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I initially contacted Andy and Katie at Century Tours some time ago regarding the research into my Grandfather’s Army service during WWI. All we knew was that he had served in France, had come from an unhappy family background and had enlisted underage. What Century Tours unearthed was nothing short of incredible.
So I booked up a weekend tour with my son in order to discover more! At the advice of Century we were privileged to be going to the Somme on the 106th anniversary. The whole experience was nothing short of exemplary from start to finish. We were collected early on the Friday morning as part of their ‘door to door’ service and taken south (via a last minute unexpected PCR visit for my son, all arranged by Century Tours), then following breakfast we arrived in France.
The vehicle was large and comfortable. There were planned tours on route to the accommodation and a perfect packed lunch supplied. All this was in the build up to my Grandfather’s story. We arrived at the accommodation in the afternoon and I must say I was very impressed. A two level upside down house in the middle of rural France with views of the river and an historical British war time cemetery to explore a five minute walk away. Evening meal was a superb BBQ supplied by our hosts. The next day our tour continued to the delightful town of Albert. After a visit to the underground WWI museum and after a refreshing French cafe coffee, we were taken to a remote war time cemetery location where the story of my Grandfather and the fate of his comrades and Battalion truly unfolded.
To say I was in complete awe is an understatement. Andy had everything recorded and evidenced in a folder which we were later presented with as a keepsake. Once at the final cemetery for that day where it was believed my Grandfather would have been treated for his injuries nearby, we were presented with an original ‘services rendered’ lapel badge and two replica service medals that he would have been issued with but lost in the midsts of time. It was truly emotional. After returning to the accommodation to freshen up, we were treated to a superb meal in one of the many authentic French restaurants in Albert. The local people and business owners were so polite and respectful that the whole atmosphere was incredible. After a sound nights sleep we were taken to the incredible location of Lochnagar crater, followed by Thiepval memorial. Andy’s expert knowledge of the period was evident throughout the whole weekend.
Then it was our time sadly to return to Calais for lunch and our return shuttle service to Blighty.
I can highly recommend Century Tours and my testimonial doesn’t do the hard work undertaken by our hosts Katie and Andy full justice, but needless to say I’ve already booked up with my son for a ‘gangster tour of London’s Eastend’ later in the year and a possible further tour next year. Highly recommended 10/10. From my heart and that of my son’s – thank you 🙏