SPECIALIST TOURS OF THE GREAT WAR WESTERN FRONT
Richard has a strong belief that the best way of understanding what happened on any battlefield is to have a good and well informed knowledge of the soldiers, along with an intimate feel for the ground. He has a specific interest in The Great War, particularly the Western Front. From a very young age he remembers finding history in general fascinating and over the years has built up a substantial collection of books on military history along with medals and militaria. He served with the Royal Marines for 7 years and he says "During my time in the forces I acquired my own personal experience of the military and how it operates". It was during this period in the early 1990`s that he began to tour the battlefields of the Western Front. He is the education officer for the Somme Branch of the Western Front Association, a friend of Lochnagar and he is also a member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides and the European Tour Operators Association. Richard is actively involved in various historical projects which include archaeological and archival studies of Great War sites. He now lives on the Somme with his partner Michelle, renting self catering properties for battlefield visitors. Richard is a keen and enthusiastic guide who loves to share his expanding knowledge.
Peter D Smith
Peter's life has revolved around the Great War since he inherited his grandfather's medals and diary as a small boy. He grew up in rural East Yorkshire before joining the Territorial Army at 17. At 21 he decided he needed a little more action and enlisted as a Royal Marines Commando, serving with them for eleven years. For the next 14 years Peter worked in the print industry, finally as the sales director for a Dorset based company. In 2004 he moved to the Somme battlefields of France with his wife and children, where he started a bed and breakfast in the historic village of Flers. He now works full time as a historian, battlefield guide and researcher, Specializing in the Australian experience and battlefields of the western front. Peter is a member of The British Commission for Military History, The Guild of Battlefield Guides, European Tour Operators Association and The Western Front Association. He is a prolific collector of Great War ephemera and photographs, many of which have been used in related publications.
Originally from Alnwick in Northumberland, John grew up surrounded by the history of the town and area. During the Great War, the countryside north of the town was an army training camp and war hospital, and John loved to walk the fields where the Tyneside Scottish & Irish had been moulded into fighting battalions, soaking up the history of these brave volunteers. John is proud to be a Freeman of Alnwick. His interest in history developed over the years and together with his wife Kathleen, he visited and researched the WW2 battlefields of France and Holland where their fathers had served. Further research into the Tyneside battalions and the Durham Light Infantry took them to the Somme and from there to all of the major European battlefields of the Great War. Their research into Kathleen's hometown during WW1 has developed into the "Seaham & the Great War Anthology Project". John is a retired training and development consultant and is now a full time battlefield tour guide and researcher. He is a member of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides, European Tour Operators Association and takes great pride in ensuring that his tours are accurately and thoroughly researched.
Jonathan has always had an interest in all things military and particularly the Great War. Some of his earliest memories are of his grandmother telling the stories of her brother 'Walter' and his adventures and scrapes during the battles of the Somme and Ypres. At the age of 16 he joined the Royal Marines serving a total of 20 years, the first 9 years in 42 and 45 Commando's, then after successful completion of Special Forces selection he served 11 years with the Special Boat Service. During his time in the forces he deployed on 15 operational tours. In 2001 he was awarded the Queens Commendation for Bravery. In 2005 he left the forces to pursue his interest in the Great War, he had already co run a business on the Somme Battlefields along with his brother Richard since 2003. He has researched the lives of several thousand Great War soldiers and the units they served with. Jonathan is a member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides, Western Front Association, European Tour Operators Association, and The Gallipoli Association. He has recently taken an active role in the archaeological 'La Boisselle Project'. He is married to Angela and has two children Aaron and Amy.
It was during his first trip to the Western Front at the age of eleven that Martin began his lifelong passion for the Great War. His family's links with France and Flanders are strong. Both his grandfathers and two great uncles fought in the infantry, and a further 2 great uncles still lie beneath the Western Front, their names recorded on memorials to the missing. His father was in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War serving in France and Germany. Martin remembers him recounting memories, of advancing past the cemeteries and memorials to the Great War in which his father had fought. It is unsurprising; therefore, that Martin would develop a deep interest in military history, and choose a military career. He joined the Royal Marines in 1986 and continues to serve in the appointment of Regimental Sergeant Major.
With an Honours Degree in History, he is an enthusiastic researcher and keen to communicate the experiences of the man on the front line; something that his operational service in Afghanistan allows him a unique insight to. He is a member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides, The Western Front Association and the European Tour Operators Association.
Becoming a guide is the realisation of many years of battlefield visits, both with the various military groups that he has led, and with his family. He looks forward to making your Battlefield visit an informative, respectful, and above all memorable experience.
Jon’s interest in the First World War was sparked as young boy listening to the stories of veterans in his village. He increased his interest in the military and the Great War by researching his own relative’s actions. He furthered his military knowledge by serving in the Territorial Army for five years.
Having completed a history degree in 2005 he took the decision to move with his family to the Somme and convert this passion to a career. He became a full time battlefield guide for the Musée Somme 1916, Albert, in 2006. He now combines his time between the museum and being an independent guide and researcher. He also finds time to help his wife run the Old Blighty tearoom. He is a member of the Somme Branch, Western Front Association where he is the Research and Development Officer. He is a member of the European Tour Operators Association.
Having lived and worked on the Somme for the past six years, Jon is equally at home providing bespoke tours for individual clients as he is taking a coach group on a formal tour. His local knowledge, combined with his ability to speak French, can expand the potential of his tours.
Unlike most other people with a passion for the Great War, Tim has Disneyland Paris to thank for the start of his journey.
It was during a trip to Disneyland Paris over 20 years ago that Tim passed through Ypres and witnessed the Last Post Ceremony, an event that would change his life forever.
From that point, he spent any spare time that he had, visiting the WW1 battlefields of France and Flanders, walking the ground he had read about and gaining a full understanding of the events that will be etched in the history books of the commonwealth forever.
After many years of visiting the battlefields came the realisation that "you only live once" Tim and his wife decided to purchase a property in the heart of the Somme battlefields, give up the corporate treadmill and start living the dream.
Tim, a glass half full person with a zest for life, has been carrying out research and guiding groups large and small around the battlefields of France & Flanders for many years, sharing his passion and knowledge with anyone who wants to listen.
He is a member of the European Tour Operators Association and also in his own words “has the privilege of being the chairman of the Somme branch of the Western Front Association”
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