top of page

The "Donkeys"

Tour Code: S114

An introduction to British leadership on the Western Front   

For decades we've been told that the generals were idiots, that they flung their men forward for repeated slaughter without learning anything at all. this tour will explain why there isn't a semblance of truth to that. 

Tour Type: Standard

Price: From £699pp

Tour Code: S114

Riqueval Bridge (AH).jpg
Screenshot 2022-09-02 at 22.35.03.png
Screenshot 2022-09-02 at 22.35.03.png


Day 1: We depart early and arrive in Ypres where we begin our tour. Today is spent looking at 1914-1915. We examine early experiences of Britain’s generals and what happens when they are too hands on. We look at what might have been with the story of General Johnnie Gough, then we journey on to Loos to look at confused command and what happens whencommand communcations lapse during a large offensive. The answer is: finger pointing! But did they learn anything from the first eighteen months of the war? 


Day 2: Today we begin looking at Sir Douglas Haig’s tenure as Commander in Chief and examine 1st July 1916 from two different perspectives. Disaster at the northern end of the battlefield, and success in the south. We also look at the heartbreaking story of General Congreve, who helped to engineer this success, but when the battle pushed on, lost his eldest son under his own command. 

Day 3: On our third day we look in depth at the Battle of Passchendaele. We examine the opening throes under the “thrusting” General Gough, before we show Haig’s change of tack and look at Plumer’s effective bite and hold tactics. However, we then learn all about why things went from bad to worse even with him in charge. 


Day 4: To finish our tour, we look at how British generals helped the Allies to victory by learning how to combine everything they had learned since 1914 in one effective strategy. The idea that they did the same thing over and over again for more than four years? You’ll see how misplaced it is...

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 is literally obsessed with telling everyone that the generals were people too. She thinks that this nonsense about lions and donkeys has gone on  long enough, and that it’s time for a more nuanced appreciation of their leadership. 

bottom of page