I have just return from France where I participated in a 3 day Western Front Battlefields tour with Sacred Ground Tours.
I have wanted to do this for some time now as my Grandfather served on the Western Front and was awarded a D.C.M. He was also part of the gun crew which fired the first allied shot of World War I from Point Nepean (Australia) as a Germany freighter endeavoured to escape Port Phillip Bay to open seas.
As I crossed the English Channel I received a message to see if I could find three uncles, from my wife’s cousin. This was two days prior to our tour commencement. Phil managed to find two uncles on the first day and the third grave at Fromelles Cemetery. Photos of these grave sites provided much joy to family back in Australia.
Visiting and viewing the Great War battlefields and experiencing the Last Post at Menin Gate was something I will never forget. We only visited a small number of the 2,500 World War I cemeteries and to experience the feeling of serenity which existed therein. It is difficult to comprehend the atrocities of war with the now tranquil battlefields which are farmlands once again.
I have only praise for Phil (Australian owner/operator of Sacred Ground Tours and Arras resident) and Mathilde, our driver/guide on the third day. Their knowledge of World War I battles was impeccable and their commentary ranged from heart breaking to very entertaining.
Sacred Ground Tours does give the option of taking a one, two or three day tour. However, I would recommend the three day tour to anyone contemplating such a venture.
Again many thanks to Sacred Ground Tours for a wonderful three days.

Don C
Victoria, Australia
June 2017

My wife and I spent three full days with Phil and Matilde in early May, covering all the major Australian battle fields. Having an Aussie who is not only knowledgeable, but also passionate about Aussies on the front goes without saying. Phil’s extensive knowledge of the area and his rapport with the locals allows for a more personalised trip, with tales of how these battle scared fields still affect some local farmers to this day. Lunch each day was at a local cafe in one of the villages we visited (a lovely bonus). Both Phil and Matilde went out of their way to personalise the tour for us – researching where my two great uncles fought and lost their lives, even visiting one of their graves (other no known grave). There is no way we would have been able to see or do what we did with Phil & Matilde if we did it by ourselves, so hats off to you guys – you did an amazing job. So very highly recommended to anyone who wants the Australian perspective on the Western Front. Regards,

Sean & Kay Rogers
NSW, Australia
June 2017

My husband Ken and I did the three day Australian tour with Phil. As there was a bigger group, we also had Mathilde as a guide. The tour was amazing. Phil and Mathilde were both extremely enthusiastic and very knowledgeable. I personally don’t know how they keep all the dates in their heads!!! The whole tour was fantastic from start to finish. Phil and Mathilde went out of their way to personalise the trip for the group. I got to see where two of my relatives are resting now in peace. Also saw where a number of other relatives who were fortunate enough to come home, had fought. Phil also assisted us by recommending accommodation and arranging for a transfer from Paris to Arras. Also gave us a lot of info about Arras which was great. We would definitely recommend Phil and Sacred Ground Tours if you are wanting to experience the battlefields.

Lea H
Newcastle, Australia
May 2017

Did a two day tour with Phil and Matilde out on the Somme and to Fromelles and over to Passchendale. A full on couple of days. Phil has an extensive knowledge of the battles and personalities from each side so really helped me put the timeline and events into perspective. Doing some of your own research beforehand will give an even greater depth to your understanding of events.
The Passchedanle museum was a really good stop plus simply stopping at the roadside and looking for battle momentos in the fields made things come to life.

Greatly appreciated Matilde staying longer to walk through the battlefield and trenches of the Somme.
Highly recommend Phil and his team, I made some real memories with him on the tour.

Alan S
Adelaïde, Australia
May 2017

My wife and I recently completed a Sacred Ground Tour [ jan 2017]. Both our grandfathers fought in France on the western front in 1916/18.The 2 day tour was the highlight of our 8 week tour of Europe.Phil our tour leader has a vast knowledge of the areas and ww1 .He has an engaging personality and above all a true professional.I highly recommend Sacred Ground Tours to any individual or group.

Sydney, Australia
March 2017

Mid December 2016,
My Family and I spent a very educational and at times emotional day with Phil. Visiting various locations around the Somme valley. Traveling the sites with two children can always be a challenge, but regular “Treasure Hunt” stops where we all got to find relics made the kids day.
Phil has an an amazing knowledge of the Australian involvement in the Western Front and was more than happy to answer any questions.

I can’t recommend Sacred ground tours high enough!

Mike, Christine, Alexandra & Tom
February 2017

My wife and I spent three days touring various battlefields in Oct 2016 with Phil. Whilst we knew many of the names of the sites, we were enthralled for the whole time learning so much of the Australian contribution to the eventual victory. Phil is a very passionate man with regards to his subject matter and this made the tours an unforgettable experience. He went out of his way to find graves of lost relatives and was able to provide on the spot information regarding battles fought by them. His knowledge of the part played by General John Monash in winning the war for the Allies was something to behold. He confirmed my long held belief that General Monash was a military genius and his efforts made him one of the greatest Australians who ever lived. After our 3 days of tours from the Somme to Belgium it made us feel even more proud of our Aussie heritage based on the heroics of our young fellow Australians (and all the other young men of many nations) who had to endure such shocking hardship in this revolting war. Seeing the graves of so many young people from 100 years ago was very sad but we owe it to them to pay our respects in the land where they fell defending. Thank you so much Phil. Something we will never forget.

Margie T
Sydney, Australia
November 2016

Thanks Phil and Faye, a wonderful experience for us both
I had six relatives who served on the Western front, only one returned, being my Grandfather who was wounded at Mouquet Farm and captured by the Germans
Phil had the records of all of my relatives and showed us all of the battle fields that my family saw action, including taking me on to the fields at Mouquet Farm, where the action was and where my Grandfather was wounded, this had special meaning for me.
Both Phil and Faye had intimate knowledge of each area and in the two full days that we spent exploring all of the battle fields, sites and cemetaries, I came out with a much broader knowledge
Phil with his intimate knowledge also introduced us to the “Mayor “of Pozieres and Faye introduced us to the man who is trying to arrange a new monument to the Brothers in Arms.
I would highly recommend anyone who plans to visit this area to contact Phil and arrange their tours with him
I can only say Many Thanks Phil and Faye, your time and tour was most appreciated

Bradley & Vicky Hay
Freemantle, Australia
October 2016

Today my husband and I were at the Australian Memorial in Villers Bretonneux placing a poppy and an Aussie flag and we heard a voice ask( with much enthusiasm) “do you have a relative here?” That was the voice of Phil who told us he runs Sacred Ground tours. Phil asked my Great uncles name and proceeded to look up information about him on the internet and emailed me all that he could find. Thank you Phil for your kindness and being so helpful we really appreciated it. You certainly have so much passion and knowledge I only regret not finding you earlier to have you as our guide. I have received the email you sent with all the information on my G’ uncle’s history.
I encourage everyone to please book Phil (Sacred Ground Tours) you will not be disappointed. Sorry we did not make it to lunch Phill as we were so caught up in the history and we only had the one day. Thank you again.

Bruce & Kathryn
Qld, Australia
October 2016

We recently had the pleasure of doing a tour with Phil and his assistant Fay through the WW1 battlefields and many grave sites. Phil is an excellent host /guide and with his extensive knowledge made our 3 day tour enjoyable, informative and emotional. We spent 2 days with Phil and 1 day with Fay both have their own way of imparting information and it is great to get a different prospective. If you are going to the WW1 battlefields Phil’s tours are the way to do it.

NSW, Australia
October 2016