Self Guided Battlefield Tours
Many people prefer to visit the battlefields on their own or with friends and family and do not want a guide to show them around. You will want to make as much of your time on the western front as possible – let me help and take the strain. As such I have devised a number of tailor-made battlefield trips to the famous battlefields of Ypres, Arras and the Somme as well as the many smaller battlefields of the ‘Forgotten Front’ in French Flanders and Artois.
With my knowledge of the battlefields I provide excellent, detailed itineraries with suggestions for self-drive tours including cemetery visits, battlefield walks, accommodation and the all important lunch and coffee stops. Much of the material included will be from my personal research in regimental and national archives – and as such, won’t be the same old material churned out by the myriad tour companies operating.
If you are following a particular relative’s war service then why not ask me to conduct detailed research on their service and then provide an itinerary to follow them along the front? I am highly experienced in researching the movements of men or units and by employing me you will be able to literally ‘follow in their footsteps’. Please contact me for more information – I would be delighted to help you to get the most from your next battlefield trip.
Two recent testimonials are shown below.
Yair David from Israel contacted me last year to help him plan a trip to France and Flanders in order to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, a Jewish soldier in the German army. His grandfather’s diary noted places in which he had served and Yair wanted my help in placing him on the exact same spot. As well as sites in the Ypres salient, Yair also visited the Hindenburg Line near Vendhuile for an August 1917 attack and Quéant and Pronville, the scene of his grandfather’s wounding in the March 1918 Spring Offensive. I was able to arrange for the group to visit to the Glory Hole at La Boisselle and ‘Deborah’ D51, Philippe Gorczynski’s Mark IV tank. I received the following emailed thanking me for my help:
“I spent over a year planning in great detail a tour of the battlefields of Flanders and France, with the intention of following the footsteps of my grandfather, who fought there in WWI as a Jewish soldier in the German army; accompanied by two of my sons. Despite meticulous preparations, I felt that I need professional guidance, particularly seeing as the tour also included sites that are less known and less frequented by tourists.
The preparatory research you conducted for us, the recommendations as to what time of year is best to take the trip and where we should stay, as well the contacts you made for us with the right people in the field, and the file with the detailed maps and vital information all made it possible for us to reach every single site we wanted.
The result was a fascinating and successful tour of the battlefields that we must not forget; and as someone who has experienced combat firsthand and now seen sights such as the bomb craters on the Messines Ridge, getting to perceive the sheer magnitude of that war.”
Yair David, Israel
Graham Ager from Wales had visited the battlefields once before with a large tour company but was after a more relaxed and detailed stay on the Somme. He approached me to provide information to enable him and his son to enjoy their time away. He had a particular interest in Beaumont-Hamel, Ovillers and La Boisselle, Fricourt, Mametz and the location of the Livens Large Gallery Flame Projector and Sap 14 at Mametz as shown in the recent Time Team Special on Channel 4. Following his trip he emailed to say:
“We had a super time on the Somme with great weather and, thanks to you and the excellent information you provided, we able to glean so much more knowledge than our previous trip. The directions to the Livens Flame Projector were first class and we were able to stand on the site (within a few feet anyway as the field was under cultivation with rape) but it was a fascinating experience.
We read the extract you provided from the memoirs of Private WR Thomas, 14th RWF (38th Division) of his attack on Mametz Wood whilst sitting in front of the Welsh Dragon memorial overlooking the wood. I found this particularly poignant and it bought the action, terrible conditions and casualties into sharp focus. The other accounts were read on the sites and in conjunction with our trench maps you provided they added a new dimension to the whole trip. Again very many thanks for your efforts in producing the material which made a great difference to our enjoyment of the trip.”
Graham Ager, Wales