Gavrelle Charity Ride 2017

France 27–30 Apr 2017

Commemorate the Centenary of the First World War and support the soldiers of today by joining the HAC bike ride to the Frontline supporting The Soldiers’ Charity.

Three members of the HAC were awarded Victoria Crosses during the Great War.  Two of those were awarded to Lt Haine and Lt Pollard during the Battle of Arras in 1917 at the ‘Arleux Loop’ just North of the village of Gavrelle, a German defensive trench system in front of the partially completed Siegfried Line.

Lt Haine was 20 at the time. On the night of 28/29 April, repeatedly counter-attacked by German forces, he organised and led six bombing attacks against a German strong point and captured the position, together with 50 prisoners and two machine-guns. The enemy at once counter-attacked and regained the lost ground, but Second Lieutenant Haine formed a "block" in his trench and for the whole of the following night maintained his position. Next morning he again attacked and recaptured the position. His citation recored that “his splendid example inspired his men during more than 30 hours of continuous fighting.”

Also 20 years old, on 29 April, Lt Pollard, already a highly decorated soldier, facing a determined attack with very strong forces, realized the seriousness of the situation and with only four men he started a counter-attack with bombs, pressing it home until he had broken the enemy attack and regained all that had been lost and much ground in addition. This officer's example inspired courage into every man who saw him.

Next year, to commemorate their service and that of all HAC members during the Great War, joint veteran and active battlefield study tours from 18 to 20 April 2017 will be following in the footsteps of Lts Haine and Pollard, as well as the men of the 1st Battalion HAC, during the course of this action.

The weekend will also involve an Act of Remembrance on 29 April 2017.

A contingent of active Members of the Regiment will also cycle to Gavrelle to join the Battlefield Study Tour while raising funds for the ABF, the Soldiers’ Charity, whom the HAC has been supporting over the last year.

The ride is approximately 180 km, leaving Armoury House on 27 April 2017 to arrive at Gavrelle on 28 April 2017.


Day 1 - Thursday 27 April: Armoury House, London - Dieppe 

Approx. 113 km 

An early start at Armoury House as we set off through the streets of south-east London heading down towards the leafy lanes of Surrey.  As we head south, our surroundings become less built up and less congested. 

In the afternoon we pass through the South Downs and we head for the ferry terminal where we have a 4 hour crossing to Dieppe. After wheeling our bikes on board, we have dinner on the ferry and there's some time to relax. We disembark with our bikes and cycle the short distance to our hotel for some well-earned rest. 

Day 2 - Friday 28 April: Dieppe - Gavrelle 

Approx. 160 km 

After a hearty breakfast, we set off through Dieppe, and within 2½km we are into the pretty Normandy countryside through typically French villages.  Today is a long undulating ride as we build up a 160 km distance sweeping across France to Gavrelle.  

Day 3 - Saturday 29 April

Today is a World War 1 Battlefield Study.

Day 4 - Sunday 30 April: Return to London  

After breakfast we load up onto the coaches for our return journey back to London.  Expected ETA back to Armoury House is 17:00.  

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  • Gavrelle Charity Ride 2017