Accredited Guide Number: 13
I just love understanding battlefields; their context, their geography, their nuances, their consequences and of course the people who were involved. How those potentially uncharted elements such as human character, climate, technology and fate made a difference. Somewhere in that mix is found an incredible story that defines the human condition in its most testing circumstances. Some failed and some succeeded and were honoured; some missed the umpire’s eye and went unrecognised. Some only knew their own 10 yard horizon and some left us the most telling descriptions of their battle experience; for example Private Louis Canler’s account of advancing with the 28th de Ligne in D’Erlon’s I Corps at Waterloo. I am just the person who for a small period of time has the honour to tell those stories with the benefit of hindsight; to engage, to draw empathy, to perhaps even send my customers home thinking differently. That to me is what historians in general, and battlefield guides in particular. should do – to use evidence to offer people the chance to see history in a different way, to challenge ‘lazy history’ and perhaps to allow people the room to think and perhaps change perceptions. Finally, I see battlefield visits as a shared social experience with customers and there is only one certainty – that somebody will add a strand of information or thought that will add to my knowledge; no battlefield guide knows everything! Some of my best tours have been with knowledgeable customers who have challenged, opined and engaged in debate which has proved to be stimulating for the whole group. Battlefield Guides should not be peddlers of history, but interpreters of events who listen and expand the tour experience. You can read about battles in your study but you cannot better understand them until you have been on the ground.
WWIWWIINapoleonThe 100 Years War
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