SCS Battlefield Tour April 2017 : DOJRAN 100

Sunday 23 to Saturday 29 April 2017

Photograph: SCS tour group at the 'Devil's Eye' on Grand Couronné, a key feature of the Doiran battlefield. Photograph taken by SCS Chairman, Alan Wakefield, in September 2013.
SCS tour group at the ‘Devil’s Eye’ on Grand Couronné, a key feature of the Doiran battlefied. Photograph taken by SCS Chairman, Alan Wakefield, in September 2013.

Continuing its programme of themed First World War Centenary battlefield tours, the Salonika Campaign Society offers a chance to walk and study the ground fought over during the First Battle of Doiran (or Dojran) in 1917.

The battle, which began on the night of 24 April and concluded on 9 May, was the first large scale offensive operation fought by the British Salonika Force. During the battle units of the British 22nd and 26th Divisions assaulted the strong defensive positions held by the Bulgarian 9th (Pleven) Division in support of a major Allied offensive west of the River Vardar. The results of the fighting saw the British gain little ground for the cost of over 5000 casualties, although the strategic aim of ensuring no Bulgarian forces left Doiran to reinforce against the Allied attack west of the Vardar was achieved.

Photograph: British artillery positions on 'La Tortue', a hill on the Doiran battlefied. Photograph taken by SCS Chairman, Alan Wakefield, in September 2013.
British artillery positions on ‘La Tortue’, a hill on the Doiran battlefied. Photograph taken by SCS Chairman, Alan Wakefield, in September 2013.

This tour, led by SCS Chairman and co-author of Under the Devil’s Eye, Alan Wakefield, will include visits to key locations associated with the battle. British offensive and Bulgarian defensive preparations for battle will be covered. Wherever possible the tour group will follow the lines of advance taken by units of 22nd and 26th Divisions during the attacks on 24-25 April and 8-9 May 1917. The tour will also visit other Salonika campaign sites, including the Karasouli and Doiran Cemeteries and the Doiran Memorial, where many of those killed during the battle are commemorated.

Itinerary

  • Sunday 23 April: Arrive Thessaloniki 11:10am. Visit Birdcage Line / Karasouli Cemetery / Doiran Memorial and Cemetery
  • Monday 24 April: Visit British front line positions at Doiran including La Tortue / boat trip on Lake Doiran
  • Tuesday 25 April: Overview of Bulgarian positions including Grand Couronné / Bulgarian artillery bunkers
  • Wednesday 26 April: Visit Swindon Hill to follow attack of 79th and 77th Brigades / Petit Couronné for actions involving 10th Devons, 7th Royal Berkshires and 7th Ox & Bucks Light Infantry / key Bulgarian second line defences on Hill 340 and Doiran Hill
  • Thursday 27 April: Visit the ruins of Doldzeli village / Jackson’s Ravine / Pip Ridge from P5 to P1 to cover attacks made by the 65th and 66th Brigades
  • Friday 28 April: Visit to the German military cemetery at Gradsko / Tunnel at Demir Kapija / Crash site of Lt Paul Deny’s Montague’s, 47 Squadron (RFC) / 10th (Irish) Division Memorial
  • Saturday 29 April: Return for 11:50am flight from Thessaloniki

Costs

  • Estimated costs for the tour: £700 to £800 per person (dependent on numbers travelling)
  • Costs cover: Accommodation / food / in country transport / local guides
  • As usual individuals are responsible for organizing their own flights to and from Thessaloniki.

Photograph: The view from the CWGC Memorial on Colonial Hill in Greece, across Lake Doiran to Doiran town in FYROM. Photograph by Robin Braysher, March 2016.
The view from the CWGC Memorial on Colonial Hill in Greece, across Lake Doiran to Doiran town in FYROM. Photograph by Robin Braysher, March 2016.

Author: scswebeditor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and from 2008 has been the Society's web editor. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Robin hands over the role in October 2021 to Andy Hutt. Andy's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Arthur, who served as a Royal Engineer from 1916-1918. All posts prior to February 2021 are by Robin. Opinions expressed in these posts are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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