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Chelsea FC & the First World War

Tour Code: S103

Trace one club’s contribution through the stories of its players and fans

In 2015 Alex Churchill & Andrew Holmes published a book about the contribution of their football club to the war effort. This tour draws on the results of their research and shares the stories of both players and supporters that they uncovered. 

Tour Type: Standard

Scheduled Dates: 21st-24th June 2024

Price: From £649pp

Tour Code: S103

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Day 1: After an early start we arrived in France and head straight for the Somme to look at the part played in that battle by the Footballers Battalion in 1916. Along with Clapton Orient, Chelsea fans made the biggest contribution to this specially formed unit that tried to get men to serve with their footballing heroes. We will also pay visits to such iconic sites as the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme. 


Day 2: After a night in Arras, we set off to follow players and fans on our way north to Ypres, considering those already serving in the army when war was declared; in such battles as Festubert and Neuve Chapelle. We will arrive in Ypres in time for the Last Post. 


Day 3: Today we concentrate on the famous Ypres Salient, taking in highlights such as the Menin Gate, Tyne Cot and Hill 60. We will also look more at some further Chelsea players fans who fought in this sector throughout the war. There’s also a surprise in the spirit of the beautiful game, before we head out for a Belgian bucket list dinner of Flemish stew and frites. That’s steak cooked in beer!


Day 4: We will spend a final morning in the Salient, where you have time to shop for chocolates and beer. We pay one last visit to a very hard to find player who evaded Alex and Andrew for a long time in the historical record. Then will travel back to Blighty in the early afternoon. 

This itinerary is also available as a bespoke/private tour for groups. It can also be adjusted to cater for more specific interests. Please enquire for availability. 


Travel to and from Belgium from the UK

Air conditioned transport

3 & 4* hotel accommodation with breakfast

City taxes

Entry to museums and sites

Bottled water


Lunches and evening meals

Meet the Team

Alex has home and away season tickets at Chelsea. together with Andrew, she wrote a book about Chelsea Football Club in the First World War, and together they took descendants of fans killed in action to

Stamford Bridge for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice to meet the team.


She particular likes talking about Chelsea's contribution because it wasn't the biggest or the smallest in the footballing world, but a good indication of how an average club tried to survive the war. 


Andrew has been visiting the battlefields of the Western Front and beyond for almost twenty years. During that time he has co-written three books and contributed to numerous publications. a Chelsea fan since the 1970s, he particularly enjoys organising bespoke tours and has designed trips by bike, car and on foot.

Jonny is a Chelsea season ticket holder. He has a masters degree in the history of the First World War and is particularly passionate about the Italian Front. He has contributed to numerous books and publications, and loves nothing more than a trip to Ypres and chewing the fat with guests over a Belgian beer.

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