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.
20 C.ArdennesArnhemBastogneBattle of the BulgeBattle of the SommeBullecourtCold WarD-DayDieppeEindhoven & NijmegenFall of BerlinFall of FranceFromellesMeuse-ArgonnePeenemundeUS Operations on the Western Front 1917 - 1918VerdunVillers-BretonneuxVimyVimy RidgeWWIWWIIYpres
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