Duncan Barnes

Accredited Guide Number: 43

Although from a family with a record of distinguished RAF and RAAF service I have pursued a career in finance and law. I live in Suffolk and own and manage Barnes Insight, a company providing expert witness, dispute resolution, and professional training services. All of these activities, like battlefield guiding, require the ability to express complex ideas and events lucidly and engagingly.

My interest in military history and fortification began as a biology undergraduate at UEA; whilst walking the Ypres Salient during the 1974 summer vacation I met my future wife. In the ensuing years I developed a passion for history and completed an MA in Modern History in 2000 under the supervision of Professor Gary Sheffield, then at RMA Sandhurst. My dissertation evaluated the impact of the Great War on West Flanders.

I began guiding small groups to European battlefields and fortifications in 1999, progressing to school, university, military and other groups from 2007. As well as tours to Ypres, the Somme, Arras and 1918 battlefields, I guide tours to selected World War 2 and Cold War sites including Dunkirk, Sedan, Berlin, Munich, Warsaw, Krakow and concentration camps. I have a parallel interest in fortification in France, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia and the Far East.

My tours also consider the non-combatant’s perspective, and the wider impact of conflict. They usually contain insights into the natural history of battlefields!

I continue to research aspects of warfare, and to visit sites of fortification, whenever and wherever practicable. I assist in tracing military ancestry. My wife and I are regular visitors to West Flanders. I am also a member of the Western Front Association, and of the Fortress Study Group.


ArrasAuschwitzBattle of the SommeCold WarDunkirkKrakowSedanWWIWWIIWarsaw uprisingsYpres


BelgiumDenmarkEastern EuropeEuropeFranceGermanyPolandWestern Europe

Caters For

Adult Coach GroupsCollege GroupsFamiliesIndividualsSchool GroupsSmall Groups

Areas of Expertise

Wars covered:

  • World War 1
  • World War 2 and the Cold War


Areas of expertise:

  • Ypres Salient 1914-1918 and ‘behind the lines’
  • Arras
  • The battles of the Somme
  • Anzac battlefields 1916-1918
  • Sedan 1940
  • Dunkirk 1940
  • Berlin 1918 to 1989
  • Munich, Obersalzburg and Kehlsteinhaus
  • Warsaw uprisings
  • Krakow and Auschwitz

Other specialisms:

Fortification including:

  • Vauban forts
  • Sere de Rivieres system
  • Forts of Liege, Namur, Metz and Thionville
  • Maginot line
  • Coastal forts and artillery