Les Dunn has packed his bags, ready for the trip of a lifetime to the tranquil countryside of northern France.
And while the retired pilot is looking forward to sampling the local delicacies and attractions of the Somme, it will be the horrors of war occupying his mind.
Les is one several hundred Australians travelling half way around the world to attend a special dawn service in the rural town of Villers-Bretonneux on Anzac Day.
It was there 90 years ago that Australian diggers staged a mammoth battle against German troops on April 24 and 25, 1918, which ultimately liberated the town and helped turn the course of World War I.
Locals are busy putting the finishing touches to a week-long celebration, culminating in memorial services in the town and nearby military cemeteries dedicated to the thousands of Australian soldiers who lost their lives saving Villers-Bretonneux and other towns in France and Belgium.
Tourism operators expect the area to be flooded with Australians wanting to pay their respects on Anzac Day, with hotel rooms and bed and breakfasts in the area booked out several months ago.
Many of the Australians who will visit Villers-Bretonneux see the Anzac Day commemorations there as a unique chance to pay their respects to relatives who fought there or in nearby towns scattered throughout the Somme.
Les said he decided to book himself on a tour because he was curious to retrace the fatal footsteps his grandfather, Les Clark Dunn, took as a young soldier on the Western Front.
"It's something that has grown on me with time," he says.
"By default I've become the family historian and seeing I'm now the head of the queue, I guess, and before I pass on I would like to let my grandchildren know where they come from.
"It's a pilgrimage for me, really. I expect I'll need about 15 boxes of tissues. It's going to be emotional. There's no doubt about it."
Les' grandfather was just 27 when he enlisted in the 31st Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force and sailed from Australia in late 1915 bound for a training camp in Egypt.
After arriving in France in July 1916, the former cigar maker from Melbourne found himself involved in what was to become the worst day in Australia's military history - the battle of Fromelles.
Australian forces suffered 5,533 casualties, including nearly 2,000 deaths, in just one night of fighting in the tiny French village, while about 170 disappeared.
Les' grandfather was among those never seen again.
"It was literally a baptism of fire. It was an absolute shemozzle. It was criminal," said the retiree, who lives at Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands.
Two years later, some of the diggers who survived Fromelles found themselves in the thick of things once more at Villers-Bretonneux.
The battle on the eve of Anzac Day 1918 has not achieved the notoriety of Gallipoli, with many Australians probably never having even heard of it.
But if it were not for the actions of Australia's brave diggers in the small rural town, the entire course of the Great War could have been altered.
German troops had recaptured Villers-Bretonneux on April 24, thinking it would provide them with a strategic gateway southwards to capture Paris.
But the Australians were determined to win back "VB", as the town was affectionately known, and staged a massive fightback that night in a daring simultaneous counterattack from the north and south that stopped the German advance.
By the next morning the town had been liberated, but at the heavy cost of 1200 Australian lives.
Samuel Spittle spent nearly four years in Europe as army horse and carriage driver delivering much-needed supplies of food, ammunition and medicines to Australian troops on the Western Front, including Villers-Bretonneux.
A keen letter writer, he regularly sent stories of his war-time adventures to his family in rural Victoria - many of which have been collated into a book for his modern-day relatives.
His son Graeme, 78, has read them all and been inspired to join a tour of the Western Front for Anzac Day so he can see "what's what".
"The main purpose of the trip is just to see where he spent his time," Graeme said.
"He took lots of pictures and sent postcards while he was away. His letters weren't censored very much, but he usually wrote that he was 'somewhere in France'."
In his letters Spittle, who was known by his family as "the war correspondent", described his dislike of English army officers and nights stuck out on the battlefields in thick mud while shells rained down.
His first impressions of France were its red-roofed houses in the countryside and lack of "able-bodied men".
He also witnessed soldiers enduring "great hardships and sickness" in bitterly cold conditions on the front lines.
During his time on the Western Front, Spittle was awarded a medal for gallantry after he released horses from their stables and rescued other farm animals amid a German shell attack.
He returned to Australia in 1919 and spent the rest of his life farming until he died from cancer aged 51 in 1942.
Local historian Yves Potard has studied extensively the contribution of Australian troops across the Western Front, and says the French remain grateful for their sacrifices.
"The Australian soldiers made a big sacrifice for French people to liberate them and during the war and a lot of them were just 18 and 19 years old," he says.
"They had never seen war, they had no future. They gave their lives to liberate our country.
"A lot of Australians are still in the earth here."
The links between the two countries, it seems, have never been stronger.