £120.00. The Tour can accommodate a maximum of 25 and is not restricted to BCMH members alone, although members have priority in booking.
To book, complete a booking form, available in Word and PDF, and submit with a deposit of £100.00 directly to Battle Honours. This can be done electronically through their website or by post. Booking forms and deposits should be sent by 14 February with final balances cleared by 11 March. Payment can be made by BACS or by cheque.
To complete an application electronically go to the Battle Honours website at www.battle-honours.eu and click on the tab for ASSOCIATION TOURS. Scroll down past the WFA Tours to the BRITISH COMMISSION FOR MILITARY HISTORY TOUR 2020 and then click on the Find out more…. Tab at the bottom. Then scroll down to the booking form which you’ll need to download and print. Send to Battle Honours Limited, Suite L, Astonbury Farm Business Park, Aston, Nr Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG2 7EG.
Ensure you quote BCMH TOUR 2020 and please ensure you send your deposit at the same time as the booking form.
Please book by 14 Feb 2020.
A reading list for those so inclined is attached.