Euroculture School Tours

'Poignant School Trips to Remember'

WW2 Battlefields Study Tours

A Global Conflict - Not So Distant

The recent 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings has naturally focussed the public attention back on the Second World War, at the same time we are marking the Centenary of the start of the First. The second global conflict was not so heavily centred on French soil as the earlier war but whilst much of WW2 was fought in the air and on the sea, to the East and on other continents, there is still much to learn from many sites within easy reach of the Channel Ports.

Aside from the Beaches themselves, with their memorials and gun emplacements, there are a number of other 'must-see' locations for a school history group visit, most notably the impressive, thought-provoking Memorial de Caen. Other highlights include the Juno Beach Centre, the Pegasus Memorial, the American Museum at Gold Beach as well as the 360° Film Show and D-Day Landing Exhibition at Arromanches.

Beaches, Bombardment, Batteries and Bravery

This stretch of coastline from Caen to Cherbourg earned its place in World history in the Spring of 1944 when the Allied Forces put 'Operation Overlord' into action. A coach journey along this route is itself like a history textbook coming to life as you pass the landing beaches one-by-one: Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah. Even the most reluctant pupil cannot fail to be enthused by some of the scenes you will encounter here. There are so many reminders of those historic events still strewn about here - the mulberry harbour, tanks, bunkers, gun emplacements - that really evoke the past. Whichever of our residential centres you choose in the area, there will be a black and white photograph placing the town in its context in those momentous days in '44. We want to take your school there.

Caen - Scarred by the Past, Learning for the Future

The capital of Lower Normandy and a strategically-important Port, the city of Caen was devastated by British bombardment as the Allies struggled to secure its liberation from the Germans in 1944. The Caen 'Peace Memorial' Museum is essential for school groups studying 20th Century History, offering a thorough insight into the causes and consequences of war in a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibitions over 14000 square metres and three levels. The sheer scale and variety of this attraction can take nearly a whole day to cover in detail. Subjects covered extend far beyond the Normandy Landings to including The Resistance, Genocide, war's impact on societies and The Cold War. From primary to secondary school, the Mémorial also offers a range of educational tools adapted to suit your pupils’ academic level.

Lunchboxes? Let's have Launchpads for Learning!

Closer to Calais, the Blockhaus d’Éperlecques and La Coupole and are both fascinating legacies of WWII – massive bunkers built as launch-pads for V1 and V2 Rockets aimed at the UK.

More than 20,000 V2 rockets were fired in all, 1,300 of which targeted London, in 1944-1945. The first V2 rocket to hit the UK landed in Chiswick, claiming the first of 2,724 British victims, a three year-old girl named Rosemary Ann. This first rocket was fired from the Netherlands, but the Germans were desperate to change the course of the war and quickly built other launch sites to expand the programme. These indiscriminate missiles were named by Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels as Vergeltungswaffe Zwei - translated as 'Vengeance Weapon 2'.

Hidden in a forest, the Blockhaus d'Eperlecques is the biggest bunker in Northern France from where the first V1 and V2 missiles were fired at England. With an authentic launch-pad and original rockets as well as other artefacts from the Second World War, a 90-minute visit is recommended and materials are provided for this valuable educational experience. 

La Coupole, situated close to Saint-Omer, is another monumental bunker built by the Germans to house and launch V2 rockets. Now a History and Remembrance centre with a strong educational and cultural mission, exhibitions focus on the occupation as well as the advancement of warfare and rocket-science. It also now features a new Planetarium which takes visitors onto a journey into space - a more positive legacy of the early rocket technology that was used to such devastating effect in the 1940s.

Beyond the Occupation: Respect and Remembrance

The Picardy town of Compiegne is more famously associated with the signing of the Armistice that signalled the end of the First World War. However, the same railway coach that was used as a venue for that momental occasion, was also symbolically exploited by Hitler as a humiliating rebuke to the French when he used it again to sign the lesser known Armistice of 1940, formalising the German Occupation of France in World War Two.

The Mémorial de l'internement et de la déportation Camp de Royallieu is also located in Compiègne. Following the occupation by the German Wehrmacht in June 1940, the Security Service of the SS set up an internment and deportation camp in the town in 1941. The camp was used to intern French resistance fighters and Jews, among others. About 40,000 people were deported from the Royallieu-Compiègne camp to Auschwitz and other camps on German territory. Since 2008, a memorial on the historic premises has commemorated the history of the camp and the prisoners' fates. The site comprises an exhibition, a chapel, a 'wall of names', an escape tunnel and garden of remembrance.


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