Battlefield Tours

In the footsteps of the cameramen of the Somme – Battlefield tours 28-29 June or 2-3 July

A unique two-day, self-drive, guided tour of the Somme battlefield of 1916. The tour will start at the guest house of Avril Williams in the village of Auchonvillers. Guests are welcome to book accommodation with Avril directly or to join the tour having arranged their own accommodation. Contact Avril for an inclusive Battlefield Study Tour accommodation price.

Avril Williams Guest House –

Day One – This will start with a fully narrated showing of the film “The Somme” which was first released in August 1916. The group will then head off to Pas en Artois and Acheux to see where Geoffrey Malins filmed and Ernest Brooks photographed units of the 29th and 31st Divisions in the days preceding the Battle of the Somme.  This will be followed by lunch which will be either a picnic or lunch back at Auchonvillers (tbc)

In the afternoon the group will head to the ‘front line’ at Beaumont Hamel to see the locations at which the events immediately before the battle and on the 1st of July were recorded. We will be using a replica of Malins’ Moy and Bastie camera to get a sense of the framing and to experience the viewpoints of eye witnesses. These will include the Sunken Lane, King’s Street and the site of the mine explosion under Hawthorn Ridge.

The group will then return to Auchonvilllers for a final discussion and a well-earned drink.

Day Two – There will be an in-depth look at the relevant sections of the film “The Somme” and then the group will set off to the road from Albert to La Boisselle to see where Geoffrey Malins filmed casualty evacuations and a German counterattack. The group will then move on to Lochnagar Crater to examine where Malins was able to film the site about the time of its capture.

After lunch, the group will focus on events filmed by J B McDowell, south of Albert, examining in more detail events at Minden Post, the shelling of Mametz and the German counterattack. We will explore casualty evacuations and triage, plus areas where German prisoners of war were held. The tour will finish in the centre of Fricourt to try to identify from where exactly the panning shot of the village was taken after it had been captured.

It may be possible to visit appropriate war cemeteries along the way.

Tickets will cost 30 euros per person per day. To book, contact Andy at

See Talks and Lectures page for a list of topics and contact for details of availability etc.

Andy is highly skilled in organising World War One and World War Two battlefield tours for specific interest groups including GCSE students, Ministry of Defence study groups and private parties requiring tailor-made itineraries.

World War One and World War Two tour areas include:-




-Western Front (general)

-Western Front (archaeology)


100th anniversary WW1 tour

“Andy organised a truly memorable trip to mark the 100th anniversary of my grandfather and his brother being severely wounded in separate incidents on the same day in 1918. It all went like clockwork, with Andy’s compendious knowledge helping inform us all. Andy suggested we stay at Skindles in Poperinge, since it had been an officers’ club in WW1, which was a great idea since my forebears could well have stayed there too. He was able to organise detours to take in the graves of various ancestors of my daughter-in-law’s who had been killed in action in WW1, which was much appreciated. All in all, I can’t  think of a better person to take a party around the WW1 battlefields. ”


The Sunken Road pilgrimage

” We all thought that we knew quite a lot about what happened in the vicinity in 1916 but your presentations proved that we still had things to learn. We had been in the Sunken Lane many times before but what we experienced that morning was very moving. On the sounding of the whistle, to follow in the footsteps of the soldiers who went over the top from there exactly one hundred years ago touched us all. (We are a group of ex. and serving Metropolitan Police officers and it takes a lot to get us feeling emotional). When we finally opened our envelopes to reveal whether we had been killed or lived on that fateful day only served to enhance those emotions already stirred by the event.  All I can say to you and Steve is thank you for giving us an experience which made our whole trip worthwhile and which will stay in our memories for a very long time to come.”