The guide directory details all Guild Accredited Members. Each of these has passed our Accreditation Programme – so you can be sure they are all high quality guides and will give you a great tour!
You can filter by battle/campaign or country and then click on the name of an Accredited Guide to read their biography. Most Accredited Guides have contact details by which you can contact them directly. If not, or if you want to pass a message to them, please contact them via the Guild Secretary via our Contacts Page.
Many Guides can develop bespoke personalised tours and can research where particular ancestors might have fought or died. If you want to advice on following a particular ancestor and you have not identified a particular Accredited Guide, please contact the Guild Secretary. We guarantee we’ll have somebody that can help you!
Finally, this list shows only our Accredited Guides. Our Ordinary Members are not listed here and if you would like to check whether a particular individual is a member of the Guild, or for any other further help, please contact the Guild Secretary via our Contacts Page.
Accredited Guide Number: 8
I am a freelance guide, historian and heritage professional. After retiring following ten years in the army as a Royal Artillery Officer, I became increasingly involved in interpreting and presenting battlefield heritage for the Battlefields Trust and The Royal British Legion. My interest in battlefield touring was triggered by noticing that the part of Germany in which we were training in the 1980s had been a battlefield in 1757. I had always been interested in military history and both my father and grandfather had fought in the world wars.
As a guide, my clients include small and large groups, businesses as well as educational and military groups. I was an early supporter of the Guild of Battlefield Guides and been part of its validation team, responsible for assessing guides’ competence, since 2008. I instruct on courses teaching battlefield guides and have been Guide Co-ordinator for the Liberation Route Europe.
In 2012 I was elected to the British Commission for Military History. My published work includes two books on D Day and Normandy, chapters in British Army Guide to the Western Front, and articles in military history journals. I write a military history blog https://theobservationpost.com
My interest and knowledge of military history stretches from Caesar to the Cold War and my guiding experience covers much of Europe. Besides the world wars and the Napoleonic era, I am also interested in the mid C19th wars between Prussia, Austria and France and the Severn Years War.
Two of my books are on artillery in Normandy and I am currently writing a battlefield guide to artillery on the First Day of the Somme in publication. The artillery story of both world wars is a little neglected and I offer battlefield tours to tell the artillery story under the brand www.gunnertours.com
One speciality is providing military background for people researching their ancestry. I have been a researcher for a company that makes a popular ancestry-based TV programme and have appeared on television myself.
I have been privileged to support some of the British Army centenary staff rides as a subject matter expert alongside academic historians. My clients include many military units and headquarters. I run a website offering advice to military units planning staff rides, battlefield studies or realities of war tours. www.staffrideservices.com
The links between military and business strategy fascinate me. I offer a service to help organisations to learn from other people’s mistakes using examples from statecraft and military history. www.businessbattlefields.com
I chaired the Battlefields Trust from 2008-2015 and was involved in many projects to preserve, interpret and present many of the Battlefields of Britain, including the re-discovery of the battlefields of Bosworth.
Accredited Guide Number: 62
Ian Gumm is the founder and CEO of In The Footsteps, a leading independent battlefield tour operator, as well as a full-time battlefield historian and guide. He is a former Chair of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides and has led tours since 1998. During that time, Ian has visited the battlefields of Anglo-Saxon England, the Norman Conquest, the Hundred Years War, the War of the Roses, the English Civil Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, the Anglo-Zulu War, the First World War, the Second World War … and much more.
“Touring the battlefield is my passion, it is what I love to do, and I feel extremely privileged to be able to escort people around the battlefields of the world visiting some of the most important historical sites that have shaped the world in which we live.”
Ian served in the British Army as a Reservist for thirty-six years during which time he commanded B (Rorke’s Drift) Company of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Wales; commanded the Regimental Contingent at the affiliation parade with 121 South African Infantry Battalion (a Zulu Battalion) in South Africa; was the officer responsible for the training of all junior and potential officers in Wales; trained junior managers in the Defence Industry as the Officer Commanding the Sandhurst Leadership Challenge in Wales, and was the staff officer responsible for the First World War Centenary Commemorations for Wales.
His experience, gained both on the battlefield and with the British Army, allows him to add a soldier’s perspective and paint the picture of a battle on the canvas of the countryside. This enhances your tour experience, as Ian is not only able to impart an understanding of the history, but also a feel for the men who took part in the battle and the ground over which it was fought.
“So, whether you are ‘following in the footsteps’ of an ancestor or relative on a genealogy tour; ‘following in the footsteps of heroes’ on a more general tour or retracing the steps of a military unit or formation on a battlefield study or staff ride you can be sure that Ian will deliver an experience that will leave you with memories that last a lifetime.”
As an Accredited Member of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides, Ian endeavours to maintain the high standards, both in terms of service and good practice, that are commensurate with the Guild’s ethos. In addition to being an Accredited Member of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides, Ian is a member of the Western Front Association, the Battlefields Trust, the Last Post Association, and the Society for Army Historical Research (SAHR).
