Marc Yates

Accredited Guide Number: 90

I was born and brought up in Jersey, Channel Islands and from an early age became passionate about its history.

My maternal grandfather, apart from serving from 1914 to 1919 with the Canadian Infantry on the Western Front, held the government position of Guardien of Gorey Castle for 25 years. He was responsible on a day to day basis for Gorey Castle, which is an 800-year-old ancient monument, and he acted as a guide to its many visitors from members of the Royal Family to French day-trippers. He taught me after he retired, without me knowing at the time that I would effectively follow his footsteps, how accurate history and humour make for the best tours.

With both of my paternal great-grandfather and grandfather being career soldiers and seeing service in both World Wars, it was inevitable that military history would help form my interests and I even contemplated a military career myself. However, that didn’t happen, and I followed a career as a lawyer for 35 years.

I got into guiding accidentally as a result of our law firm entertaining some visiting conference lawyers on a coach tour. I thought that the “pre-taped” commentary was so bad that I grabbed the microphone and gave my first guided tour! I did it again when we next had visiting clients and then again for a big family birthday coach tour. Then came a family “pilgrimage” back to the Western Front which I researched with the assistance of my grandfather’s battalion’s war diary and his 90-page military record (the Canadian ones are very full and now are all online) and by then I realised that once I had finished practising as a lawyer, there was another career!

I set up Jersey Military Tours (and its sister brand, History Alive!) in 2016 and I focus on providing personal service for small groups, although I am happy to guide larger parties. I believe in providing a complete experience to my clients to help them get the best of their exploration of a battlefield or fortress. This generally involves getting to know individual participants through their stories, the impact on them and the local population, as well as introducing other disciplines like archaeology and geology to better understand the topography.

I particularly enjoy the educational element of battlefield guiding – be it for individual clients, a class of school children or a military unit undertaking a conceptual study exercise. My mother was a teacher, so I suppose that is where I get that from!

Battles

American War of IndependenceMiddle AgesWWIWWIINapoleonThe 100 Years War

Countries

Channel IslandsBelgiumFranceSpain

Caters For

Adult Coach GroupsBespoke GroupFamiliesIndividualsMilitary & VeteranSchool GroupsSmall Groups

Areas of Expertise

Channel Island military history and battles, generally.

Hundred Years War – including Battle of Grosnez Castle and Siege of Gorey Castle 1373; Battle of the Bridge 1406

English Civil War – Battle of St Ouen’s Bay (Blake & Heane), sieges of Elizabeth Castle and Castle Cornet 1651

American War of Independence – Battle of St Ouen’s Bay 1779 (Nassau) and Battle of Jersey 1781

Napoleonic Wars
The Peninsular War
The pinnacle of British fortification in Jersey

First World War
Canadian involvement – St Eloi, Somme, Vimy Ridge, Ypres, Passchendaele, 1918
Channel Island involvement (Royal Militia of Jersey joined Royal Irish Rifles Division; Royal Guernsey Light Infantry)

Second World War
German Occupation of the Channel Islands 1940-45
Commando raids in and from the Channel Islands
Normandy landings and breakout into Brittany 1944
St Nazaire Raid (Operation Chariot) 1942
Western France – U Boat War and the Atlantic Wall

Archaeology and ancient history tours – mainly Channel Islands, and Western France, covering Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages;
Iron Age, Roman and Viking military history of the Channel Islands;
Channel Island geology; and
Individual ancestor research.