As well as leading battlefield tours, Ian delivers interesting and informative military history talks and presentations to professional organisations, businesses, clubs, societies and other groups, small or large.
Accredited Guide Number: 18
Brian Shaw is an Ex Warrant Officer in the Parachute Regiment who has been leading
battlefield tours for the past twenty years. Born in Nottingham in 1958 he joined the Army in
1974 as a Junior Soldier, progressing through a busy career specializing in Battlefield
Communications. Brian become a Warrant Officer Class 1 in 1995 and retired from the
Army in January 2013 after 38 years’ service.
Brian has had an extensive career serving across the globe, in Northern Ireland on operations
and from South Africa to the Arctic Circle and from California to Hong Kong, the long way
round, on training. This long Infantry experience and knowledge of tactics, give him a
soldier’s eye for ground and the implications of terrain on the weapon systems of any
Brian has a long-held interest in military history, particularly the Second World War. He
combines his own experiences and his knowledge of history to put his audience on a tour
within the experience of what the soldiers of the day saw, felt and experienced.
Whilst Brian’s passion is for the Second World War and specifically NW Europe 1944/45
(D–Day to the war’s end) but with a wide military history knowledge he is happy working with
groups on the battlefields of the Great War or others.
Brian has assisted in and personally planned and led tours on the Battle of Waterloo, The
Western Front, Gallipoli, France and Belgium 1940, Malta, the fighting in Normandy,
Operation Market–Garden, Aachen, the Hurtgen Forest, the Rhine Crossing (Plunder and
Varsity) and the Ardennes Offensive. Italy – Anzio and Cassino.
Accredited Guide Number: 38
Mike St Maur Sheil has been guiding since 2007 and specializes in the American and French battlefields of WW1. Since 2011 he has guided the annual tours for the US National WW1 Museum and Memorial as well as numerous tours and pilgrimages for American families and universities as well as the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library.
He spent his career working as a photo-journalist in over sixty countries around the world and this experience led him to create a a series of outdoor photographic exhibitions, entitled ‘Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace’. During the centennial period of 2014-18 these exhibitions were viewed by an audience of over 12 million people in numerous cities including Atlanta, Berlin, Chicago, Dublin, Edinburgh, Istanbul, London, New York, Paris and Washington.
In creating these exhibitions, Mike visited battlefields and photographed places generally only mentioned in books and has thus acquired an extraordinary knowledge of the ‘battlescapes’ of the conflict. In 2014 his photography was published by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in their centenary commemoration book entitled ‘For the Fallen’. In 2016, the collection of his work, entitled ‘Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace’, won the accolade of the European Federation of Professional Photographers as the best book of landscape photography published in that year.
In 2016 he was commissioned by the US National WW1 Museum and Memorial to create an especial ‘Doughboys 1917-1918’ exhibition describing the American experience of the conflict which has given him an especial insight into the US involvement in WW1 and the battlefields of Belleau Wood, the Marne, Meuse-Argonne and St. Mihiel.
In 2018 Mike was awarded a Masters Degree in WW1 studies by Wolverhampton University for a dissertation on the role of aerial photography in the development of Air Power in WW1. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the British Commission for Military History.
Accredited Guide Number: 14
I am a historian, tour operator and private guide based in Canterbury. I run my own company Dr Thomson’s Tours full-time, specialising in tailor-made tours with a historical and cultural theme in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.
Battlefield guiding accounts for around two-thirds of my business. Battlefield tours are particularly special to me as they combine history (asking what happened, why it happened then, there, and in that way), people (both empathy with those who fought, and on–the–spot interactions with one’s clients), landscape, and travel – all great interests of mine. Where History and Place overlap is at the heart of the buzz I get from history and explaining it to others.
After graduating with a degree in American Studies in 1979 I was briefly a civil servant, then a university administrator for fifteen years. I was Administrator of University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (the UK’s first and largest university space research group), then moved to Canterbury in 1992 to be Administrator of the new Canterbury Business School. Meanwhile I was taking my love of history forward by completing a PhD in American History in my own time; the subject was the experiences of ordinary American troops in France in 1944 and 1945 and their interactions with the French people. On completion of this I set about my aim of doing something ‘useful’ (i.e. productive!) with a History PhD and set up Dr Thomson’s Tours in 1997. This allows me to teach ‘in the field’, to take my study of history forward, and to meet a fascinating and varied mix of people.
References (see Trip Advisor, for instance) pay tribute to my relaxed but authoritative style, the high level of organisation of tours, and my ability to personalise a tour and make the complexities of war understandable to audiences with very varying degrees of pre–existing knowledge.
I was very proud to obtain the Guild of Battlefield Guides’ badge in November 2004.